New IPCC Report Details Climate Change Risks and Future Preparations

A new report, released on March 31, by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) notes that a changing climate is creating pervasive risks, but there are opportunities for effective responses.

The report, entitled “Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability,” comes from Working Group II of the IPCC. It details the impacts of climate change to date, the future risks as a result of a changing climate and the opportunities for action to effectively reduce those risks.

A collective of 309 coordinating lead authors and review editors from 70 countries, 436 contributing authors and 1,729 expert and government reviewers produced the report, which concludes there are three components to target to decrease risk.

They are:

  • Vulnerability (lack of preparedness)
  • Exposure (people or assets in harm’s way)
  • Hazards (triggering climate events or trends)

The report finds that the risks from a changing climate come from these three factors combined. It also identifies vulnerable people, industries and ecosystems around the world.

“We live in an era of man-made climate change,” says Vicente Barros, co-chair of Working Group II.

“In many cases, we are not prepared for the climate-related risks that we already face. Investments in better preparation can pay dividends both for the present and for the future.”

Chris Field, also co-chair of Working Group II, says adaptation to reduce the risks from a changing climate is now beginning to happen.

“Climate-change adaptation is not an exotic agenda that has never been tried. Governments, firms and communities around the world are building experience with adaptation,” Field said.

“This experience forms a starting point for bolder, more ambitious adaptations that will be important as climate and society continue to change.”

Though managing these risks is possible, Field notes it will not be without challenges.

“With high levels of warming that result from continued growth in greenhouse gas emissions, risks will be challenging to manage, and even serious, sustained investments in adaptation will face limits,” said Field.

“Understanding that climate change is a challenge in managing risk opens a wide range of opportunities for integrating adaptation with economic and social development and with initiatives to limit future warming. We definitely face challenges, but understanding those challenges and tackling them creatively can make climate-change adaptation an important way to help build a more vibrant world in the near-term and beyond.”

 

To access the full report, click here: http://www.ipcc-wg2.gov/AR5/

For the IPCC press release, click here: http://ipcc-wg2.gov/AR5/images/uploads/IPCC_WG2AR5_PressRelease.pdf