WHRC scientist named Lead Author of IPCC Special Report

Global carbon accounting expert and WHRC Senior Scientist Richard A. Houghton was recently named as a lead author for an upcoming Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on climate change and land.

As part of the IPCC 6th Assessment Report to be released in 2019, the report is titled Climate Change and Land: an IPCC special report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems.

“It is an honor to be a lead author on this report,” said Dr. Houghton. “The IPCC brings the latest science to bear on how to manage climate change, and I’m very happy to contribute. The issues raised in this report—the connections between land and climate change—are critically important. The supply of land is limited, and there’s intense and growing competition to use land for food production as well as climate mitigation and other ecosystem services. We need to stop degrading it and use it to help stabilize climate.”

Prior to making the appointments, the IPCC received 640 nominations for 104 available lead authors and review editors.

Dr. Houghton’s bookkeeping model to quantify carbon emissions from land management has been used for over 30 years and has been used to inform more than 100 scientific publications, as well as IPCC Assessments and UNFCCC best practice guidelines. Dr. Houghton’s work has been instrumental in determining how large a role forest management can play in removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Dr. Houghton will travel to Oslo in October for the first meeting of Special Report lead authors. In 2007, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded jointly to the IPCC and to former US Vice President Al Gore. Dr. Houghton was a lead author of the IPCC scientific reports recognized by the Nobel Committee.