ICSU and Climate Science: 1962-2006 and Beyond outlines some of ICSU’s contributions to the development of climate science. The document also illustrates how ICSU’s approach to facilitating research collaboration to inform policy development works in practice.
ICSU has played a pivotal role in the development of climate science at the international level, providing mechanisms to orient and complement research going on at the national level. In the last three decades, climate science has demanded international collaboration among researchers on an unprecedented scale, coupled with collaboration at the inter-governmental level and, at times, collaboration between civilian and military interests. ICSU’s contribution has been crucial to defining the scientific issues that needed to be addressed, achieving consensus about research priorities and facilitating the various collaborations that have underpinned the research. Without ICSU’s efforts, there would have been little science for the IPCC to assess and thus no established foundation on which to conduct the crucial public debate about global warming. ICSU will continue to play a leading role in providing the scientific evidence to inform this debate in the future.