GENEVA, Oct 1 – Today the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) circulated the final draft of the Summary for Policymakers of the Working Group II contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) to governments for their review and comment. This is one of the final stages of report preparation before the plenary approval of this contribution which assesses the impacts of climate change and how humanity and ecosystems are both vulnerable and adapting to it.
The Working Group II report is the second instalment of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), which will be completed in 2022. In August, the IPCC released the approved Working Group I report which assessed the physical science, showing that climate change is widespread, rapid and intensifying.
“Working Group II tells the rich and diverse story of how the places we live, work and visit are impacted by and are vulnerable to climate change. It talks to us not only of how we are currently adapting to these changes, but what adaptation responses may exist in the future,” said Debra Roberts, Co-Chair of the Working Group II.
This phase, known as the Final Government Distribution, runs to 26 November 2021 and will allow governments to check whether the draft Summary for Policymakers reflects the underlying evidence laid out in the Working Group II report.
“Our assessment will provide global to regional understanding of the observed changes, future risks and options to reduce risks for humans as well as for the ecosystems and their services that we as humans so highly and intrinsically depend on. The Working Group I report, released in August, has set the stage for us to show how the past and future changes to our Earth’s climate system impacts life on our planet,” said Hans-Otto Pörtner, also a Co-Chair of Working Group II.
The authors of the report have already addressed more than 16,000 comments provided by expert reviewers of the report’s First Order Draft, and over 40,000 comments from expert reviewers and governments on the Second Order Draft.
The COVID-19 pandemic created new and complex challenges, constraints and delays for the authors of the report.
“Over the several past months, our authors have invested an enormous amount of their time and energy in finalizing the Sixth Assessment Report of Working Group II and presenting their findings in a way that everyone will be able to identify with and understand,” said Debra Roberts.
Working Group II and the IPCC are expected to hold plenary sessions in mid-February 2022 to consider the Summary for Policymakers for approval and the full report for acceptance as an IPCC assessment.
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Notes for editors
About the IPCC
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the UN body for assessing the science related to climate change. It was established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1988 to provide political leaders with periodic scientific assessments concerning climate change, its implications and risks, as well as to put forward adaptation and mitigation strategies. In the same year the UN General Assembly endorsed the action by the WMO and UNEP in jointly establishing the IPCC. It has 195 member states.
Thousands of people from all over the world contribute to the work of the IPCC. For the assessment reports, IPCC scientists volunteer their time to assess the thousands of scientific papers published each year to provide a comprehensive summary of what is known about the drivers of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and how adaptation and mitigation can reduce those risks.
The IPCC has three working groups: Working Group I, dealing with the physical science basis of climate change; Working Group II, dealing with impacts, adaptation and vulnerability; and Working Group III, dealing with the mitigation of climate change. It also has a Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories that develops methodologies for estimating emissions and removals of greenhouse gases.
IPCC assessments provide governments, at all levels, with scientific information that they can use to develop climate policies. IPCC assessments are a key input into the international negotiations to tackle climate change. IPCC reports are drafted and reviewed in several stages, thus guaranteeing objectivity and transparency.
About the Sixth Assessment Cycle
Comprehensive scientific assessment reports are published every 6 to 7 years; the latest, the Fifth Assessment Report, was completed in 2014 and provided the main scientific input to the Paris Agreement.
At its 41st Session in February 2015, the IPCC decided to produce a Sixth Assessment Report (AR6). At its 42nd Session in October 2015 it elected a new Bureau that would oversee the work on this report and Special Reports to be produced in the assessment cycle. At its 43rd Session in April 2016, it decided to produce three Special Reports, a Methodology Report and AR6.
The Working Group I contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report Climate Change 2021: the Physical Science Basis was released on 9 August 2021.
More information about the Working Group II report, including its agreed outline, can be found here.
The Working Group III contribution is expected to be finalized in March 2022. The concluding Synthesis Report is due in 2022.
The IPCC has published three special reports in this assessment cycle.
Global Warming of 1.5°C, an IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty was launched in October 2018.
Climate Change and Land, an IPCC special report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems was launched in August 2019.
The Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate was released in September 2019.
In May 2019 the IPCC released the 2019 Refinement to the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories, an update to the methodology used by governments to estimate their greenhouse gas emissions and removals.
For more information please visit http://www.ipcc.ch
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