The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was jointly established
by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment
Programme (UNEP) in 1988. Its terms of reference includes: (i) to assess available
scientific and socioeconomic information on climate change and its impacts and
on the options for mitigating climate change and adapting to it, and (ii) to
provide, on request, scientific/technical/socioeconomic advice to the Conference
of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
(UNFCCC). From 1990, the IPCC has produced a series of Assessment Reports, Special
Reports, Technical Papers, methodologies, and other products that have become
standard works of reference, widely used by policymakers, scientists, and other
This volume, which forms part of the Third Assessment Report (TAR), has been
produced by Working Group II (WGII) of the IPCC and focuses on the environmental,
social, and economic consequences of climate change and potential adaptation
responses. It consists of 19 chapters covering the sensitivity, adaptive capacity,
and vulnerability of natural and human systems to climate change, and the potential
impacts and adaptation options at regional and global scales.
As is usual in the IPCC, success in producing this report has depended first
and foremost on the knowledge, enthusiasm, and cooperation of many hundreds
of experts worldwide, in many related but different disciplines. We would like
to express our gratitude to all the Coordinating Lead Authors, Lead Authors,
Contributing Authors, Review Editors, and Expert Reviewers. These individuals
have devoted enormous time and effort to produce this report and we are extremely
grateful for their commitment to the IPCC process. We would like to thank the
staff of the WGII Technical Support Unit and the IPCC Secretariat for their
dedication in coordinating the production of another successful IPCC report.
We are also grateful to the governments that have supported their scientists'
participation in the IPCC process and that have contributed to the IPCC Trust
Fund to provide for the essential participation of experts from developing countries
and countries with economies in transition. We would like to express our appreciation
to the governments of Australia, Japan, Malta, Morocco, Peru, Portugal, South
Africa, Switzerland, and the United States that hosted drafting sessions in
their countries, to the government of Switzerland that hosted the Sixth Session
of Working Group II in Geneva, and to the government of the United States that
funded the WGII Technical Support Unit.
We would particularly like to thank Dr. Robert Watson, Chairman of the IPCC,
for his sound direction and tireless and able guidance of the IPCC, and Prof.
James McCarthy and Dr. Osvaldo Canziani, the Co-Chairmen of Working Group II,
for their skillful leadership of Working Group II through the production of
World Meteorological Organization
United Nations Environment Programme
United Nations Office in Nairobi