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The 46th Session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 6 September 2017, Montreal, Canada. Credit: IISD/ENB / Mike Muzurakis
The 46th Session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 6 September 2017, Montreal, Canada. Credit: IISD/ENB / Mike Muzurakis
IPCC
15 May 2018 11:42

Analysis: The gender, nationality and institution of IPCC AR6 scientists

Robert McSweeney

Robert McSweeney

05.15.18
Robert McSweeney

Robert McSweeney

15.05.2018 | 11:42am
IPCCAnalysis: The gender, nationality and institution of IPCC AR6 scientists

Since being founded in 1988, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has published five sets of “assessment reports” on the state of climate science, involving hundreds of scientists from across the world.

A sixth set (“AR6”) is slated for completion in 2022, with the IPCC issuing a call for nominations for authors in September last year. The final lists of authors for all three “working groups” have now been confirmed.

For AR6, the IPCC has selected 721 authors, representing 90 different nationalities. This is a slight reduction on the 829 authors for the fifth assessment report (AR5) published in 2013-14.

Using the information provided by the IPCC, Carbon Brief reveals the mix of nationalities and genders across the authors, as well as the institutions they represent.

Nationality

The IPCC lists authors under its three working groups: Working Group I (WG1), “The Physical Science Basis”; Working Group II (WG2), “Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability”; and Working Group III (WG3), “Mitigation of Climate Change”.

Leading the pack with 74 authors across all three working groups is the US. Followed by the UK and Germany in joint second place with 45 authors each. Making up the rest of the Top 5 is Australia and China – both with 37.

For South America, the country with the largest number of authors is Brazil with 21, followed by Argentina with 11 and Chile with eight.

The highest placed African country is South Africa with 14 authors. It is followed by Morocco and Nigeria with seven, and Algeria, Senegal and Tanzania on six.

Overall, the most-represented continent is Europe with 229 authors, with Asia in second with 173 and North America in third with 128. Africa, Oceania and South America follow with 82, 55 and 54 authors, respectively.

Looking at the working groups individually, the US comes out with the most authors in all three, following by the UK and China for WG1, Australia and Germany for WG2, and Germany and Japan for WG3.

The map below shows the number of authors per country and continent – the bigger the bubble, the more authors that country has. Toggle between working groups and all authors using the dropdown selector in the top left-hand corner.

Data visualisation by Rosamund Pearce for Carbon Brief.

According to the IPCC, 44% of AR6 authors are citizens of developing countries and countries with “economies in transition”. This compares with 37% for AR5. While, according to Climate Analytics, 7% and 4% of AR6 authors are from – or were nominated by – least developed countries and small island states, respectively.

On a per capita basis, small nations are – unsurprisingly – the most well-represented. Even with just one author each, the Cook Islands, Palau and Tonga come out on top. At the other end of the scale, Bangladesh, India and Turkey have the fewest authors relative to their population.

Using the UN’s classification of “Annex I” and “Non-Annex I” countries, 58% of AR6 authors (420) are from the former and 42% (301) are from the latter.

Agreed in 1992, Annex I countries are industrialised countries that agreed to binding targets to cut emissions under the Kyoto Protocol, while Non-Annex I countries are mainly developing nations that were not expected to make significant emissions cuts.

Gender balance

The IPCC provides binary male/female data for all the AR6 authors. Across all 721 authors of AR6, 67% are male and 33% female. This compares with 79% vs. 21% for AR5.

For the individual working groups, WG2 has the most even balance of gender for its authors (59% male vs. 41% female), followed by WG3 (69% vs. 31%) and then WG1 (73% vs. 27%).

This gender balance is largely reflected across the different types of IPCC scientists – coordinating lead authors, lead authors and review editors. The most male-dominated group is the review editors for WG1, with 31 men (84%) to six women (16%).

Twenty-six countries have only male authors represented in AR6, although 14 of these only have one author in total. The country with the most male-only authors is Cuba with six. In contrast, there are 10 countries with only female authors – however, all but the Dominican Republic have just the one author.

Infographic: The gender breakdown of the authors of the IPCC AR6 report.

Infographic: The gender breakdown of the authors of the IPCC AR6 report. By Rosamund Pearce for Carbon Brief using Isomatic.

Looking at countries with at least 10 authors, the most male-heavy country represented is South Africa, with 11 men (79%) and three women (21%), closely followed by Japan with 25 men (78%) and seven women (22%).

At the other end of the scale, the countries with the largest female representation are Spain, with 10 women (59%) to seven men (41%), and Canada with 10 men (48%) to 11 women (52%).

Of the countries with the largest total number of authors, the US has 48 men (65%) to 26 women (35%), Germany has 30 men (67%) to 15 women (33%), and the UK has 33 men (73%) to 12 women (27%).

Overall, 16 of the 90 nationalities in the AR6 author list have more women than men representing them, while 65 have more men and nine have a 50-50 split.

At the 47th session of the IPCC in March this year in Paris, the IPCC Panel approved the establishment of a “task group” (pdf) with the objective of “developing a framework of goals and actions to improve gender balance and address gender-related issues within the IPCC”. The task group will prepare “a report on gender balance and gender related issues within the IPCC” and make recommendations for further action.

Institutions

It is worth remembering that authors are not paid for the time they commit to the IPCC, so contributors will also have a day job that pays their salary. Therefore, apart from a handful of independent or retired scientists, each AR6 author will be affiliated to at least one institution.

The graphic below shows the organisations represented by at least four authors across all three working groups. Three organisations come out on top with nine authors each: the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Vienna, the University of Tokyo and the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) in France.

Then, there are two organisations with eight authors each: the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the US and the University of Cape Town in South Africa.

The highest-placed UK institution is the University of Reading with seven authors. It sits alongside the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia and the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

Infographic: institutions with the most IPCC AR6 authors. By Rosamund Pearce for Carbon Brief.

Infographic: institutions with the most IPCC AR6 authors. By Rosamund Pearce for Carbon Brief.

To unravel which organisations have the most IPCC authors, Carbon Brief took the top level institution (or institutions) that each author works for. So, for example, the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL), the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) and the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) are all part of NOAA. That means all authors from these different centres are counted as coming from NOAA.

This does have an impact on the results. For example, both France and Argentina have national research institutions that directly employ researchers, who are then placed in universities or other institutes.

The result is that organisations, such as CNRS and the National Scientific and Technical Research Council of Argentina (CONICET), come out towards the top in the results – although many of these authors will physically sit in organisations such as the Mediterranean Institute for Biodiversity and Ecology (IMBE) or the National University of Austral Patagonia, for example.

There are 33 organisations with at least four authors each, 29 with three and 56 with two. The vast majority of organisations – 359 – are represented by just one author each.

Looking at the working groups individually, the University of Reading announced that it is the “most represented institution globally” in WG1 with six authors. Carbon Brief’s analysis suggests that it actually shares this accolade with CNRS in France and NOAA in the US.

For WG2, the institution with the most AR6 authors is the University of the West Indies with five, followed by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado, and the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania with four each.

And, for WG3, there are three organisations with five authors: IIASA, the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and the National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES) in Japan.

Sharelines from this story
  • Analysis: The gender, nationality and institution of IPCC AR6 scientists
  • Which countries have the most authors for the @IPCC_CH sixth assessment report?

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