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Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: Transparency and integrated assessment modeling
WIREs Climate Change  (IF7.385),  Pub Date : 2021-07-08, DOI: 10.1002/wcc.727
Jim Skea, Priyadarshi Shukla, Alaa Al Khourdajie, David McCollum

Integrated assessment models (IAMs) connect trends in future socioeconomic and technological development with impacts on the environment, such as global climate change. They occupy a critical position at the global science-policy interface. IAMs and associated scenarios have come under intense scrutiny, with critiques addressing both methodological and substantive issues, such as land use, carbon dioxide removal and technology performance. Criticisms have also addressed the transparency of IAM methods and assumptions as well as the transparency of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment of IAMs. This paper, authored by the co-chairs of IPCC Working Group III and members of the Technical Support Unit, documents activities aiming to enhance the transparency of IAMs and their assessment. It includes a history of IPCC's approach to scenarios covering the formation of the Integrated Assessment Modeling Consortium (IAMC) in 2007 and the emergence of the approach by which IPCC facilitates the development of scenarios, but does not produce them itself. An IPCC Expert Meeting at the start of the current assessment cycle made transparency recommendations targeted at both the research community and IPCC. The community has taken steps to “open the black box” by moving toward open-source and web-publishing IAM documentation. IPCC has included an Annex to its next report focusing on scenarios and modeling methodologies. An open call for scenario data linked to the current IPCC report includes an expanded set of input and output variables. This paper ends with suggested criteria for measuring the success of these efforts to improve transparency.