Monthly Archives: April, 2014

The latest report from the IPCC: what does it mean for young people?


On 31 March, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) launched the report from Working Group II (focusing on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability), the second part of the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) on climate change.

What is this report all about?

This report is the second in the latest series published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The first report from Working Group I, published in September 2013 focused on the climate science (read all about that report and what it means for young people here), and this report from Working Group II (WG2)

“… evaluates how patterns of risks and potential benefits are shifting due to climate change. It considers how impacts and risks related to climate change can be reduced and managed through adaptation and mitigation. The report assesses needs, options, opportunities, contraints, resilience, limits, and other aspects associated with adaptation.”

—————-– IPCC Summary for Policy Makers

The report, based on more than 12,000 peer-reviewed scientific papers (double the number that the 2007 report was based on) emphasises that we don’t have a choice between adaptation or mitigation, the world has to do both, because current projections will create scenarios and impacts we are unable to adapt to.



What does it mean for young people?

It was never going to be good news for young people, and with warnings of food and water shortages, ocean acidification and rising sea levels, impacts on human health, increasingconflict and a huge cost to the global economy, the WG2 report predicts a grim future if we do nothing to curb climate change. But it’s not just about the future. The report highlights that the impacts of climate change are already being felt right across the world, and that vulnerable communities, and particularly women, children and the elderly within those communities bear the brunt of these impacts. WG2 also points to the inadequacy of the funding for adaptation projects, and points to the potential burden of climate change on the global economy in the future.

What does it mean for policy?

Realistically, just like the report from Working Group I, this report probably means little in terms of changes to policy. As I said then

Negotiations in forums such as the UNFCCC aren’t around whether climate change is happening or if humans are responsible, they’re about who is going to do what about it, by when, and who will pay.

At the national level, some governments may be spurred on to speed up the implementation of adaptation and preparedness measures given the faster than predicted rate of climate change. But for the most part, governments have already heard the warnings, and have made their decisions about whether or not to react and if so, to what extent.

—————– Read the full article on the Working Group I report here.

This still holds true; despite the stark predictions and renewed warnings, this report is unlikely to have a significant impact on policy. But, as with September’s report, the findings of Working Group II are still a call to action to governments, business and civil society to get serious about tackling the causes and impacts of climate change.

More reading and resources.

REPORT: Read the full report from the IPCC’s Working Group II on Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. [Link]

SUMMARY: The IPCC’s own Summary for Policy Makers is a useful and accessible summary of the full-length report. [Link]

INFOGRAPHICS: A series of infographics on women and children, food, health, ecosystems and extreme from the UN Foundation and Climasphere. [Link]. [Click on the image to view].

BRIEFING: IPCC AR5 Working Group 2: A Regional Breakdown. By GCCA & CAN. [Link]

ARTICLE: More global warming will be worse for the economy, says the Copenhagen Consensus Center. Guardian. [Link]

RESOURCE PAGE: What does the latest IPCC report mean for human health? By the Global Climate & Health Alliance. [Link]

ARTICLE: Climate Change is World’s ‘Gravest Security Threat’. RTCC. [Link]

PODCAST: Kevin Anderson, professor of energy and climate change at the Tyndall Centre at the University of Manchester sets the scene for the report release, giving an overview of the IPCC and what the AR5 says for Friends of the Earth. [Link]

ARTICLE: “What is the IPCC and why does it matter?” by Tierney Smith of TckTckTck. [Link]

FACTSHEETS: from the IPCC itself, covering topics including:

  • “How does the IPCC select its authors?”
  • “How does the IPCC review process work?”
  • “How does the IPCC deal with alleged errors?”


INFOGRAPHIC: “25 years of the IPCC” by Nature [Link] [Click on the image to view].