What Is Known and What Is Not Known about Impacts of Climate Change – Report

Human Wrongs Watch

Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on 16 October 2014 lunched the full version of its contribution to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. This definitive assessment is the result of years of intensive work by leading experts in the field.*

The report assesses the impacts and risks of climate change and the opportunities for response | Source: UNEP

It provides the most comprehensive look to date at the widespread impacts and risks of climate change and the opportunities for response. The full version of the Working Group II report includes a Summary for Policymakers, a Technical Summary, 30 assessment chapters, cross-chapter boxes, frequently asked questions, and high-resolution graphics.

The report characterizes what is known and what is not known about impacts of climate changes that have already occurred and risks of future impacts. It integrates information about the full range of possible climate outcomes, as well as the role of vulnerability in humans and ecosystems.

Twenty chapters provide global-scale assessments of impacts, risks, and adaptation options for economic sectors, human activities, and natural ecosystems. In a second volume, 10 of the chapters take a regional perspective, considering unique features of the geography and culture of major world regions.

Today’s [16 October 2014] launch provides a complete and transparent view of the volume’s development. The vast scientific undertaking and meticulous process of developing the report are now accessible.

Content released today includes early draft chapter versions, many thousands of searchable reviewer comments on drafts, and author team responses to reviewer comments. It also includes a searchable database of non-journal literature cited in the report.

Photo: Greenpeace

Photo: Greenpeace

The summaries, chapters, and cross-chapter material were released in draft form on 31 March, 2014. The high-resolution graphics, early drafts, comments, and responses to comments are newly accessible in this launch.

“The IPCC is committed to a high level of transparency about the assessment process. The new material included in this launch provides a detailed look at all the stages of constructing a report, at the evidence and interpretations suggested by expert reviewers, and at the way author teams addressed comments,” said Chris Field, Co-Chair of Working Group II.

Today’s launch provides the opportunity to see who submitted review comments and the balance across review comments. It also provides a chance to explore the processes that author teams used to evaluate comments, double-check facts, and re-assess interpretations.

The searchable review comments in today’s launch additionally stand testament to the breadth and depth of the contributions across the scientific community.

“The Working Group II report contributes to the foundation of information for smart decisions about dealing with climate change,” said Vicente Barros, Co-Chair of Working Group II.

The Working Group II contribution to the Fifth Assessment Report (WGII AR5) is available at www.ipcc-wg2.gov/AR5

By absorbing much of the added heat trapped by atmospheric greenhouse gases, the oceans are delaying some of the impacts of climate change. Photo: WMO/Olga Khoroshunova

By absorbing much of the added heat trapped by atmospheric greenhouse gases, the oceans are delaying some of the impacts of climate change. Photo: WMO/Olga Khoroshunova


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is the international body for assessing the science related to climate change. It was set up in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme to provide policymakers with regular assessments of the scientific basis of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for adaptation and mitigation.

Working Group II, which assesses impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability, is co-chaired by Vicente Barros of the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Chris Field of the Carnegie Institution for Science, USA. The Technical Support Unit of Working Group II is hosted by the Carnegie Institution for Science and funded by the government of the United States of America.

At the 28th Session of the IPCC held in April 2008, the members of the IPCC decided to prepare a Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). A Scoping Meeting was convened in July 2009 to develop the scope and outline of the AR5. The resulting outlines for the three Working Group contributions to the AR5 were approved at the 31st Session of the IPCC in October 2009.

A total of 309 coordinating lead authors, lead authors, and review editors, representing 70 countries, were selected to produce the Working Group II report. They enlisted the help of 436 contributing authors, and a total of 1729 expert reviewers from 84 countries provided 50,492 comments on drafts of the report. For the Fifth Assessment Report as a whole, more than 830 coordinating lead authors, lead authors, and review editors participated.

The Working Group II report consists of two volumes. The first contains a Summary for Policymakers, Technical Summary, and 20 chapters assessing risks by sector and opportunities for response.

The sectors include freshwater resources, terrestrial and ocean ecosystems, coasts, food, urban and rural areas, energy and industry, human health and security, and livelihoods and poverty.

A second volume of 10 chapters assesses risks and opportunities for response by region. These regions include Africa, Europe, Asia, Australasia, North America, Central and South America, Polar Regions, Small Islands, and the Ocean. (*Source: UNEP Release).

Further Resources

– See more at: http://www.unep.org/newscentre/Default.aspx?DocumentID=2803&ArticleID=11028&l=en#sthash.l036qLp7.dpuf

Read also:

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‘We Are Running Out of Time’, Experts Warn as Climate Change Debate Heats Up

Climate Change Impacting Entire Planet, Raising Risk of Hunger, Floods, Conflict – UN Report

Impact of Climate Change Could Reverse Decades of Development in Africa ‘Majestic’

Greenland Provides First-hand Look at Impacts of Human-induced Climate Change

Bangladesh: the Crippling Cost of Climate Change Adaptation

Overall Energy Consumption for Lighting Will Have Grown by 60 to 70% by 2030 with dramatic consequences for climate change

Looming Problems: Not Enough Energy; Too Much of Climate Change

Clean Energy, Water Strategies to Halt ‘Runaway’ Climate Change – Experts 

The ‘Future We Want’, Nowhere to Be Found in Rio+20

Demand for Life’s Essentials: 50% More Food, 40% More Energy and… 35% More Water

Food Inequality Equation: 1.5 Billion Obese; 925 Million Hungry 

2014 Human Wrongs Watch

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