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Global Climate Change DigestArchives of the
Global Climate Change Digest

A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999

FROM VOLUME 10, NUMBER 4, APRIL 1997

GCC ONLINE...
THE INTERNATIONAL SETTING

My last column listed domestic (U.S.) Internet sites related to the U.S. Global Change Research Program. This column begins a parallel exploration of resources of the major world programs.

The web sites below are presented in a sequence which corresponds to the following summary of their interrelationships. All but two organizations are part of the United Nations. Of the U.N. agencies, most familiar are the U.N. Environment Program (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). In 1998, they jointly established the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which provides research assessments for the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC).

The climate activities of WMO are carried out under its World Climate Program, with input from three bodies: UNEP; the U.N. Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC); and a non-U.N. group, the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU). A major component of the World Climate Program is the World Climate Research Program, which focuses on the physical nature of climate. A counterpart which emphasizes the biogeochemical factors in climate and global change is the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program (IGBP), created by ICSU in 1986. The World Climate Program also has three other components, which are listed below.

INTERNATIONAL CLIMATE CHANGE WEB SITES

United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). Established as a program of the U.N. General Assembly following the 1972 Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. (WWW: http://www.unep.ch/)

World Meteorological Organization (WMO). A special agency of the U.N. providing data and information and coordinating research concerning weather, climate, ozone depletion and other forms of air pollution. (WWW: http://www.wmo.ch/)

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Established in 1988 by UNEP and WMO to assess scientific, technical and socio-economic research related to climate change. (WWW: http://www.ipcc.ch/)

Information Unit on Climate Change. Created by UNEP and WMO to encourage broad dissemination of information on the topic. The Web address given here is an index of over 130 fact sheets that provide answers to the most commonly asked questions. The index is organized into three series: Causes; Impacts; and International Response. (WWW: http://www.unep.ch/iuc/index.html)

Information Unit for Conventions. Provides information to the public and media services on a number of environmental conventions. Established by UNEP in 1991 as the Information Unit on Climate Change, then transformed into the IUC with an expanded mandate in 1996. (WWW: http://www.unep.ch/iuc.html)

Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC). Contains public information, prepared by UNEP's Information Unit for Conventions, on the framework convention signed at Rio in 1992. (WWW: http://www.unep.ch/iucc.html.) A separate site covers the specific climate change commitments now being negotiated. (WWW: http://www.unfccc.de/index.html)

World Climate Program (of the WMO). Provides an institutional framework for research, applications, and data collection for understanding climate and its impacts, under the four component programs that follow. (WWW: http://www.wmo.ch/)

World Climate Research Program (of the WMO). A component of the World Climate Program. Cooperates with the U.N. Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission and the International Council of Scientific Unions to develop scientific understanding of the climate system necessary for predicting climate and human influences on climate. (WWW: http://www.wmo.ch/)

World Climate Data and Monitoring Program. A component of the World Climate Program. Ensures that WMO member countries have access to reliable climate data and data products derived from available observations, in formats suitable for their use. (WWW: http://www.wmo.ch/

World Climate Application and Services Program. A component of the World Climate Program. Assists member countries collect, analyze and apply climate information to various economic sectors. (WWW: http://www.wmo.ch/web/wcp/wcphtml/wcasp.html)

World Climate Impact Assessment and Response Program. A component of the World Climate Program. Coordinates study of the socioeconomic impacts of climate fluctuations and change. (Included here for completeness; no WWW address could be located.)

Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC). A U.N. body that collaborates in the World Climate Program. Founded in 1960 to foster scientific investigation of the ocean through the collaboration of many countries. (WWW: http://www.unesco.org/ioc/)

International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU). Composed of national (nongovernmental) scientific organizations, the ICSU was established in 1931 to promote scientific and technological activities for the benefit of humanity. (WWW: http://www.lmcp.jussieu.fr/icsu/; or http://www.nikhefk.nikhef.nl/~ed/icsu.html)

International Geosphere-Biosphere Program (IGBP). The ICSU launched this program in 1986 to "describe and understand the interactive physical, chemical and biological processes that regulate the total Earth system, the unique environment it provides for life, the changes that are occurring, and the manner in which changes are influenced by human actions." (WWW: http://www.igbp.kva.se/index.html; available in English, French and German)

Fred Stoss encourages Global Climate Change Digest readers to share their Internet resources. To have your favorite Web site considered for this column, contact him at fstoss@acsu.buffalo.edu.

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