Call for Papers

IPCC: dinosaur or dynamo for climate action?


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• CARLSON © 2021 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Reprinted with permission of ANDREWS MCMEEL SYNDICATION. All rights reserved.

Editors: Elin Lerum Boasson, Erlend Hermansen and Glen Peters 

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has played a crucial and unprecedented role, both scientifically and politically, in putting climate change on the agenda. It has helped catalyse the emergence of strong climate science communities as well as international climate politics. Still, it is unclear specifically how IPCC knowledge is relevant for climate actions and solutions, and how the IPCC can best fulfil its mandate of being policy relevant post-Paris. This special collection aims to examine, assess, and discuss the relevance of IPCC knowledge for climate action, and to create a lively forum for discussion and reflection on the IPCC and its future. We hope to attract contributions from a broad variety of disciplines including both social and natural scientists, in various formats (original research, reviews, perspectives and case studies), from a broad array of contributors, including both researchers and practitioners, and others that apply and relate to the work of the IPCC. Original research as well as opinionated pieces are welcome. We aim to spur dialogue between researchers studying the IPCC, IPCC authors and climate action practitioners.

Background and rationale
The scholarly understanding of the societal changes required to cope with climate change has changed tremendously since the IPCC was created back in 1988. Initially, it was assumed that climate change could be solved by introduction of a rather modest carbon price, and it was regarded as one among many environmental problems. Now, climate change is high politics, and it is widely recognised that deep and rapid societal changes are needed to reach the targets set out in the Paris Agreement. Even though the IPCC itself may have contributed to these changes, they create profound challenges for the organization. Despite IPCC’s many achievements, it is still unclear whether and how the IPCC is and can be relevant to the climate action (adaptation and mitigation) required to meet the targets set out in the Paris Agreement, and beyond.

When Hoesung Lee became chair of the IPCC in 2015, he argued that the IPCC can “better serve global policy-makers by providing a more in-depth, and clear, understanding of the solutions” (Lee 2015 p. 1007). Indeed, the Paris Agreement institutionalizes a polycentric pattern of international climate policy, giving each country the opportunity to determine for themselves their targets, policies, and how they will align with scientific information from the IPCC. The shift in global climate politics away from a central, legally binging agreement and towards polycentricity makes it challenging for the IPCC to deliver on the promise of solutions, not least because of its mandate of being “neutral with respect to policy” (IPCC 2013, Principles governing IPCC). 

During the previous year, the IPCC has launched three mammoth sized reports, Working group (WG) I on the physical science basis, WG II on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability and WG III on mitigation, and it will soon publish a synthesis report that cover all three working groups. It was more challenging than ever before to negotiate the summaries for policy makers with the UN country representatives, and immediately after their launch, the reports received critique for convoluted language. As the IPCC’s Sixth report cycle is coming to an end, time is ripe for taking stock of the IPCCs achievements, challenges, and opportunities ahead. 

We seek contributions (original research, reviews, perspective articles and case studies) to a special collection that relate to the aims presented above, and for instance deal with the following questions: 

  • To what extent and how does the procedural set-up, design and execution of the IPCC process enable the IPCC to be relevant for climate action post-Paris?
  • How has the role of varying scientific disciplines within the IPCC changed over time, how has the IPCC in turn contributed to shape disciplinary practices, and how does this affect the ability of the IPCC to be relevant for climate action?  
  • How does IPCC knowledge inform and influence climate governance and climate action, at the international, regional, national and local level, and how has this changed over time? 
  • Which factors shape and determine whether and how IPCC reports and summary for policy makers are relevant for climate action? What is the relative importance of various scientific disciplines, member states, entrepreneurship, traditions, cultures and other factors, and how does the differing disciplines affect the impact of IPCC knowledge on climate action?  
  • Should and could the IPCC be reformed to become more relevant for climate action post-Paris? Can other science-policy procedures and boundary organizations be more conducive to facilitate climate action at this stage in climate transition processes?

Do not hesitate to contact the special issue editors if you consider submitting a contribution. 


  • Submissions: 
    • Open call: from 15. May 
    • Deadline for submissions of abstracts: 1. July
    • Deadline for submission of full papers: 15. October
  • Digital workshops: we aim to host 2-3 workshops, where authors of papers that relate to each other meet to give feedback to each-other. The co-editors will have a dialogue with the authors about which workshop to take part in.  
  • November 2022: First papers published
  • May 2023: Publication of most papers 
  • September 2023: Publication of the full issue

About the Journal
Climate Action is an open-access journal that publishes high-quality original research, reviews, perspective articles and case studies targeted at an audience of researchers and diverse stakeholders who are interested in mitigating hazardous effects of the global climate change. It aims at building a bridge from science to action towards scientifically informed policies at local and global level. The journal’s scope covers transdisciplinary research from social and physical sciences, combining political, environmental, socio-economic, and behavioral science, with a special focus on the climate change mitigation; climate governance and existing action plans; their feasibility (but also limitations) in the different regions of the world. For more information about the journal please read the editorial that introduces Climate Action and follow us in twitter .

Submission details
Researchers and practitioners are invited to submit Research Articles, Review Articles, Perspective Articles or Case Studies. Interested authors must consult the journal’s guidelines for manuscript submissions at

Please submit your abstracts to the managing editor of Climate Action:
Dr. Spyros Bakas

All submitted articles will be reviewed on a double-blind review basis. Final decision regarding acceptance/revision/rejection will be based on the reviews received from the reviewers and at the sole discretion of the Editor-in-Chief.

For any pre-submission questions concerning the focus and scope of the special collection IPCC: dinosaur or dynamo for climate action? please contact below. 


Prof. Elin Lerum Boasson           Neuer Inhalt (1)
University of Oslo
Senior Researcher
CICERO Center for International Climate Research

Dr. Erlend A. T. Hermansen        Neuer Inhalt (1) 
Senior Researcher
CICERO Center for International Climate Research

Dr. Glen Peters       Neuer Inhalt (1)     
Research Director
CICERO Center for International Climate Research


For any other question concerning your submission please contact the journal.