The MIT Global Change Forum has gained an international reputation for serious, frank, informed discussion of global change issues. The Forum meetings provide a non-official, neutral setting for analysis and discussion of science and policy aspects of global change, and for independent assessment of studies and policy proposals.

Each Forum brings together a group of about 100 representatives of industry, government, international bodies, and research groups for discussion of the evolving understanding of the science and policy aspects of the climate issue. In this way, the work of the Program is provided in an open way to industry and non-profit groups and to national and international policy-making bodies.

The Forum includes participation by faculty and staff from MIT, and selected experts from other universities and government research laboratories. The Forums routinely involve high-level representatives from the ongoing IPCC efforts. It also involves input from a range of industries and industrial organizations that have an interest in the effects of climate and related issues on industrial economics and energy technology.

Crucial to the discussions is the inclusion of "professional" participants in the policy-making process: people who are directly involved and qualified, and possess a broad perspective, but who are not in such a sensitive position that they cannot speak freely on the critical issues. This professional group includes staff of congressional or parliamentary committees, government officials at the level of assistant secretary or deputy assistant secretary, officials from the relevant U.N. organizations and associated non-governmental organizations, officials of regional governmental organizations like the European Union, and country negotiators in the FCCC process.

Forums convened far from MIT may be held in collaboration with a local co-sponsor. Previous examples include the following organizations.

UCL and COREEmniWIFOFondazione Eni Enrico MatteiIstituto Veneto di Scienze Lettered ArtiUC RevelleCIREDteriPIKChatham HouseCicero