scientific judgments, even when going beyond what is already published in the literature.

  • The TEAP addressed key decisions of private-sector actors regarding research, development, and investment.


  • The process assessment continues to be conducted in a comprehensive manner despite that its mandate is only to provide an update of new findings after early assessments succeeded in demonstrating the seriousness of the problem. Each new assessment has made a smaller incremental contribution to the decision-making process.

  • In the TEAP process, the interests of key industrial participants gradually diverged from the remaining questions of concern to policy makers. The remarkable early successes of this process were based on the precise alignment of these interests. Now it has become harder to attract critical masses of participation to address the remaining implementation questions.

  • The TEAP process succeeded for so long that it has attracted backlash from those seeking to reimpose political control on the process.

  • Exclusion of economic or cost judgments in considering technical options initially proved to be a strength because it allowed the process to get started. However, it limits the ability to generalize the model, because technical assessments on other issues cannot necessarily ignore costs by assuming that rapid innovation will make them low enough.


The IPCC was established in 1988 by the WMO and the UNEP to conduct assessments of the scientific basis for human-induced climate change, its likely impacts, and opportunities for adaptation and mitigation. Several international meetings that took place in 1985-1988 (Bulkeley and Betsill 2003; Torrence 2006), along with a series of unusual weather events in the summer of 1988 (Paterson 1996), helped move climate change to the central stage and served as the impetus to initiate the IPCC. The idea behind the IPCC was grounded both in the experience of the Montreal Protocol negotiations and in TEAP. Since its inception, IPCC has initiated four rounds of assessments, the last being completed over the course of the year 2007 (IPCC 1990a,b,c, 1995a,b,c, 2001a,b,c).

The IPCC assessments have been important for informing formal negotiations of an international climate change treaty, a process which started in December 1990. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was adopted at the Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro in May 1992; it was subsequently signed by more than 150 nations

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