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Hoesung Lee, the UN’s Climate Change Czar

In August he guided almost 200 countries to unanimous agreement on a report that found humanity has raised the global temperature by 1.1C, making the planet hotter than it’s been in 125,000 years.
Hoesung Lee

Hoesung Lee

Photographer: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

Lee became an economist focused on energy and the environment after growing up during the “Miracle on the Han River,” South Korea’s rise to prosperity after World War II. When he became IPCC chair in 2015, he pledged an ambitious agenda that included a focus on regional climates and a rethinking of how the group’s conclusions reach every nation.

His management challenge was considerable. The latest report—the first of four that will make up the IPCC’s sixth climate assessment—had 234 authors from 65 countries, plus hundreds more contributors. It ran to almost 4,000 pages and was based on 14,000 research papers, and the authors evaluated 78,000 reviewer comments. For the first time, a dozen briefs accompanied the report, explaining how different regions of the world were changing.