Jean-Pascal van Ypersele

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Jean-Pascal van Ypersele.

Jean-Pascal van Ypersele de Strihou (born 1957, in Brussels) is a Belgian Professor of Climatology and Environmental Sciences at the Université catholique de Louvain (UCL), in Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium). Son of/nephew of a conservative francophone catholic family deeply involved in Belgian politics. Related to the former chief of staff of the Belgian king.


He received his PhD in physics at the Université catholique de Louvain (1986 with highest honours) based on work done at the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), (Colorado, USA) on the effect of global warming on Antarctic sea ice. After military service in the Belgian Navy, he continued his research on climate change and authored papers on subjects including the modelling of sea ice, paleoclimates, the climate of the 20th and 21st century, regional climate change in Europe, Greenland, and Africa, and the ethical issues associated with responsibility for climate change.


Jean-Pascal van Ypersele's involvement in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) started well before the Third Assessment Report, of which he was one of the Lead Authors; he has several times filled in as a Review Editor and has participated in dozens of outreach events related to the work of the IPCC. He was one of IPCC Vice-Chairs during the 5th cycle of evaluation, from September 2008 to October 2015. He was nominated by the Belgian government[1] and publicly announced in February 2014,[2] as candidate to the IPCC Chair position in 2015. The elections of IPCC Bureau members (Chair, Vice-Chairs, and Working Group and TFI Co-Chairs and Vice-Chairs) were held during the 42nd IPCC Session from 5 to 8 October 2015, in Dubrovnik. Despite the assistance and official support of the Belgian government but also his campaign platform in which he emphasized the need to maintain the robustness and scientific independence of the IPCC, as well as the importance of inclusiveness and communication,[3] Jean-Pascal van Ypersele was not elected. He lost in the second round, against Hoesung Lee, and was not able to extend his candidacy to the Co-Chair position, for which the supporting government must put forward a political but also financial support. Jean-Pascal van Ypersele thus decided to completely leave the IPCC.[4]

Before his election as IPCC Vice-Chair, he took part as scientific adviser to the United Nations conferences on climate-related issues.

He teaches climatology and environmental sciences, and directs the Master programme in Science and Management of the Environment at the UCL (Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium). Since 1993, he is a member of the Belgian Federal Council for Sustainable Development, and he chairs its Working Group on Energy and Climate.


  • 2006: Energy and environment award from the International Polar Foundation
  • 2008: Francqui Chair at the Université libre de Bruxelles and K.U. Leuven - H.U. Brussel (2011)
  • 2009: Member of the Royal Academy of Belgium
  • 2010: Honorary Member of the Club of Rome (EU Chapter)
  • 2011: Commandeur du Mérite wallon
  • 2014: Grand Officier de l'Ordre de la Couronne (Belgium)


He came in the news because of his support of a Rwandan colleague, M. Ntezimana, involved in the 1994 genocide and condemned.[5]

At several occasions he refused the debate publicly with sceptical colleagues such as István Markó,[6] who were later boycotted by his university in the presentation of their book.[7]


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