Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation & Vulnerability: Findings from the IPCC Report

by deborah on March 31, 2014 · 10 comments

in Environment, Living Green, Living Green

Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation & Vulnerability: Findings from the IPCC Report

Climate change is happening.

The evidence is clear.

Every time I turn around I am confronted with earth-shattering news stories, mind-blowing

documentaries, provocative “expert” forums, passionate panelists and alarming social media

debates offering wildly varying opinions about the causes, impact and future of our planet due

to climate change.

There are so many thoughts and opinions on this topic that you can go a little crazy trying to

make sense of it all.

The reality is: Our earth is warming.

The planet’s average temperature has risen by 1.4°F over the past century, and is projected to

rise another 2 to 11.5°F over the next hundred years. Rising global temperatures have often been

accompanied by changes in weather and climate. Many areas have seen changes in rainfall, resulting

in more floods, droughts, or intense rain, as well as more frequent and severe heat waves. Our oceans

and glaciers have also experienced huge changes–oceans are warming and becoming more acidic,

ice caps are melting, and sea levels are rising. From floods and hurricanes to droughts and even tsunamis,

more and more, severe weather and climate changes are presenting challenges to our society and our

environment.

We humans are largely responsible for recent climate change.

Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability: Findings from The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report

Over the past century, human activities have released large amounts of carbon dioxide and other

greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

The majority of greenhouse gases come from burning fossil fuels to produce energy, although

deforestation, industrial processes, and some agricultural practices also emit gases into the atmosphere.

But there are many other actions that contribute to global warming as well.

Driving a car, using electricity to light and heat your home, and throwing away garbage all lead to

greenhouse gas emissions. We can reduce emissions through simple actions like changing to an LED

light bulb, powering down electronics, using less water, riding a bike instead of driving and recycling. 

Making a few small changes in your home and yard can reduce greenhouse gases and save you money.

Greenhouse gases act like a blanket around the planet, trapping energy in the atmosphere and causing

it to warm. The choices we make today will affect the amount of greenhouse gases we put into the atmos-

phere now, in the near future, and for years to come.

Hurricane Sandy is a case in point. I live in the Northeastern U.S. and the devastation of Hurricane Sandy

was all too real to me. My neighborhood-full of vital hospitals and health centers–was dramatically affected

by flooding and power failure–resulting in the loss of running water, lights, electricity, transportation and

important services.

One article on climatecentral.org summed it up:

Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation & Vulnerability: Findings from the IPCC Report

“How Global Warming Made Hurricane Sandy Worse”

“What is already clear, however, is that climate change

very likely made Sandy’s impacts worse than

they otherwise would have been.

 There are three different ways climate change

might have influenced Sandy:

through the effects of sea level rise; 

through abnormally warm sea surface temperatures;

and possibly through an unusual weather pattern that some scientists

think bore the fingerprint of rapidly disappearing Arctic sea ice.

 If this were a criminal case, detectives would be treating

global warming as a likely accomplice in the crime.”

Suffice it to say that I am freaking out about the harrowing realities of climate change and literally

obsessed with learning–and sharing–as much as I can about the challenges of climate change–

but more importantly, about the documented man-made causes and what we can do to stem the tide.

Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation & Vulnerability: Findings from the IPCC Report

Information is power, so when the 2014 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC )

Report results were released today I had to share them with you.

 

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.

Here is a summary of the report from the IPCC press release.

See what you think!

“IPCC Report: A changing climate creates pervasive

risks but opportunities exist for effective responses”

Responses will face challenges with high warming of the climate

YOKOHAMA, Japan, 31 March – The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a

report today that says the effects of climate change are already occurring on all continents and

across the oceans. The world, in many cases, is ill-prepared for risks from a changing climate.

The report also concludes that there are opportunities to respond to such risks, though the risks

will be difficult to manage with high levels of warming.

Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation & Vulnerability: Findings from the IPCC Report

The report, titled Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability, from Working Group

II of the IPCC, details the impacts of climate change to date, the future risks from a changing

climate, and the opportunities for effective action to reduce risks. A total of 309 coordinating lead

authors, lead authors, and review editors, drawn from 70 countries, were selected to produce the

report. They enlisted the help of 436 contributing authors, and a total of 1,729 expert and

government reviewers.

“The report concludes that responding to

climate change involves making choices

about risks in a changing world.”

The report concludes that responding to climate change involves making choices about risks in a

changing world. The nature of the risks of climate change is increasingly clear, though climate

change will also continue to produce surprises. The report identifies vulnerable people, industries,

and ecosystems around the world. It finds that risk from a changing climate comes from

vulnerability (lack of preparedness) and exposure (people or assets in harm’s way) overlapping with

hazards (triggering climate events or trends). Each of these three components can be a target for

smart actions to decrease risk.

“We live in an era of man-made climate change.

“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.”

“We live in an era of man-made climate change,” said 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.”

Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation & Vulnerability: Findings from the IPCC Report

Adaptation to reduce the risks from a changing climate is now starting to occur, but

with a stronger focus on reacting to past events than on preparing for a changing future, according

to Chris Field, Co-Chair of Working Group II.

“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.”

“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.”

Future risks from a changing climate depend strongly on the amount of future climate change.

Increasing magnitudes of warming increase the likelihood of severe and pervasive impacts that

may be surprising or irreversible.

“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.

Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability: Findings from The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report

Observed impacts of climate change have already affected agriculture, human health, ecosystems

on land and in the oceans, water supplies, and some people’s livelihoods. The striking feature of

observed impacts is that they are occurring from the tropics to the poles, from small islands to large

continents, and from the wealthiest countries to the poorest.

 

“The report concludes that people, societies, and ecosystems are vulnerable around the world, but

with different vulnerability in different places. Climate change often interacts with other stresses to

increase risk,” Field said.

“The report concludes that people, societies,

and ecosystems are vulnerable around the world,

but with different vulnerability in different places. 

Adaptation can play a key role in decreasing these risks. 

Part of the reason adaptation is so important is that the

world faces a host of risks from climate change already

baked into the climate system, due to past emissions

and existing infrastructure. Adaptation can play a key

role in decreasing these risks.”

“Part of the reason adaptation is so important is that the world faces a host of risks from climate

change already baked into the climate system, due to past emissions and existing infrastructure,”

said Barros.

 

Field added: “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.”

Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability: Findings from The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report

Rajendra Pachauri, Chair of the IPCC, said: “The Working Group II report is another important step

forward in our understanding of how to reduce and manage the risks of climate change. Along with

the reports from Working Group I and Working Group III, it provides a conceptual map of not only

the essential features of the climate challenge but the options for solutions.”

 

The Working Group I report was released in September 2013, and the Working Group III report will

be released in April 2014. The IPCC Fifth Assessment Report cycle concludes with the publication

of its Synthesis Report in October 2014.

 

“None of this would be possible without the dedication of the Co-Chairs of Working Group II and the

hundreds of scientists and experts who volunteered their time to produce this report, as well as the

more than 1,700 expert reviewers worldwide who contributed their invaluable oversight,” Pachauri

said. “The IPCC’s reports are some of the most ambitious scientific undertakings in human history,

and I am humbled by and grateful for the contributions of everyone who make them possible.”

 

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.

 

The Working Group II contribution to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (WGII AR5) is available at

www.ipcc-wg2.gov/AR5 and www.ipcc.ch.

 

For more information, contact:

IPCC Press Office, Email: ipcc-media@wmo.int

Jonathan Lynn, + 81 45 228 6439 or Nina Peeva, + 81 80 3588 2519

 

IPCC Working Group II Media Contact, Email: media@ipcc-wg2.gov

Michael Mastrandrea, +1 650 353 4257

 

Addendum:

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 and government reviewers provided comments on drafts of the

report. For the Fifth Assessment Report as a whole, a total of 837 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.

Climate change is the most important issue impacting our lives and the future of our planet.

What do you think about the findings and results of the IPCC’s Report?

What do you feel about their point of view, assessments or recommendations?

Do you agree or disagree?

Share your opinions, thoughts and suggestions.

 “Shared at Small Footprint Friday”