The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme in 1988 with the mandate to provide the world community with the most up-to-date and comprehensive scientific, technical and socio-economic information about climate change. The IPCC multivolume assessments have since then played a major role in motivating governments to adopt and implement policies in responding to climate change, including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol. The “Climate Change 2007” IPCC Fourth Assessment Report could not be timelier for the world’s policy makers to help them respond to the challenge of climate change.
“Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability”, is the second volume of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report. After confirming in the first volume on “The Physical Science Basis” that climate change is occurring now, mostly as a result of human activities, this volume illustrates the impacts of global warming already under way and the potential for adaptation to reduce the vulnerability to, and risks of climate change.
Drawing on over 29,000 data series, the current report provides a much broader set of evidence of observed impacts coming from the large number of field studies developed over recent years. The analysis of current and projected impacts is then carried out sector by sector in dedicated chapters. The report pays great attention to regional impacts and adaptation strategies, identifying the most vulnerable areas. A final section provides an overview of the inter-relationship between adaptation and mitigation in the context of sustainable development.
The “Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability” report was made possible by the commitment and voluntary labour of a large number of leading scientists. We would like to express our gratitude to all Coordinating Lead Authors, Lead Authors, Contributing Authors, Review Editors and Reviewers. We would also like to thank the staff of the Working Group II Technical Support Unit and the IPCC Secretariat for their dedication in organising the production of another successful IPCC report. Furthermore, we would like to express our thanks to Dr Rajendra K. Pachauri, Chairman of the IPCC, for his patient and constant guidance to the process, and to Drs Osvaldo Canziani and Martin Parry, Co-Chairs of Working Group II, for their skillful leadership.
We also wish to acknowledge and thank those governments and institutions that contributed to the IPCC Trust Fund and supported the participation of their resident scientists in the IPCC process. We would like to mention in particular the Government of the United Kingdom, which funded the Technical Support Unit; the European Commission and the Belgian Government, which hosted the plenary session for the approval of the report; and the Governments of Australia, Austria, Mexico and South Africa, which hosted the drafting sessions to prepare the report.
World Meteorological Organisation
United Nations Environment Director