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Climate Tipping Points, Irreversibility and their Consequences for Society, Environment and Economies


Climate Tipping Points, Irreversibility and their Consequences for Society, Environment and Economies | Switzerland’s Proposal for an IPCC Special Report
Wednesday 25 May 2022 | 10:00-11:30 CEST
International Environment House II, Geneva & Online
Register here


Over the past decades, our scientific understanding of climate change has significantly grown. The IPCC reports has played a key in synthetizing the best available science on the causes of climate change, its impacts, and possible pathways to adapt to and mitigate them. Meanwhile, scientific information on large-scale singular events, tipping points and irreversibilities remains scattered. Tipping points in the climate system refer to thresholds that can occur as a consequence of human induced climate change, and that lead to changes are abrupt, high-impact, large-scale and often irreversible.

This lack of a comprehensive assessment on the issue hinders an overview of the state of knowledge and limits decision-making in accordance with Article 2 of the UNFCCC and Art. 2.1(b) of the Paris Agreement. In particular, emerging measures and the acceleration of climate change in recent years have increased the need for a comprehensive and focused assessment of tipping points in the climate system.

To respond to this need, the government of Switzerland considers it timely and pertinent to ask the IPCC to elaborate a Special Report on “Climate Tipping Points and their Implications for Habitability and Resources”, which will be prepared in the framework of the IPCC's 7th Assessment Cycle, scheduled to start in 2023. 

The goal of the event is to lay out as to how the crossing of tipping points in the climate systems may impact society, environment and economies alike, across the globe. Organised with Switzerland within the framework of the Geneva Environment Network, this event will present the initiative to governments participating in the IPCC and Parties to the UNFCCC and other interested stakeholders.



  • Sebastian König, Chief Scientist in the International Affairs Division, Swiss Federal Office for the Environment, IPCC Focal Point for Switzerland (and/or)
  • Prof. Thomas Stocker, Professor of Climate and Environmental Physics, Physics Institute, University of Bern & President of the Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research
  • Maria Neira, Director, Department of Public Health and Environment at the World Health Organization
  • Alexandra Bilak, Director, Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre
  • Eric Usher, Head, United Nations Environment Programme's Finance Initiative
  • Jürg Luterbacher, Director, Science and Innovation Department & Chief Scientist, World Meteorological Organization
  • Sabine Bapst, FIAN International
  • Dina Ionesco, Manager at United Nations Climate Secretariat | Moderator