The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established in 1988 and has produced five assessment reports on climate change. These reports  must be considered the latest and definitive documents on the issue.

Since the creation of the IPCC, a series of  Assessment Reports have fed directly into international climate policy making. In 1990, the First IPCC Assessment Report (FAR) underlined the importance of climate change as a challenge with global consequences and requiring international cooperation. It played a decisive role in the creation of the UNFCCC, the key international treaty to reduce global warming and cope with the consequences of climate change. The Second Assessment Report (SAR) (1995) provided important material for governments to draw from in the run-up to adoption of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. The Third Assessment Report (TAR) (2001) focused attention on the impacts of climate change and the need for adaptation. The Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) (2007) laid the ground work for a post-Kyoto agreement, focusing on limiting warming to 2°C. The Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) was finalized between 2013 and 2014. It provided the scientific input into the Paris Agreement.

The IPCC is currently in its Sixth Assessment cycle where it will prepare three Special Reports, a Methodology Report and the Sixth Assessment Report. The first of these Special Reports, Global Warming of 1.5°C (SR15), was requested by world governments under the Paris Agreement. In May 2019, the IPCC finalized the 2019 Refinement – an update to the 2006 IPCC Guidelines on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories. The Special Report on Climate Change and Land (SRCCL) will be finalized in August 2019 and the Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC) will be finalized in September 2019. The Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) is expected to be finalized in 2022 in time for the first global stock take the following year.