Published: 12.10.07
The IPCC has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007

Nobel Peace Prize with ETH Zurich participation

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), together with former US Vice-President, Al Gore, has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007. ETH Zurich researchers contributed substantially to preparation of the IPCC reports.

“For their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change”, the Nobel Prize Committee awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize to Al Gore and the IPCC. The 4th United Nations Climate Report appeared in appeared in three parts in January, February and May 2007, revealing new facts. The Report Is credited with having substantially raised global awareness of climate change.

ETH Zurich President, Ralph Eichler said “The Nobel Peace Prize is a distinguished award and underscores the significance of climate research. I am particularly pleased for the researchers from ETH Zurich and other Swiss universities who played such a part in this success.”

‘Ecosystems’ chapter lead

Andreas Fischlin of ETH Zurich’s Institute for Integrative Biology was the “Coordinating Lead Author” of the second book of the 4th United Nations Climate Report. He had primary responsibility for the fourth chapter that concerns ecosystems. The chapter warns of rising global temperatures of another 1.5 to 2.5 degrees Celsius, and extinction of 20 to 30 percent of all species, facts supported by the results of over 3100 scientific studies from various disciplines. “The Nobel Prize is a big surprise and a great source of happiness. The problems facing the climate can only be explored on a global basis, and the IPCC offers a unique opportunity to do so,” Fischlin said. Responding to the question of why the IPCC, an organistion for climate change, was awarded the Nobel Prize, he replied, “The destructive climate change makes the world insecure. That’s why research into climate problems can also add to world peace.”

ETH Zurich contribution

In addition to “Coordinating Lead Author”, the person who is responsible for integrating all of the scientific knowledge, the report also lists “Lead Authors”, “Contributing Authors”, and “Review Editors”. Two ETH Zurich researchers cited as “Lead Authors” worked alongside Dr. Fischlin, as did a further seven ETH Zurich researchers who are credited as “Contributing Editors” to the first two books of the new United Nations Climate Report. ETH Zurich researchers have, in total, delivered 16 contributions to nine different chapters in the climate report.

The IPCC and its report

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was founded in 1988. It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. Rajendra Kumar Pachauri has been the IPCC- elected chief since 1992. The IPCC, to which hundreds of scientists around the world contribute preliminary data, has as its aim to evaluate the scientific, technical and socioeconomic information needed to understand the risks to climate change induced by humans. The IPCC does not carry out its own research, nor monitor climate-related data. Its assessments rely on published and peer reviewed scientific technical literature. The 2007 report is based on hundreds of simulations, computer models, numerous studies and gathered data. 450 primary authors have written what is to date the most exact description of what has occurred to the temperature in the atmosphere since 1800. This fourth United Nations Climate Change report had a total of 2500 experts collaborating over the course of six years.

Reader comments: