UN climate think tank elects UK's Jim Skea as new chair

Jim Skea.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change British delegate Jim Skea.

Photo credit: AFP

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) delegates meeting in Nairobi have picked Jim Skea of the United Kingdom as the UN body's new chairperson.

Prof Skea, 69, was elected during the ongoing 59th session of the IPCC that started on Tuesday and ends of Friday.

The Unep and Kenya are hosting the delegates’ meeting to elect IPCC's new bureau, including the new chair, co-chairs of the working groups and the Bureau of the Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories.

"Climate change is an existential threat to our planet. My ambition is to lead an IPCC that is truly representative and inclusive, an IPCC looking to the future while exploiting the opportunities that we have in the present," he told the delegates yesterday.

"In this, I will pursue three priorities – improving inclusiveness and diversity, shielding scientific integrity and policy relevance of IPCC assessment reports, and making the effective use of the best available science on climate change. My actions as the chair of the IPCC will ensure that these ambitions are realised."

Prof Skea got 90 votes against 69 in a run-off with Thelma Krug of Brazil.

Four candidates vied for the position. Others were Debra Roberts of South Africa and Jean-Pascal van Ypersele of Belgium.

The election of the new IPCC Bureau, which will have 34 members, including the chair, paves the way for work to start on the IPCC's Seventh Assessment Report, expected to be completed in the next five to seven years. The panel will also elect the 12 members of the Task Force Bureau on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories, according to a UNEP statement yesterday.