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IPCC: Fifth Assessment Report « Previous | |Next »
March 31, 2014

UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Impacts volume of the Fifth Assessment Report ----- Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerabilities----- is the second of three reports to make up the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report. The first, The Physical Science basis, was released in September 2013. The final part, Mitigation of Climate Change, will be released next month, with the compiled report due in late 2014.

Nearly 500 people have signed off on the wording of the report, including 66 expert authors, 271 officials from 115 countries, and 57 observers. There has been no reverse in the trend of global warming, the warming of our oceans has accelerated, and at lower depths and the emissions from fossil fuels has increased. That means more floods, more droughts and more intense heatwaves.

The Report states that the observed impacts of climate change are "widespread (from the equator to the poles) and consequential (it's already affecting food supply). It is leading to increasing risks for coastal infrastructure and low-lying ecosystems in Australia, threatening “widespread damage towards the upper end of projected sea-level-rise ranges.

In the Conversation professors Colin Butler and Helen Louise Berry, and Emeritus professor Anthony McMichael say that up to now what has been missing from the public debates:

is the threat climate change poses to Earth’s life-support system – from declines in regional food yields, freshwater shortage, damage to settlements from extreme weather events and loss of habitable, especially coastal, land. The list goes on: changes in infectious disease patterns and the mental health consequences of trauma, loss, displacement and resource conflict.

No doubt the denialists and sceptics will try and argue that it would be cheaper to adapt to climate change and pay the costs of climate damages, rather than reduce (or mitigate) human greenhouse gas emissions and switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

Since 1950, Australia has warmed by between 0.4C and 0.7C, the sea level rising by around 70mm and a “greater frequency and intensity of droughts and heatwaves”. Australia is facing increasing risks for “coastal infrastructure and low-lying ecosystems” and is set to experience a “significant reduction in agricultural production in the Murray-Darling Basin and far south-eastern and south-western Australia if scenarios of severe drying are realised.

However, increased sea level and increased severity of flooding and storm surges aren’t that big a problem if your cities are located in areas that are elevated above land vulnerable to inundation and wave erosion, and where barriers are erected to counter such events. Likewise bushfires aren’t much of a problem if your house is built in areas away from forests or is highly resistant to catching fire.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 11:12 AM | | Comments (14)


"There has been no reverse in the trend of global warming, the warming of our oceans has accelerated, and at lower depths and the emissions from fossil fuels has increased."

What will happen to the idea of “the pause” - which is a favourite new meme of the climate change deniers.

So we’ve left it too late to reduce emissions enough to avoid all of the impacts of climate change.

The second report ---Cimate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerabilities----makes clear that in addition to a change in the global average temperature, other climate change impacts observed to date have hit all regions of the world and affected everything from access to food and water to extreme weather.

All of the impacts are expected to worsen in the coming decades if society fails to adapt to the changes that are already in play because of warming “locked in” to the climate system by past greenhouse gas emissions and if it fails to enact any meaningful measures to curtail future emissions,

Will state governments continue to allow development on coastal landscape and low laying areas with increasing sea level rises and storm surges?

the fossil fuel industry and those of its allies in the business and political world have downplayed the risk of the effects of climate change.

They demonise any efforts ( eg., carbon price, energy efficiency and the renewable energy target) to address climate change as costly and destructive to the economy, households and society.

the coastal zones are a hotspot for climate impacts.

The IPCC tells us that the earth will probably get 4C warmer. That means everything will be compromised, from food and energy to settlements. Australia is not ready. It is assumed that Australia can slowly adapt over time to what is happening so that we can live with a warmer world.

The IPCC's message is pretty straight forward: adaptation to climate change meaningless unless we dramatically reduce emissions.

So far, the progress of global warming and climate change has been relatively smooth, a gradual decline in livability marked by a gradual increase in increasingly catastrophic events. Yes, catastrophic events — but a gradual increase in their number and degree.

The world is on a carbon trajectory for 4 degrees of warming above pre-industrial levels.

No doubt the conservatives will argue that the IPCC cannot be trusted, partly because its accounts are unreliable and exaggerated and partly because it uses "model-driven assumptions" to forecast future trends.

Then they would assert that trying to stop manmade climate change is just too expensive. Then they would proposes making some cosmetic adjustments--Direct Action-- and carrying on as before

yep its business-as-usual. Coal is good for business.

"the world is on a carbon trajectory for 4 degrees of warming above pre-industrial levels."

The rainfall effects would be devastating in some regions. The report notes in Chapter 19 (particularly section 19.5) that annual runoff is projected to fall by up to 75 per cent across the Danube, Mississippi, Amazon and Murray-Darling river basins.

How do you adapt to that?