Hans-Otto Pörtner elected Co-Chair of the IPCC’s Working Group II

Together with a colleague from South Africa, the AWI expert will head an important council of experts
[07. October 2015] 

Today, AWI biologist and climate researcher Professor Hans-Otto Pörtner was officially voted Co-Chair of the IPCC’s Working Group II at a ceremony held in Dubrovnik, Croatia. He’ll be leading the Group, which primarily focuses on the risks and impacts of climate change, as well as potential adaptation strategies, together with Debra Roberts from South Africa.

His term of office will begin with the preparation of the IPCC’s sixth Assessment Report and continue through 2022. “We’re extremely proud that Hans-Otto Pörtner has been selected as Co-Chair of the IPCC’s Working Group II, a decision that reflects the expertise leading German researchers can contribute to essential international discussions and committees,” said AWI Director Prof Karin Lochte after the vote in Dubrovnik.

Pörtner is an internationally respected biologist noted for his outstanding expertise on the climate and physiology of marine animals. He currently serves as head of the Alfred Wegener Institute’s Integrative Ecophysiology section, and has been a professor specializing in the adaptation strategies of marine organisms at the University of Bremen since 2005. Thanks to his work as lead author of the fifth Assessment Report, he has already gathered considerable experience with the activities of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

“I look forward to working together with a large, international team of authors, whose job it will be to compile and assess the relevant scientific findings. It’s highly motivating to know that this work lays the groundwork for setting the long-term climate targets in the COP process,” said Pörtner following his nomination.

Working Group II, which the AWI researcher is now responsible for, identifies the vulnerabilities of socioeconomic and natural systems to climate change and its repercussions, as well as ways in which human beings can adapt to global warming. In the most recent IPCC Assessment Report, the Group clearly showed that the effects of climate change are becoming increasingly severe and irreversible. As an institution of the United Nations, the IPCC provides a scientifically sound basis for political decision-makers, without proposing concrete solutions or making policy recommendations of its own. The IPCC’s fifth Assessment Report was released in the course of 2013 and 2014.



Hans-Otto Poertner
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