Counting the Costs of Climate Change
March 29, 2014
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change working group 2, (IPCC WGII) is finalizing its report in Yokohama, to be released March 31. There has been a lot of noise and several purported leaks on what the document will say. Per IPCC – “The Working Group II contribution to the Fifth Assessment Report considers the vulnerability and exposure of human and natural systems, the observed impacts and future risks of climate change, and the potential for and limits to adaptation. The chapters of the report assess risks and opportunities for societies, economies, and ecosystems around the world.”
Above, useful summary by the increasingly impressive Al Jazeera. (the video also contains other reports, the IPCC stuff is front loaded..)
This will be the second of three reports on the causes, consequences of and solutions to climate change, drawing on researchers from around the world.
The first report, released last September in Stockholm, found humans were the “dominant cause” of climate change, and warned that much of the world’s fossil fuel reserves would have to stay in the ground to avoid catastrophic climate change.
This report will, for the first time, look at the effects of climate change as a series of risks – with those risks multiplying as temperatures warm.
The thinking behind the decision was to encourage governments to prepare for the full range of potential consequences under climate change.
Nearly 500 people must sign off on the exact wording of the summary, including the 66 expert authors, 271 officials from 115 countries, and 57 observers.
But governments have already signed off on the critical finding that climate change is already having an effect, and that even a small amount of warming in the future could lead to “abrupt and irreversible changes”, according to documents seen by the Guardian.
“In recent decades, changes in climate have caused impacts on natural and human systems on all continents and across the oceans,” the final report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will say.
Some parts of the world could soon be at a tipping point. For others, that tipping point has already arrived. “Both warm water coral reef and Arctic ecosystems are already experiencing irreversible regime shifts,” the approved version of the report will say.
A United Nations panel of scientists is joining the list craze with what they call eight “key risks” that are part of broader “reasons for concern” about climate change.
It’s part of a massive report on how global warming is affecting humans and the planet and how the future will be worse unless something is done about it. The report is being finalized at a meeting this weekend by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
They assembled the list to “make it understandable and to illustrate the issues that have the greatest potential to cause real harm,” the report’s chief author, Chris Field of the Carnegie Institution of Science in California, said in an interview.
But a draft of the list — called by the acronym RFCs — includes science-heavy language, caveats and uses lowercase Roman numerals, for example using iv instead of 4.
A boiled-down version of what the scientists say the warmed-up future holds for Earth if climate change continues:
1. Coastal flooding will kill people and cause destruction.
2. Some people will go hungry because of warming, drought and severe downpours.
3. Big cites will be damaged by inland flooding.
4. Water shortages will make the poor even poorer in rural areas.
5. Crazy weather, like storms, can make life miserable, damaging some of the things we take for granted, like electricity, running water and emergency services.
6. Some fish and other marine animals could be in trouble, which will probably hurt fishing communities.
7. Some land animals won’t do much better and that’s not good for people who depend on them.
8. Heat waves, especially in cities, will kill the elderly and very young.