Skip to main content

Support in Preparation of the IPCC 5th Assessment Report

Final Report Summary - IPCCAR5 (Support in Preparation of the IPCC 5th Assessment Report)

Executive Summary:
The IPCC is an Intergovernmental process, which was jointly established by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Its role is to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation. The IPCC has completed four comprehensive assessment reports, several special and methodology reports since its inception in 1988. Thousands of scientists from all over the world contribute to the preparation of the IPCC reports on a voluntary basis.

At the 28th Session of the IPCC (Budapest, April 2008), a decision was taken to carry out a Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) to be finalized in 2014. It would comprise three Working Group Reports dealing respectively with the “Physical Science basis”, “Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability” and “Mitigation of Climate Change” and a Synthesis Report, and each volume would include a Summary for Policymakers.

The main activities during the period 2011-2014 included drafting, reviewing and approval of the AR5. The AR5 provides an updated assessment of scientific, technical and socio-economic information on the scientific basis of climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation. It addresses, amongst others, some specific cross-cutting issues such as scientific and technical aspects of Article 2 of the UNFCCC, regional aspects costing and economic analysis, consistent valuation of uncertainties and risks. While being comprehensive, the AR5 focuses on new information since the Fourth Assessment Report (2007).

Compared to the previous Assessment Reports, the AR5 puts greater emphasis on assessing the socio-economic aspects of climate change and its implications for sustainable development in addition to providing a very strong regional focus on the impacts, adaptation and mitigation of climate change. Some new features are:

• A new set of scenarios for analysis across Working Group contributions;
• Dedicated chapters on sea level rise, carbon cycle and climate phenomena such as monsoon and El Niño;
• Greater regional detail on climate change impacts, adaptation and mitigation interactions – a separate chapter dedicated to each region, inter-and intra-regional impacts and a multi-sector synthesis. Working Group II report is in two parts: one on global and sectoral aspects and the other on regional aspects;
• Risk management and the framing of a response (both adaptation and mitigation), including scientific information relevant to Article 2 of the UNFCCC referring to the “… stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”.

The Working Group I AR5 report was approved and accepted in September 2013 by the 36th Session of the IPCC Plenary (Stockholm). The Working Group II and Working Group III AR5 Reports were approved and accepted in March 2014 (IPCC-38, Yokohama) and April 2014 (IPCC-39, Berlin), respectively. The Synthesis Report was approved and accepted in Copenhagen by the 40th Session of the IPCC Plenary in October 2014.



Project Context and Objectives:
The overall objective of the activity of the EC grant is to (a) contribute to the production of more accurate scientific information in the IPCC AR5 to support global climate policies by ensuring proper involvement of experts from developing countries and economies-in-transition, whose government are unable to provide appropriate funding, consistent with IPCC practices, in the preparation of the AR5 by supporting their participation in Working Group meetings, Task Group meetings, expert meetings, seminars, conferences and (b) to support the dissemination of IPCC Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX).

Specifically, the objectives of the work undertaken since the beginning of the project are to (a) support increased participation of experts from developing countries and EU countries with economies-in-transition, whose governments are unable to provide appropriate funding, in IPCC meetings relating to the preparation of the IPCC Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX); (b) supported increased visibility in Europe of the SREX preparation process by organizing and/or supporting meetings to be held in Europe, as necessary; (c) enhance the dissemination f the main conclusions of the SREX among policymakers from the EU institutions and agencies; and (d) support increased participation of experts from developing countries and EU countries with economies-in-transition, whose governments are unable to provide appropriate funding, in IPCC meetings relating to the preparation of the AR5.

The objective of the project during the period under review is to support increased participation of experts from developing countries and EU countries with economies-in-transition, whose governments are unable to provide appropriate funding, to attend IPCC meetings relating to the preparation of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5).

The activity undertaken during this reporting period is described below:

Work Package 3

Activity 1 – 40th Session of the IPCC Plenary (acceptance and approval of the Synthesis Report AR5, Copenhagen, Denmark: 27-31 October 2014

The Synthesis Report (SYR) synthesises and integrates material contained within the Working Group I, Working Group II and Working Group III contributions to the AR5. It is written in a “non-technical style suitable for policymakers and addresses a broad range of policy-relevant, but policy-neutral questions” . The SYR is largely self-contained but guides readers to the underlying material if the reader wishes to look further. The primary audience of the SYR are policymakers, in particular from government, advisors to policymakers and experts. It is recognized that others will also make use of the report. The SYR will consist of two parts, namely: (a) Summary for Policymakers (SPM) and (b) the main report.

The Synthesis Report is presented for approval section by section. The SPM and main SYR report were accepted by the IPCC Plenary.

http://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/syr/

The EU contribution has served to fully cover the travel cost of 24 representatives from developing countries and EU countries with economies-in-transition to the meeting mentioned above. The breakdown is as follows:

Geographical Distribution
Africa 11
Asia & Pacific 4
Caribbean 1
Economies-in-transition 2
Latin America 3
Middle East & North Africa 3



There are no deviations from the plan to report.


Project Results:
The results of the SYR are summarised (in bold italics below) in the headline statements from the SYR Summary for Policymakers (SPM) and address the following main areas:

Observed Changes and their Causes

Human influence on the climate system is clear, and recent anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are the highest in history. Recent climate changes have had widespread impacts on human and natural systems.

Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia. The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished and sea level has risen.

Anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions have increased since the pre-industrial era, driven largely by economic and population growth, and are now higher than ever. This has led to atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide that are unprecedented in at least 800,000 years. Their effects, together with those of other anthropogenic drivers, have been detected throughout the climate system and are extremely likely to have been the dominant cause of the observed arming since the mid-20th century.

In recent decades, changes in climate have caused impacts on natural and human systems on all continents and across the oceans. Impacts are due to observed climate change, irrespective of its cause, indicating the sensitivity of natural and human systems to changing climate.

Changes in many extreme weather and climate events have been observed since about 1950. Some of these changes have been linked to human influences, including a decrease in cold temperature extremes, an increase in warm temperature extremes, an increase in extreme high sea levels and an increase in the number of heavy precipitation events in a number of regions.

Future Climate Change, Risks and Impacts

Continued emission of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system, increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems. Limiting climate change would require substantial and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions which, together with adaptation, can limit climate change risks.

Cumulative emissions of carbon dioxide largely determine global mean surface warming by the late 21st century and beyond. Projections of greenhouse gas emissions vary over a wide range, depending on both socio-economic development and climate policy.

Surface temperature is projected to rise over the 21st century under all assessed emission scenarios. It is very likely that heat waves will occur more often and last longer, and that extreme precipitation events will become more intense and frequent in many regions. The ocean will continue to warm and acidify, and global mean sea level to rise.

Climate change will amplify existing risks and create new risks for natural and human systems. Risks are unevenly distributed and are generally greater for disadvantaged people and communities in countries at all levels of development.

Many aspects of climate change and associated impacts will continue for centuries, even if anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are stopped. The risks of abrupt and irreversible changes increase as the magnitude of the warming increases.

Further Pathways for Adaptation, Mitigation and Sustainable Development

Adaptation and mitigation are complementary strategies for reducing and managing the risks of climate change. Substantial emissions reductions over the next few decades can reduce climate risks in the 21st century and beyond, increase prospects for effective adaptation, reduce the costs and challenges of mitigation in the longer term, and contribute to climate-resilient pathways for sustainable development.

Effective decision making to limit climate change and its effects can be informed by a wide range of analytical approaches for evaluating expected risks and benefits, recognizing the importance of governance, ethical dimensions, equity, value judgments, economic assessments and diverse perceptions and responses to risk and uncertainty.

Without additional mitigation efforts beyond those in place today, and even with adaptation, warming by the end of the 21st century will lead to high to very high risk of severe, widespread, and irreversible impacts globally (high confidence). Mitigation involves some level of co-benefits and of risks due to adverse side-effects, but these risks do not involve the same possibility of severe, widespread and irreversible impacts as risks from climate change, increasing the benefits from near-term mitigation efforts.

Adaptation can reduce the risks of climate change impacts, but there are limits to its effectiveness, especially with greater magnitude and rates of climate change. Taking a longer-term perspective, in the context of sustainable development, increases the likelihood that more immediate adaptation actions will also enhance future options and preparedness.

There are multiple mitigation pathways that are likely to limit warming to below 2°C relative to pre-industrial levels. These pathways would require substantial emissions reductions over the next few decades and near zero emissions of carbon dioxide and other long-lived greenhouse gases by the end of the century. Implementing such reductions poses substantial technological, economic, social, and institutional challenges, which increase with delays in additional mitigation and if key technologies are not available. Limiting warming to lower or higher levels involves similar challenges, but on different timescales.

Adaptation and Mitigation

Many adaptation and mitigation options can help address climate change, but no single option is sufficient by itself. Effective implementation depends on policies and cooperation at all scales, and can be enhanced through integrated responses that link adaptation and mitigation with other societal objectives.

Adaptation and mitigation responses are underpinned by common enabling factors. These include effective institutions and governance, innovation and investments in environmentally sound technologies and infrastructure, sustainable livelihoods, and behavioural and lifestyle choices.

Adaptation options exist in all sectors, but their context for implementation and potential to reduce climate-related risks differs across sectors and regions. Some adaptation responses involve significant co-benefits, synergies and trade-offs. Increasing climate change will increase challenges for many adaptation options.

Effective adaptation and mitigation responses will depend on policies and measures across multiple scales; international, regional, national and sub-national. Policies across all scales supporting technology development, diffusion and transfer, as well as finance for responses to climate change, can complement and enhance the effectiveness of policies that directly promote adaptation and mitigation.

Climate change is a threat to sustainable development. Nonetheless, there are many opportunities to link mitigation, adaptation and the pursuit of other societal objectives through integrated responses (high confidence). Successful implementation relies on relevant tools, suitable governance structures and enhanced capacity to respond (medium confidence).


The following link is to the SYR video:

http://youtu.be/F-Hcu3jH8G4




Potential Impact:
The Fifth Assessment Report will provide an updated assessment of scientific, technical and socio-economic information on the scientific basis of climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation. It addresses, amongst others, some specific cross-cutting issues such as scientific and technical aspects of Article 2 of the UNFCCC, regional aspects, costing and economic analysis and consistent evaluation of uncertainties and risks. While being comprehensive, the AR5 focuses on new information since the Fourth Assessment Report (2007)..


List of Websites:
www.ipcc.ch

http://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/syr/