Ready for an international role addressing climate change

Published on 19 May 2023
Assoc Prof Winston Chow has been nominated for the global Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Bureau.
Assoc Prof Winston Chow has been nominated for the global Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Bureau.

Having accepted the Government’s invitation, SMU College of Integrative Studies (CIS)'s Assoc Prof Chow will be running for the role of developing country Co-Chair for IPCC Working Group (WG) II on Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, for the upcoming Seventh Assessment Report (AR7) Cycle that commences in July 2023. Elections to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Bureau will also be held in July this year.

This nomination is Singapore’s first to the IPCC Bureau, which is the United Nations’ body for assessing the scientific basis of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for adaptation and mitigation. Assessments conducted by the IPCC provide a scientific basis which governments can use to develop climate related policies and contribute to international climate negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Singapore has been actively contributing to the work of the IPCC, and nominating Assoc Prof Chow to play a leadership role is part of Singapore’s efforts toward global cooperation in the advancement of international climate science.

“SMU has adopted ‘Sustainable Living’ as one of our three key strategic priorities.  We are honoured to play our part in supporting the critical agenda for climate change through research by our talented faculty members,” says SMU President, Professor Lily Kong.

“If elected, Winston’s leadership will help to turn relevant research into concrete and actionable policy recommendations. These will make meaningful contributions to the IPCC on a global scale.”

Advancing the science of climate change

Assoc Prof Chow’s main research interests thus far have been on urban climate change risk and vulnerability, as well as urban climatology with a focus on heat island adaptation and mitigation. He has also played a key role as the Principal Investigator for the multi-institute Cooling Singapore Initiative since 2017.

On top of these, Assoc Prof Chow has made multiple contributions to the IPCC. Under the sixth Assessment Report Cycle (AR6), he served as the IPCC Lead Author for the chapters on “Cities, Settlements and Key Infrastructure,” and “Cities and Settlements by the SEA” in WG II. He has also made significant contributions to urban aspects of climate change in WGs I and III.

He is also a member of the Task Group on Data Support for Climate Change Assessments (TG-Data), a group which provides guidance to ensure that the data and scenarios used in the IPCC’s work are high quality and transparent.

With all these notches on his belt, Assoc Prof Chow is well-positioned to contribute to advance the science of climate change.

Should he be elected for the role of Co-Chair in the IPCC WG II, Assoc Prof Chow will contribute to shaping practical recommendations on how Governments and societies can effectively adapt to climate risks and enhance climate resilience.

“I am honoured to be nominated by the Singapore Government for the important role of Co-Chair of IPCC’s Working Group II on Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Through my previous involvement with the IPCC, I have seen first-hand how important and relevant scientific assessments are in helping global policymakers and other stakeholders develop a common understanding of what is needed for urgent climate action per the Paris Agreement,” says Assoc Prof Chow, emphasising that seeing actions reducing climate vulnerability will be both manifold and complex in the next assessment cycle.

“The window for successful climate action is closing fast, and my hope and vision for the IPCC is to help steer humanity towards this window over the next climate assessment.”

See also: SMU Associate Professor Winston Chow Notches Nomination to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Bureau.