Our Pacific environment in a COVID-19 World

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report: An overview of the physical science of climate change for the Pacific.


On 9th August 2021, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its 7-yearly assessment on the state of our climate. This report focuses on the physical science of climate change, covering Pacific climate phenomena including temperature rise, rainfall, marine heatwaves, tropical cyclones, sea level rise, ocean acidity and coastal flooding. IPCC reports are the world’s most authoritative sources of climate science, approved by 195 countries.  The webinar will discuss the main findings of the report and its implications for the Pacific.

Prof Mark Howden is a Vice Chair of Working Group II and has assisted in the final approval process of the report. He will give a presentation on the key findings, before participating in a panel discussion between two other Pacific IPCC authors, a Pacific country representative, a SPC and SPREP representative and moderated by the representative of the Pacific Climate Change Centre. The panel discussion will be followed by an audience Q&A session.


  1. Climate change decision makers
  • Climate change decision makers will have at least an intermediate understanding of climate change processes and their impacts. They will likely work in a sector that navigates climate change information services on a day-to-day basis and regard climate change literacy as a primary priority for their organization. This includes national meteorological organizations, climate change authorities/ministries and universities.
  1. Other decision makers
  • Other decision makers may have a less detailed understanding of climate change and its impacts or may have no climate change knowledge. They will work across a variety of sectors and organizations that would benefit from being informed by reliable and relevant climate change information, including government departments (e.g., agriculture, fisheries, health, education, transport, and trade) and development organizations.


  • Address a knowledge gap in the Pacific region around the work of the IPCC, engaging key decision makers including policymakers, experts, and the public.
  • Provide the most up-to-date synthesis of relevant climate change information to diverse Pacific Island audiences and particularly to agency personnel responsible for climate program implementation and to policymakers.


Time (Samoa Standard Time[GMT+13])


2:00 – 2:13pm

[Plenary] Opening Session

  • Opening key remarks - Director General SPREP – Mr. Kosi Latu (5 mins)
  • Keynote address – Government Representative

Moderator: Ms. Ofa Kaisamy – Manager, PCCC (3 mins including introduction to speakers, housekeeping)


[Lecture Summary of the Physical Science Basis report]

  • Prof Mark Howden, Director of the ANU Institute for Climate, will deliver a summary of the key findings that are relevant to the Pacific for the WGI report (30 mins).

2:45 – 3:15pm

[Panel Discussion]

Panelists (other than Mark) will introduce themselves and how their work relates to the IPCC (max 2 mins each, 6 mins total). The Moderator will ask the panel some pre-written questions about the report (24 mins).

  • Lecturer 1: Prof Mark Howden, Director of the ANU Institute for Climate, Energy & Disasters Solutions, Vice Chair, IPCC Working Group I
  • View Presentation here
Prof. Mark

He has been a major contributor to the IPCC since 1991, with roles in the Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth and now Sixth Assessment Reports, sharing the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with other IPCC participants and AI Gore. He helped develop both the national and international greenhouse gas inventories that are a fundamental part of the Paris Agreement, and has assessed sustainable ways to reduce emissions. Mark has worked on climate variability, climate change, innovation and adoption issues for over 30 years in partnership with many industries, community and policy groups via both research and science-policy roles. Issues he has addressed include agriculture and food security, the natural resource base, ecosystems and biodiversity, energy, water and urban systems."

  • Speaker 1: Mr. Arona Ngari – Director – Cook Islands Meteorological Service

Mr Arona Ngari

He has worked in the Meteorology field for over 35 years in Cook Islands and He is a recipient of long service award after 35 years working in the public service. He is one of the most senior Pacific Meteorology scientist in the region and has also served as the Chair of the Pacific Meteorological Council. He has extensive experience in meteorology, climate science and climate change and contributed to pacific scientific articles and publications.

  • Speaker 2: Dr Morgan Wairiu, Natural Resource and Climate Adaptation specialist, Coordinating Lead Author, IPCC Working Group IIMr.

Speaker 3: Dr Morgan

He has a extensive knowledge of Pacific regions' environment and development issues including Government structures and systems both at the National and community levels. He has over 30 years of work experience in agriculture, forestry, land use and the environment including climate change adaptation and risk resilience in the Pacific regions. He had relevant management skills, including design and reporting, programme and organisational risk and financial management through his previous management position as Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock in the Solomon Islands, Manager of food security and risk resilience porgramme with international NGO Live & Learn and as Acting Director of PACE-SD at USP  

  • Speaker 3: Espen Ronneberg – Director Climate Change, SPC

Espen Ronneberg

 Espen Ronneberg has expertise in climate change, sustainable development, as well as in-depth knowledge and understanding of the Pacific region, acquired through an extensive career focused on supporting Pacific Island Countries' and Territories' capacity and initiatives. Having 28 years of experience working on climate change issues in the Pacific and beyond, including significant involvement with international climate change negotiations since 1992, has made him one of the region's pre-eminent experts on such matters, He formerly had various positions in SPREP advising on, planning and leading complex development work, particularly in climate change. He also worked closely with countries, regional agencies and multilateral bodies and his experience spans national, regional and international frameworks and processes. He has contributed to many scientific publications, writing several articles on climate change and sustainable development issues.

  • Speaker 4: Mr. Salesa Nihmei – Meteorology & Climatology Adviser, Climate Change Resilience, SPREP

Salesa Nihmei

He has worked in the meteorology field for over 20 years in Vanuatu and at SPREP. He is the lead focal point and secretariat to the Pacific Met Council and the Pacific Met Desk Partnership. Support in actioning the Pacific Roadmap on Climate Services as well as Pacific Islands Meteorology Strategy.

  • Speaker 5: Dr. Michael Grose – Senior Research Scientist, CSIRO

Dr Michael Grose

Research into climate and climate change at a regional scale including research into the drivers of climate variability and projections. He is also the climate projects scientists - climate model evaluation and making climate projections for Pacific Island Countries.

Moderator: Ms. Yvette Kerslake – Technical Advisor Science to Services, PCCC

Yvette Kerslake

 She has more than 10 years of work experience in Environment and Climate Change at senior level as Assistant Resident Representative /Programme Manager - Environment, Energy and Climate Change for UNDP, Integration of Climate Change into the Forestry Sector project Manager/Coordinator & Principal Watershed Officer for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment in Samoa. Through her experience, she has managed a variety of research based, evidence driven projects throughout the Pacific Island Countries.

3:15 – 3:45pm

[Plenary] Questions & Answers Session (30 mins)

3:45 – 3:50pm

[Closing Session]

  • Closing remarks – Director of Climate Change Resilience, Ms. Tagaloa Cooper (5 min)

Moderator: Ms. Ofa Kaisamy

For more details, please contact:

  • Ms. Yvette Kerslake, Technical Advisor Science Services, PCCC (SPREP), [email protected]
  • Ms. Caitlyn Baljak, Project Officer, ANU Institute for Climate, Energy & Disaster Solutions, [email protected]

Webinar Recording


Knowledge Resources

Australian National University IPCC Fact sheets

Useful Links

IPCC Sixth Assessment Report - AR6 Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis

SPREP News: Newly released IPCC report confirms grave risks in a warming world

ANU News: Global temperature likely to rise by 1.5 degrees in next decade

ANU Events: Upcoming Pacific events