Terms of Reference


The CCEC operates as a Union Commission within IUGG. The CCEC was established by the Executive Committee of IUGG in 2012 in order to promote the advancement of scientific understanding of climatic and environmental change, to boost research in reducing uncertainties in climate and environmental models, to define criteria for collaborative trans-disciplinary research on climate and environmental change, to fulfill the objectives of IUGG and its associations, to provide an all-Union perspective on climatic and environmental change, and to make available the knowledge and insights developed through scientific research to the benefit of society and planet Earth, including consideration of the science of global change, related vulnerability and impacts, and potential responses.

CCEC provides a focus for IUGG scientific expertise in climate and environment related areas across the breadth of all IUGG disciplines and associations. CCEC enables the breadth of IUGG expertise to be brought to bear at the global level through collaborating with, and underpinning the work of ICSU and other international organizations.  It also enables the geographic spread of IUGG expertise to be brought to bear at the local level through involvement with national bodies in the organization of meetings and other activities.



(a) To build scientific capacity for responsibly addressing the broad, multi-disciplinary issues involved in climatic and environmental change.
(b)  To provide useful information, understanding, and support to the public and governmental organizations;
(c) To interact and cooperate with outside activities that would benefit from the capabilities and resources of the IUGG Associations; and
(d) To strengthen links across the Scientific Associations within IUGG, to build new external links to organizations outside IUGG, to strengthen existing links to external organizations and to promote IUGG’s contribution to global change research; 


The Commission is an international forum to advance the science of climate and global change and make available the scientific knowledge and methods that assist in promoting environmental and public welfare in the face of climate variability and change. Advancing scientific understanding of climatic and environmental change is necessarily interdisciplinary, building on fundamental understanding of the functioning of the atmosphere (IAMAS), the oceans (IAPSO), the hydrologic cycle (IAHS), the cryosphere (IACS), solar interactions (IAGA), IAG (e.g., the Global Geodetic Observing System, GGOS), as well as the land surface processes and external manifestations, such as volcanoes, of interior processes of the Earth (IAVCEI, IASPEI).  Links with other fields not represented in IUGG such as forestry, agricultural sciences and health sciences are also necessary to gain a proper understanding of climate change effects.

The scope of CCEC includes natural and human-induced climate and environmental variations and changes, including especially their interactions and effects on society and the natural resources on which society and life on Earth depends. Thus, this can encompass how changing atmospheric composition affects climate, oceans, glaciers, sea level, water resources, ocean acidification, effects of volcanic eruptions, biogeochemistry, and more—and interactions among all of these aspects.
Our Climate is changing all the time due to a number of various causes, internal as well as external, natural as well as anthropogenic. Observational and theoretical evidence suggest that the ice ages, which are the largest systematic changes of the Earth’s climate, result from the changing latitudinal and seasonal distribution of solar irradiation related to the cycling of the Earth’s orbital parameters. Other possible contributions to natural climate change are well within the scope of IAGA science including the effect on our atmosphere of different spectral bands of solar radiation and particles of different energies originating from Space. A much better understanding of the natural variations of climate is a fundamental requirement for a credible assessment of the human contribution to climate change, now and in the future.

Understanding how most effectively to assist society in making use of scientific knowledge requires strong engagement with the social science community, including public education. The scope of the commission thus potentially reaches beyond the participating IUGG Associations to other Unions within ICSU and to a much broader community.


- Convenes symposia as an integral part of IUGG General Assembly sessions. Between General Assemblies, CCEC symposia may be held independently and jointly with constituent IUGG Association meetings, or in cooperation with relevant organizations, including United Nations Specialized Agencies and NGOs.
- Promotes the advancement of scientific understanding through encouragement of cooperative observations and research among the world’s scientific community and with international organizations and associations.
- Publishes papers in the peer reviewed literature as topical special issues of scientific journals or as special publications of relevant UN specialized agencies (e.g. technical reports of IOC, UNESCO, etc.) by coordinating calls for papers, peer review and editing.
- Provides a focus for IUGG scientific expertise in climate and environment related areas across the breadth of all IUGG disciplines and associations. Enables the breadth of IUGG expertise to be brought to bear in collaborating with, and underpinning the work of ICSU and of the United Nations and NGOs, for example, in the context of the development of a Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS), the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), IPCC, UNEP, WMO, FAO, WHO and UNESCO including its Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC).
- Cooperates with ICSU bodies and in particular the relevant interdisciplinary bodies in the Earth System Science Partnership (ESSP), in particular IGBP and WCRP and their relevant subsidiary projects.



The CCEC membership is open to all interested scientists. The Executive Committee consists of Commission Officers, a Representatives’ Committee and co-opted members.  The officers are a Chair, Vice Chair and Secretary-Treasurer. The Representatives’ Committee consists of two representatives from each participating IUGG Association.  The Representatives’ Committee may co-opt up to four persons (irrespective of IUGG Association) to become members of the Executive Committee.
The Representatives’ Committee elects the officers – namely the Chair, Vice Chair, and Secretary-Treasurer, who do not necessarily need to be one of the designated representatives from an IUGG Association.   Representation on the Executive Committee, irrespective of leadership roles, is for a 4 year term, renewable once.

Cognate groupings such as SCOR, SCAR, the Union Commission on Geophysical Risk and Sustainability, or the WMO Commission on Climate, may send observers to meetings of the executive committee.


The existence and the membership of all Union Commissions are mandated by the Executive Committee of the IUGG.  Accordingly it is proposed to the IUGG Executive that the initial membership of the Executive Committee of CCEC consists of:

Chair: Tom Beer (Australia)
Vice Chair: Jianping Li (China)
Secretary-Treasurer: Keith Alverson (Kenya)

Association Representative Members:

Michael Sederis (Canada)-IAG
Tonie van Dam (Luxembourg) - IAG
Eigil Friis-Christensen (Denmark) – IAGA
Dan Rosbjerg (Denmark) – IAHS
Makoto Taniguchi (Japan)- IAHS
Michael MacCracken (USA) - IAMAS
Guoxiong Wu (China) – IAMAS
Lawrence Mysak (Canada) - IAPSO
Ian Allison (Australia) - IACS
Setsuya Nakada (Japan) – IAVCEI
Stephen Self (USA/UK)– IAVCEI

Co-opted Member
 Serhat Sensoy (WMO Commission for Climatology)



IUGG will contribute up to US $5000 dollars annually to defray the costs of running the Commission. While recognizing the primary IUGG input into the work of the commission, the strength of the Commission is its broad interdisciplinary network of scientific experts. The small core budget is necessary as seed funding to ensure initial activities of the Commission and thus provide a basis for Commission members to seek additional resources on an activity-specific, or project, basis.