Reading the IPCC Assessment Reports

Nombre de places: 27 - Langue: Anglais


Discover the IPCC reports: (1) interpret scientific content expressed in graphical format, (2) connect terse text to the underlying scientific literature, and (3) reflect on the broader context from a variety of perspectives: history of science, philosophy of science, policy/negotiations, sociology of science…


In-class attendance, including participation in TD. Completion of the following final assignment (individual or in groups of 2/3): choose one chapter (WG1/2/3) and map connections to other chapters, including across WGs


Mon-Thurs: each day is broken into 3 1.5h segments (2 CM and 1 TD; 9-12h; 14-15:30h)
The coordinator takes the lead in teaching, contributing at least one CM per day.
3-4 guest lecturers contribute one CM each. Students engage in one TD per day.
Friday: students finalize in-class presentations in the morning (9-12h) and present in the afternoon (14-17h)

(this outline is a reflection of the content to be discussed more than its detailed organization)

— what is the IPCC? history of science: climate science in the 1970s and 1980s, working groups and relations among them

— the 6th Assessment Report (AR6, and special reports published since AR5)

TD: on salient figures from the “warming of 1.5 degrees” report, published in 2018

— what is the IPCC? public policy: relation to UN FCCC and to global negotiations, governmental agreement; mitigation and adaptation.

— concept (figures): models (theory, observations and model simulations in climate science); projections, scenarios, confidence levels, uncertainty

TD/role play: if you are decision-maker minister of agriculture/water resources/public health in country Y, what do you need to know about future climate? (find it in the reports!)

— concept (figures): attribution of past change (history of attributing global mean temperature change from FAR to AR6), “detection and attribution” methods, inferences, consistency checks; attribution of other variables, multi-model ensembles…; extreme event attribution v. storylines

— concept (figures): vulnerability, and its temporal evolution; inequality, common but differentiated responsibilities. Sociology of science: what is climate science and how is it done. critique of linear structure connecting IPCC WGs, (im)balance between physical and social sciences, role of interdisciplinarity

TD: search on extreme weather/climate events in newspaper items or in the CRED/EM-DAT database <>; <> and report results in graphical form (maps or time series)

— concept (figures): the carbon budget (stranded assets)

— Philosophy of science: values; basic and applied science

TD: work on final assignment


interest in climate change; ability to read English

Equipe enseignante

Responsable : Alessandra Giannini (ENS/Geosciences and CERES)

Stéphanie Ruphy (ENS/Philosophy) Stéphane Van Damme (ENS/History) TBD Economics, Sociology


Adresse e-mail

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