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Prof. Bert Bolin (source IPCC)

January, 2008

Prof. Bert Bolin, Swedish pioneering climatologist and the first chairman of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with the former Vice President Al Gore for their warnings about global warming, died on December 30 in Stockholm.

Prof. Bolin had a distinguished career having been appointed as Professor of Meteorology at Stockholm University in 1961. In 1974 he organized the first international conference for the formulation and development of a World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) which took shape and was launched in 1980. Between 1985 and 1986 he served as Chairman for the ad hoc committee which proposed the initiation by the International Congress of Scientific Unions (ICSU) the International Geosphere Biosphere Programme (IGBP), a study of global change, which was launched by ICSU in 1986.

The IPCC, created in 1988 by the UN Environment Program and the World Meteorological Organization, brought together 3,500 scientists from around the world. The concerns expressed in the first of the two assessments issued while Bolin was chairman, in August 1990, led to the drafting of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the first international document bringing countries together to deal with the issue. The framework, first promoted at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, has 192 signatories. The second assessment issued during Bolin's tenure, in 1995, led to the Kyoto Protocol, which called on industrialized countries to collectively limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2012.

In words of Mr. Rajendra K. Pachauri, chairman of the IPCC: "while all those who work in the field of climate change, and particularly those associated with the IPCC will miss him greatly, his legacy as a remarkable leader of scientific endeavour would remain a source of inspiration to researchers working in this general field and certainly to those who work on the reports of the IPCC any time in the future. His name will remain engraved in golden letters as a pioneer whose work has made an enormous difference to the world".

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Sources:

- International Panel on Climate Change (IPPC). http://www.ipcc.ch/

- The New York Times. Jan 4, 2008. Bert Bolin, 82, Is Dead; Led U.N. Climate Panel. By Dennis Havesi

- El País. Jan 7, 2008. Bert Bolin, meteorólogo. By Ricardo Moreno