SMU Associate Professor Winston Chow Notches Nomination to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Bureau

SMU College of Integrative Studies (CIS) Associate Professor Winston Chow has been nominated by the Singapore Government for a highly significant post on the global Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Bureau. Dr. Chow accepted the Government’s invitation to run 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 commencing in July 2023.  Elections to the IPCC Bureau will be held in July this year.

A first for Singapore

This is Singapore’s first nomination to the IPCC Bureau. Having Associate Professor Chow play a leadership role in the IPCC Bureau is part of Singapore’s efforts to contribute to global cooperation to advance international climate science.

Singapore has been contributing actively to the work of the IPCC, 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. IPCC assessments provide a scientific basis for governments to develop climate related policies, and contribute to international climate negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The 34-member IPCC Bureau guides the IPCC on the scientific and technical aspects of its work, advises on management and strategic issues, and takes decisions on specific issues within its mandate.

SMU President, Professor Lily Kong, said, “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. 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.”

Academic dedicated to advancing the science of climate change

Winston Chow is Associate Professor of Urban Climate at the Singapore Management University’s College of Integrative Studies, as well as a Lee Kong Chian Research Fellow. His main research interests and publications focus on urban climate change risk and vulnerability, and on urban climatology with a focus on heat island adaptation and mitigation. Since 2017, he has been a Principal Investigator for the multi-institute Cooling Singapore Initiative, which develops climate-resilient solutions to address the urban heat challenge in Singapore.

Having been actively involved in the IPCC, Associate Professor Chow is uniquely qualified to contribute to advancing the science of climate change, and shape practical recommendations on how Governments and societies can effectively adapt to climate risks and enhance climate resilience. 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, and significantly contributed to urban aspects of climate change in the other WGs I and III.

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

Associate Professor Winston Chow said: “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.

I have witnessed the sacrifices my colleagues made over the past four years to ensure the assessment reports we wrote accurately reflect what we and our academic peers research about; as well as the craft and care in telling everyone what is at stake if we do not reach a 1.5°C world and, more importantly, how to get there. However, the climate challenges for the next assessment cycle are manifold and complex, and actions reducing vulnerability, enhancing successful climate adaptation, and minimising impacts and risks should reflect the urgency we clearly see in scientific literature. 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.”

Click here for the media release from the Singapore Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment.