IPCC Fifth Assessment Report now finalised
IPCC Press Office
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released its Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). This follows the Panel’s overall mandate, whose main activity is to prepare comprehensive assessment reports about climate change science at regular intervals, typically of about five to seven years.
The AR5 is made up of three Working Group (I, II and III) contributions and a Synthesis Report:
- Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis, the contribution from Working Group I was finalised in September 2013 in Stockholm, Sweden.
- Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, the contribution from Working Group II was finalised in March 2014 in Yokohama, Japan.
- Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change, the Working Group II contribution was finalised in April 2014 in Berlin, Germany.
- Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report, as its name implies, distills, synthesises and integrates the findings of the Working Group contributions into a concise document. It was finalised in November 2014 in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Important links to the Fifth Assessment Report
Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science
Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability
The AR5 is the most comprehensive assessment of climate change ever undertaken. Over 830 scientists from over 80 countries were selected to form the author teams producing the report. They in turn drew on the work of over 1,000 contributing authors and over 1,000 expert reviewers. AR5 assessed over 30,000 scientific papers. The authors, contributing authors and expert reviewers all worked as volunteers.
New features in the Fifth Assessment Report
Compared to previous IPCC reports some new features in the report include:
- A new set of scenarios for analysis across Working Group contributions;
- Dedicated chapters on sea-level change, the carbon cycle and climate phenomena such as monsoons and El Niño; and broader treatment of impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability in human systems and the ocean;
- Much greater regional detail on climate change impacts, adaptation and mitigation interactions; inter- and intra-regional impacts; and a multi-sector synthesis;
- 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 “…stabilisation of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”.
Previous Assessment Reports
So far the IPCC has released five Assessment Reports. The first one, in 1990, played a decisive role in leading to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which was opened for signature at the Rio de Janeiro Summit in 1992. The Second Assessment Report of 1995 provided key input for the negotiations of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. The Third Assessment Report of 2001 provided further information relevant to the development of the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol. The Fourth, Climate change 2007, paid greater attention to the integration of climate change with sustainable development policies and the relationships between mitigation and adaptation, and led to a wider awareness of climate change issues in the general public and among decision-makers.
What is the IPCC?
The IPCC is the world body for assessing the science related to climate change. It was set up in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly, to provide policymakers with regular assessments of the scientific basis of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for adaptation and mitigation.
The IPCC does not do its own research, conduct climate measurements or produce its own climate models; it assesses the thousands of scientific papers published each year to tell policymakers what we know and don’t know about the risks related to climate change. It identifies where there is agreement in the scientific community, where there are differences of opinion, and where further research is needed.
Thus the IPCC offers policymakers a snapshot of what the scientific community understands about climate change rather than promoting a particular view or line. IPCC reports are policy-relevant without being policy-prescriptive.The IPCC may set out options for policymakers to choose from in pursuit of goals decided by policymakers, but it does not tell governments what to do.
For more information on the IPCC visit www.ipcc.ch