The Icelandic Climate Council is an independent body whose role is to hold authorities accountable and provide advice on policy objectives and specific measures related to climate change. 

The Council has the following tasks: 

  • Provide advice on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and on measures for carbon sequestration.

  • Provide advice on climate change adaptation.

  • Review climate policies and plans of the government during the preparation phases.   

  • Have an overview of educational initiatives and dissemination of information on climate issues to the public, businesses, institutions, and municipalities.

  • Review proposals from government agencies about monitoring and climate related research.

  • Work on other tasks the Minister assigns to the Council at any given time. 

The Climate Council was established in 2018 and was given a legal basis with amendment to the Icelandic Climate Act in 2019. Members of the Climate Council are appointed for four years at a time.

Members of the Council represent the business community, academia, municipalities, and environmental NGOs. Additionally, representatives from other stakeholders can be asked to participate as considered necessary at any given point in time. The Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources appoints the chair and the vice chair of the Council and has also appointed representatives of youth. The Climate Council shall be impartial and independent in its work. 

The Icelandic Climate Council is a member of the International Climate Councils Network (ICCN), launched in 2021. ICCN has identified the following five principles to be integral to enabling Climate Councils to fulfil their roles effectively: 

  • A robust grounding in the latest climate science, as exemplified by the assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), supported by strong expertise across relevant economic, physical, ecological and social sciences.

  • A mandate to provide independent, evidence-led advice to and assessment of action by Government and stakeholders on climate mitigation and/or adaptation, with sufficient resources to deliver on that mandate.

  • A remit to produce advice on the socioeconomic aspects of the climate transition to ensure that it is procedurally and substantively fair.

  • A consultative and impartial approach to engaging stakeholders to help develop consensus and steer policy action, particularly in critical and/or challenging area.

  • A sharp focus on strengthening and aligning adaptation, mitigation and just transition efforts, and improving their integration – all three are essential to effective climate action.