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When you read about climate change, you may come across mention of an IPCC report, but you may not know what that is or why it matters.

“Assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – the IPCC – are written by scientists who were nominated by U.N. member nations from around the world, … basically tasked with providing the world with an objective scientific view of climate change and its impacts globally,” Virginia Burkett says.

Burkett is chief scientist for climate and land use change at the United States Geological Survey, and she was a lead author of the three most recent IPCC assessment reports.

The latest report was written, edited, and reviewed by more than 2,000 scientists. It’s based on data presented in more than 9,000 scientific studies.

So Burkett says these reports reflect far more than any one individual’s perspective on climate change.

“They represent the consensus of the science community globally,” she says. “They’re based on peer-reviewed, publicly available literature.”

She says the goal is not to provide policy recommendations, but to give lawmakers and citizens the information they need to make smart decisions and find solutions to this global crisis.

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Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Topics: Policy & Politics