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Climate Change: IPCC Working Group II Reports

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Risk management is about decision-making.
“Responding to climate change involves making choices about risks in a changing world” Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 31 March 2014

Today, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group II released their draft report Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability (copy edit pending). By the time I woke up, a chorus of bells for climate change was already ringing around the world. Bells are used for lots of things: to celebrate, to warn, to guide. With bells people can communicate and coordinate with others in their community, far better than they could without noteworthy sounds to carry messages.


From the Bell Tower: IPCC Working Group II

On reading the IPCC Working Group II Summary for Policy Makers, I’d like to share some of their messages with you:

  • Our world is being affected by multiple stressors including climate change
  • We have a space of opportunity that we can work with
  • A range of possible futures exist, ranging from high resilience, low risk to low resilience, high risk
  • We have choices. We can choose pathways to higher climate resilience or lower climate resilience.


An Opening Statement from Chris Field, Co-Chair for IPCC Working Group II

On March 25, 2014, from Yokohama, Japan, Chris Field, Co-Chair of the IPCC Working Group II delivered his opening statement to the 38th Session of the IPCC to finalize their report. This is some of what he said:


“One of the things I like most about the report is that it combines cold, analytical realism, with a careful look at a broad range of possible solutions. This mapping of not only the serious and admittedly sometimes depressing “problem space” but also the exciting and potentially uplifting “solution space” allows the report to assess not only the impacts and challenges but also the opportunities and synergies. Truly, much of the material in the WGII report is as much about building a better world as it is about understanding serious problems.”


“For all of us who have been consumed with this report over the last 5 years, it is really exciting to stand at the boundary between assessing knowledge and sharing it with the broader community. There are lots of groups who share information about climate change. I think of them as mainly bells. Their goal is to ring a message as loudly and clearly as possible. The IPCC is fundamentally different. It is more like a bell tower than a bell. Its role is not so much to ring the message of climate change as it is to elevate the community, giving everyone a chance to see farther and more clearly from a great height.”



Press release from The IPCC Working Group II

On March 31, 2014, a press release from the IPCC Working Group II accompanied the report. Here are a few points that they had to say about the report:


“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.”


“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.”











IPCC Messages

Watch these short videos for some key IPCC messages:


IPCC Working Group 1: Physical Science Basis: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yiTZm0y1YA


Geosphere-Biosphere Programme: Climate Change State of the Science: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EWOrZQ3L-c


We can decide whether and how we want to find our way.
We can decide whether and how we want to find our way.

On Finding Our Way

You can’t hear it, but my bell rings for hope. Imagine the wave born sounds of a mariners bell buoy ringing through dense fog, an indispensable guide for safe passage. We can use guides; we can ignore them; or we can take them down. But, we are a global community. And, yes, we do have options.



Field, C. 2014. Opening session: IPCC Plenary, Yokohama, Japan. March 25, 2014, Chris Field, co-chair IPCC Working Group II. Opening statement prepared for Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Available at: http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/ar5/Chris Field Opening Statement.pdf

Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) Website: http://www.ipcc.ch/

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group II. 2014. Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Draft Report (Copyedit Pending) prepared by the IPCC Working Group II. Accessed at: http://ipcc-wg2.gov/AR5/images/uploads/IPCC_WG2AR5_SPM_Approved.pdf (31 April 2014).

31 March 2017 Update: The final reports for AR5 Working Group II are available at: http://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/wg2/

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). 2014. IPCC Report: A changing climate creates pervasive risks but opportunities exist for effective responses. Press release prepared 31 march 2014 for IPCC Working Group II.