"When Yamina Saheb started work with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change in 2019, she was stunned at the treatment meted out to researchers from
the “global south.” Diversity, equity, and inclusion seemed laughably alien
concepts at the organization, which is tasked under the United Nations
Environment Programme with charting a safe path for humanity through the
climate crisis. Saheb, an energy economist specializing in the built
environment, had a foot in the south as a dual Algerian-French citizen, and so
she had long been aware of issues of inequity in the global research community.
But the IPCC, which is structured to “bring together experts from all around
the world” in working groups, exceeded her expectations of institutional
The IPCC, in her view, was a place of glass ceilings for researchers from
poorer countries. There were arbitrary bureaucratic obstacles to getting
research read and accepted, technological deficits, onerous paywalls, and
systematized bias in scientific journals. Climate sustainability thinkers from
sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and southeast Asia were treated as
second-class participants. “It looked like a continuation of colonialism,”
Saheb told me.
Saheb’s colleagues, fellow IPCC authors, often remarked on this state of
affairs — and yet it seemed to be accepted at the IPCC as the norm."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics