In the mid-1980s, climate change was within the purview of a small group of scientists and was not well known in the wider scientific community and almost non-existent in the public discourse. With the creation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1988 and the election of Swedish climate scientist Bert Bolin as the first chair, a new chapter began in analysing and communicating the science of climate change in support of national and multilateral climate policies and actions.

More than thirty years later, and with a Nobel Peace Prize under its belt, the IPCC is among the few international science-based organizations that has become a household word as the reality of climate change has struck home in rich and poor worlds alike. The strong will and determination of IPCC officials alongside thousands of authors over more than three decades have facilitated six cycles of authoritative scientific assessments on climate change. Yet significant challenges remain in translating these scientific assessments into policy actions that can put the world on a path to climate stabilization and climate resilient development.

The occasion of Stockholm+50 offers a time for reflection on the science and policy of climate change as the existential crisis of our time. We seek to understand how the scientific evidence base has been assessed and communicated by the IPCC for over three decades, and received and translated into climate policies and actions. The historical evolution in societal understanding and uptake can help us to consider the future prospects for improving the way we evaluate, assess and communicate the scientific evidence base.

Introductory remarks

  • Francis X. Johnson, Senior Research Fellow, SEI
  • Camilla Andersson, Docent and Senior researcher, SMHI, and IPCC Swedish focal point alternate


  • Lisa Schipper, University of Oxford


  • Zinta Zomers, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
  • Marianne Lilliesköld, former Swedish IPCC Focal Point
  • Georgia Savvidou, PhD student, Chalmers University of Technology
  • Erika Bjerström, Global Climate correspondent, SVT, Swedish Television
  • Toya Westberg, Researchers Desk
  • Markku Rummukainen, SMHI, Swedish IPCC Focal Point

Panelists are attending in their personal capacity and commenting on their experiences in the context of climate science, policy, action or journalism or as IPCC authors.


This seminar was held at SEI and co-hosted by SMHI.

Where: SEI Headquarters, Linnégatan 87D, Garnisonen, Stockholm.