169
Point of Departure
Coordinating Lead Authors:
Virginia R. Burkett (USA), Avelino G. Suarez (Cuba)
Lead Authors:
Marco Bindi (Italy), Cecilia Conde (Mexico), Rupa Mukerji (India), Michael J. Prather (USA),
Asuncion Lera St. Clair (Norway), Gary W. Yohe (USA)
Contributing Authors:
Sarah Cornell (Sweden), Katharine J. Mach (USA), Michael D. Mastrandrea (USA), Jan Minx
(Germany), Riccardo Pravettoni (Norway), Kristin Seyboth (USA), Christoph von Stechow
(Germany)
Review Editors:
Hervé Le Treut (France), Jean Palutikof (Australia)
Volunteer Chapter Scientist:
Emmanuel Nyambod (Cameroon)
This chapter should be cited as:
Burkett
, V.R., A.G. Suarez, M. Bindi, C. Conde, R. Mukerji, M.J. Prather, A.L. St. Clair, and G.W. Yohe, 2014: Point
of departure. In: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Part A: Global and Sectoral
Aspects. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel
on Climate Change [Field, C.B., V.R. Barros, D.J. Dokken, K.J. Mach, M.D. Mastrandrea, T.E. Bilir,
M. Chatterjee, K.L. Ebi, Y.O. Estrada, R.C. Genova, B. Girma, E.S. Kissel, A.N. Levy, S. MacCracken,
P.R. Mastrandrea, and L.L. White (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New
York, NY, USA, pp. 169-194.
1
1
170
Executive Summary............................................................................................................................................................ 171
1.1. The Setting ............................................................................................................................................................. 172
1.1.1. Development of the Science Basis for the Assessment ..................................................................................................................... 172
1.1.2. Evolution of the Working Group II Assessment Reports and Treatment of Uncertainty ..................................................................... 174
1.1.2.1.Framing and Outlines of Working Group II Assessment Reports ........................................................................................... 174
1.1.2.2.Treatment of Uncertainties in IPCC Assessment Reports: A Brief History and Terms Used in the Fifth Assessment Report ... 176
1.1.3. Scenarios Used as Inputs to Working Group II Assessments ............................................................................................................. 176
Box 1-1. Communication of Uncertainty in the Working Group II Fifth Assessment ........................................................ 177
1.1.3.1.Comparison of RCP and SRES Scenarios .............................................................................................................................. 178
1.1.3.2.Shared Socioeconomic Pathways ......................................................................................................................................... 178
1.1.4. Evolution of Understanding the Interaction between Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability
with Human and Sustainable Development ...................................................................................................................................... 179
1.1.4.1.Vulnerability and Multiple Stressors ..................................................................................................................................... 179
1.1.4.2.Adaptation, Mitigation, and Development ........................................................................................................................... 180
Box 1-2. Country Development Terminology ................................................................................................................... 181
1.1.4.3.Transformation and Climate-Resilient Pathways .................................................................................................................. 181
1.1.4.4.The Opportunity Space for Decision Making ........................................................................................................................ 181
1.2. Major Conclusions of the Working Group II Fourth Assessment Report ................................................................. 182
1.2.1. Observed Impacts ............................................................................................................................................................................. 183
1.2.2. Key Vulnerabilities, Risks, and Reasons for Concern .......................................................................................................................... 183
1.2.3. Interaction of Adaptation and Mitigation in a Policy Portfolio .......................................................................................................... 184
1.3. Major Conclusions of More Recent IPCC Reports ................................................................................................... 184
1.3.1. Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation ................................................................................ 186
1.3.2. Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation ........................... 187
1.3.2.1.Themes and Findings of Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters
to Advance Climate Change Adaptation ............................................................................................................................... 187
1.3.2.2.Advances in Conceptualizing Climate Change Vulnerability, Adaptation, and Risk Management
in the Context of Human Development ................................................................................................................................ 188
1.3.3. Relevant Findings from IPCC Working Group I Fifth Assessment Report ........................................................................................... 188
1.3.4. Relevant Findings from IPCC Working Group III Fifth Assessment Report ......................................................................................... 191
References ........................................................................................................................................................................ 192
Frequently Asked Questions
1.1: On what information is the new assessment based, and how has that information changed since the last report,
the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report in 2007? ................................................................................................................................... 174
1.2: How is the state of scientific understanding and uncertainty communicated in this assessment? ................................................... 176
1.3: How has our understanding of the interface between human, natural, and climate systems expanded
since the 2007 IPCC Assessment? .................................................................................................................................................... 180
Table of Contents
1
Point of Departure Chapter 1
171
Executive Summary
The evolution of the IPCC assessments of impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability indicates an increasing emphasis on human
beings, their role in managing resources and natural systems, and the societal impacts of climate change. The expanded focus on
societal impacts and responses is evident in the composition of the IPCC author teams, the literature assessed, and the content of the IPCC
assessment reports. Characteristics in the evolution of the Working Group II assessment reports are an increasing attention to (1) adaptation
l
imits and transformation in social and natural systems; (2) synergies between multiple variables and factors that affect sustainable development;
(3) risk management; and (4) institutional, social, cultural, and value-related issues. {1.1, 1.2}
The literature available for assessing climate change impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability more than doubled between 2005
and 2010, allowing for a more robust assessment that supports policymaking (high confidence).
The diversity of the topics and
regions covered by the literature has similarly expanded, as has the geographic distribution of authors contributing to the knowledge base for
climate change assessments. Authorship of literature from developing countries has increased, although still representing a small fraction of
the total. This unequal distribution of literature presents a challenge to the production of a comprehensive and balanced global assessment.
{1.1.1, Figure 1-1}
Rapidly advancing climate science provides policy-relevant information that creates opportunities for decision making that can
lead to climate-resilient development pathways (robust evidence, medium agreement). Climate change is just one of many stressors
that influence resilience. The decisions that societies make within this opportunity space, also informed by observation, experience, and other
factors, affect outcomes in human and natural systems. {1.1.1, 1.1.4, Figure 1-5}
Adaptation has emerged as a central area of climate change research, in country level planning, and in the implementation of
climate change strategies (high confidence). The body of literature, including government and private sector reports, shows an increased
focus on adaptation opportunities and the interrelations between adaptation, mitigation, and alternative sustainable pathways. The literature
shows an emergence of studies on transformative processes that take advantage of synergies between adaptation planning, development
strategies, social protection, and disaster risk reduction and management. {1.1.4}
As a core feature and innovation of IPCC assessment, major findings are presented with defined, calibrated language that
communicates the strength of scientific understanding, including uncertainties and areas of disagreement. Each finding is supported
by a traceable account of the evaluation of evidence and agreement. {1.1.2.2, Box 1-1}
Impacts assessed in this report are based on climate model projections using both the IPCC Special Report on Emission Scenarios
(SRES) and the new Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) scenarios.
The RCPs span the range of SRES scenarios for long-lived
greenhouse gases, but they have a narrower range in terms of emissions of ozone and aerosol precursors and related pollutants. The SRES
scenarios were used in the Third Assessment Report (TAR) and the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4). With AR5, the RCP scenarios present both
emissions and greenhouse gas concentration pathways, and corresponding Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs) have been developed. The
four RCPs describe different levels of mitigation leading to 21st century radiative forcing levels of about 2.6, 4.5, 6.0, and 8.5 W m
–2
), whereas
the SRES scenarios are policy-independent. {1.1.3, 1.3.3, 19.6.3.1, Boxes 21-1, 21.5.4, 24.3.3; see also WGI AR5 Chapters 1, 8, 11, 12}
1
Chapter 1 Point of Departure
172
1.1. The Setting
This chapter describes the information basis for the Fifth Assessment
Report (AR5) of IPCC Working Group II (WGII) and the rationale for its
structure. As the starting point of WGII AR5, the chapter begins with
an analysis of how the literature for the assessment has developed
through time and proceeds with an overview of how the framing and
content of the WGII reports have changed since the first IPCC report
was published in 1990. The future climate scenarios used in AR5 are
a marked change from those used in the Third (TAR, 2001) and Fourth
(AR4, 2007) Assessment Reports; this shift is described here, along
with the new AR5 guidance for communicating scientific uncertainty.
The chapter provides a summary of the most relevant key findings
from the IPCC Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and
Climate Change Mitigation (IPCC, 2011), the IPCC Special Report
on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance
Climate Change Adaptation (IPCC, 2012), and the AR5 Working
Group I (The Physical Science Basis) and AR5 Working Group III
(Mitigation of Climate Change). Collectively these recent reports, new
scenarios, and other advancements in climate change science set the
stage for an assessment of impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability that
could potentially overcome many of the limitations identified in the
IPCC WGII AR4, particularly with respect to the human dimensions
of climate change.
The critical review and synthesis of the scientific literature published
since October 2006 (effective cutoff date for AR4) has required an
expanded multidisciplinary approach that, in general, has focused
more heavily on societal impacts and responses. This includes an
assessment of impacts associated with coupled socio-ecological
systems and the rapid emergence of research on adaptation and
vulnerability.
WGII AR5 differs from the prior assessments primarily in the
expanded outline and diversity of content that stems directly from the
growth of the scientific basis for the assessment. WGII AR5 is
published in two volumes (Part A: Global and Sectoral Aspects; Part B:
Regional Aspects), permitting the presentation of more detailed
regional analyses and an expanded coverage of the human dimensions
such as adaptation. WGI AR5 was completed approximately 6 months
in advance of WGII AR5, allowing the WGII authors more time to
evaluate and include where possible the WGI findings; WGIII AR5 was
developed almost in parallel with the WGII report.
The point of departure in the title alludes to the availability of new
information concerning the interactions between climate change and
other biophysical and societal stressors. Societal stressors include
poverty and inequality, low levels of human development, and
psychological, institutional, and cultural factors. Even in the presence
of these multiple stressors, policy relevant information from scientific
research, direct experience, and observation provides an opportunity
space to choose and design climate-resilient development pathways
(see Sections 1.1.4, 13.1.1, 14.2, 14.3; Figure 1-5).
1.1.1. Development of the Science Basis for the Assessment
The volume of literature available for assessing Climate Change Impacts,
Adaptation, and Vulnerability (CCIAV) has grown significantly over the
past 2 decades (Figure 1-1). A bibliometric analysis of reports produced
w
ith two bibliographic search tools (Scopus
1
a
nd ISI Web of Science
2
)
indicates that fewer than 1000 articles in journals, books, and conference
proceedings were published in English on the topic of “climate change”
between 1970 and 1990. By the end of 2012 the total number of such
articles was reported as 102,573 (Scopus) and 62,155 (Web of Science).
The current doubling rate ofclimate change” publications remains
short, less than 5 years: Scopus database lists 32,943 articles published
between 1970 and 2005, and 76,130 published between 1970 and 2010.
The number of publications per year on the topic of climate change
impacts between 2005 and 2010 and on the topic of climate change
adaptation between 2008 and 2010 has roughly doubled (Figure 1-1c).
Thus, the total number of publications more than doubled from 2005
to 2010.
Since 1990 the geographic distribution of authors contributing to the
climate change literature has expanded from Europe and North America
to include a large fraction from Asia and Australasia. Literature from
scientists affiliated with institutions in Africa and Central and South
America, however, comprised approximately 5% of the total during
2001–2010 (Figure 1-1a). The proportion of literature focusing on
individual countries within IPCC regions has also broadened over the
past 3 decades, particularly for Asia (Figure 1-1b).
3
This brief chronicle
neither differentiates across the various “subcategories” of the climate
literature nor claims to be comprehensive in terms of literature produced
in languages other than English.
Recent growth in the total volume of literature about climate change,
and in particular that devoted to impacts and adaptation, has influenced
the depth and scope of assessment reports produced by WGII, and it
has enabled substantial advances in the assessment of the full range
of impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability (Figure 1-1c). The unequal
distribution of literature (Figure 1-1a,b,d) presents a challenge to the
development of a comprehensive and balanced assessment of the
global impacts of climate change. The geographical and topical
distribution of literature is influenced by factors such as the availability
of funding for scientific research, level of capacity building, regional
experience with climate-related disasters, and the availability of long-
term observational records.
Literature published on the topic of “climate change during 1970–1990
focused primarily on changes in the physical climate system and how
these changes affected other aspects of the Earth’s physical environment.
1
Scopus is a bibliographic database owned by Elsevier that contains abstracts and citations for peer-reviewed literature in the scientific, medical, and social sciences (including
arts and humanities). Scopus has more than 50 million bibliographic records (about 29 million from 1995 forward and about 21 million from 1823 to 1996), as of September
2013.
2
Web of Science, owned by Thompson Reuters, is a bibliographic database of journals and conference proceedings for the sciences, social sciences, arts, and humanities. Web of
Science includes records from over 12,000 journals and 148,000 conference proceedings dating from 1985 to present, as of September 2013.
3
Russia, Greenland, and Iceland are included with Europe; Mexico is included with North America.
1
Point of Departure Chapter 1
173
B. Climate change literature by IPCC regionB. Climate change literature by IPCC region
Total : 76,173 Total : 6459 Total : 5324 Total : 30,302 Total : 13,394Total : 103,171
5
8
9
329
1228
6
1987
315
42
3255
446
3
4
10,544
1595
44
2982
5
36
3
3
8101
9
40
1981–1990
1991–2000
2001–2010
and
or
or
"climate change"
"impact"
"adaptation"
"cost"
0
2000
4000
6000
8000
10,000
12,000
1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010
290
63,985
1
1,898
7
1
9
0,844
1
2,256
4
815
5
09
9
2
7,472
2
821
7
1
1,944
1
443
2
5915
5
42
EUROPE ASIA AUSTRALASIAAFRICANORTH AMERICA SOUTH AMERICA
(a) Author affiliation
(c) Climate change literature in English, total and for selected topics
(1970–2010)
(d) Number of publications in five languages that include selected key
words during the three time periods
N
umber of climate change
publications (a) by country
affiliation of authors and
(b) by region
y-value of each line indicates
the total # of publications
found using the following key
words:
Publication period
(b) Climate change literature by region
0
Search words
(translated)
Language 1981–1990 1991–2000 2001–2010
"Climate change"
English 990 12,686 61,485
Chinese 1454 6353 22,008
French 1 108 815
Russian 67 210 1443
Spanish 3 82 1381
"Climate change”
and "impacts"
English 232 3001 16,218
Chinese 133 515 1780
French 0 1 95
Russian 0 72 403
Spanish 0 7 103
"Climate change"
and "adaptation"
English 14 373 3661
Chinese 6 58 321
French 0 7 110
Russian 0 7 44
Spanish 0 5 103
"Climate change"
and "cost"
English 24 699 4099
Chinese 1 22 162
French 0 7 36
Russian 0 1 24
Spanish 0 2 11
Figure 1-1 | Number of climate-change publications listed in the Scopus bibliographic database and results of literature searches conducted in four other languages. (a) Number of
publications in English (as of July, 2011) summed by country affiliation of all authors of climate change publications and binned into IPCC regions. Each publication can be counted multiple
times (i.e., the number of different countries in the author affiliation list). (b) Number of climate change publications in English with individual countries mentioned in title, abstract, or key
words (as of July, 2011) binned into IPCC regions for the decades 1981–1990, 1991–2000, and 2001–2010. Each publication can be counted multiple times if more than one country is
listed. (c) Annual global number of publications in English on climate change and related topics: impacts, adaptation, and costs for the years 1970–2010, as of September 2013. (d) Number
of publications in five languages that include the words "climate change" and "climate change" plus "adaptation," "impact," and "cost" (translated) in the title, abstract, or key words
during the three decades ending in 2010. The following individuals conducted these literature searches during January, 2012–March, 2013: Valentin Przyluski (French), Huang Huanping
(Chinese), Peter Zavialov and Vasily Kokorev (Russian), and Saúl Armendáriz Sánchez (Spanish).
1
Chapter 1 Point of Departure
174
The proportion of climate-change literature in engineering journals
has not changed appreciably over the past 4 decades, but there was a
significant increase in the proportion of literature published in biological
and agricultural science journals. The proportion of the literature on the
topic of “climate change” published in social science journals increased
from 6% (1970s–1980s) to 9% (1990s–2000s). The themes covered by
the literature on vulnerability to climate change have also expanded to
issues of ethics, equity, and sustainable development. From the Scopus
database, publications on the topic of climate change “impacts” crossed
the threshold of 100 per year in 1991. Publications on climate change
“adaptation” and societal “cost” reached this level in 2003.
Although authors continue to publish primarily in English, climate-change
literature in other languages has also expanded. Literature searches in
Chinese, French, Russian, and Spanish revealed a roughly fourfold or
greater increase in literature published on the topic of “climate change”
in each language during the past 2 decades (Figure 1-1d). Scientists
from many countries tend to publish their work in English, as indicated
by comparing the regional analysis and country affiliation of authors
in Figure 1-1b with the results of the literature searches in the five
languages. This process of “scientific internationalism,” by which
English becomes the primary language of scientific communication, has
been described as a growing trend among Russian (Kirchik et al., 2012),
Spanish (Alcaide et al., 2012), and French (Gingras and Mosbah-Natanson,
2010) researchers.
1.1.2. Evolution of the Working Group II Assessment
Reports and Treatment of Uncertainty
1.1.2.1. Framing and Outlines of Working Group II
Assessment Reports
The framing and contents of the IPCC WGII reports have evolved since
the First Assessment Report (FAR; IPCC, 1990) as summarized in Figure
1-2. Four characteristics of this evolution are an increasing attention to
(1) adaptation limits and transformation in societal and natural
systems; (2) synergies between multiple variables and factors that affect
sustainable development; (3) risk management; and (4) institutional, social,
cultural, and value-related issues. WGII now focuses on understanding
the interactions between the natural climate system, ecosystems,
human beings, and societies, this being on top of the long-standing
emphasis on the biogeophysical impacts of climate change on sectors
and regions.
The WGII FAR (296 pages) was organized into six major sectors:
agriculture and forestry; terrestrial ecosystems; water resources; human
settlements; oceans and coastal zones; and snow, ice, and permafrost.
The report focused on the anticipated climate changes for a doubling
of carbon dioxide (CO
2
). The FAR Summary for Policymakers (SPM)
highlighted the coupling of anthropogenic non-climate stresses with
climate variability and greenhouse gas (GHG) driven climate change.
Given the state of the science in 1990, the FAR has understandably low
confidence on some high-vulnerability topics (e.g., global agricultural
potential may either increase or decrease), but is more quantitative on
large-scale climate impacts (e.g., climatic zones shift poleward by
hundreds of kilometers). Health impacts were vague, emphasizing
ozone depletion and ultraviolet-B (UV-B) damage. The IPCC WGII 1992
Supplementary Report followed with four assigned topics (regional
climate change; energy; agriculture and forestry; sea level rise) and was
primarily a strategy report, for example, urging that studies of change
in tropical cyclones are of highest priority (IPCC, 1992).
For the IPCC SAR (IPCC, 1996) WGII reviewed climate change impacts,
vulnerability, and adaptation plus mitigation options for GHGs. There
were two introductory primers, 18 chapters on impacts and adaptation
(e.g., forests, rangelands, deserts, human settlements, agriculture,
fisheries, financial services, human health), and seven chapters on
sectoral mitigation (e.g., energy, industry, forests) but with cost analysis
left to WGIII. The SAR made use of the new IPCC 1992 scenarios (IS92).
Projections of 2100 sea level rise (15 to 95 cm) and temperature
increase (1.0°C to 3.5°C) were similar to the FAR’s doubled-CO
2
scenario.
Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ 1.1 | On what information is the new assessment based, and how has that information
changed since the last report, the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report in 2007?
Thousands of scientists from around the world contribute voluntarily to the work of the IPCC, which was established
by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in
1988 to provide the world with a clear scientific assessment of the current scientific literature about climate change
and its potential human and environmental impacts. Those scientists critically assess the latest scientific, technical,
and socioeconomic information about climate change from many sources. Priority is given to peer-reviewed scientific,
technical, and social-economic literature, but other sources such as reports from government and industry can be
crucial for IPCC assessments.
The body of scientific information about climate change from a wide range of fields has grown substantially since
2007, so the new assessment reflects the large amount that has been learned in the past 6 years. To give a sense of
how that body of knowledge has grown, between 2005 and 2010 the total number of publications just on climate
change impacts, the focus of Working Group II, more than doubled. There has also been a tremendous growth in
the proportion of that literature devoted to particular countries or regions.
1
Point of Departure Chapter 1
175
Scenarios and
predicted/observed
impacts
Sectoral analyses
Region-specific
analyses
Chapters mainly
focused on
adaptation
Mitigation
Climate Change:
The IPCC Impacts
Assessment (FAR)
Different aspects of
the WGII
assessments
Climate Change 1992:
The Supplementary
Report to the IPCC
Impacts Assessment
1. Scenarios used in the report
2. Agriculture and forestry
3. Natural terrestrial ecosystems
4. Hydrology and water resources
5. Human settlement; the energy,
transport, and industrial sectors; human
health; air quality and changes in UV-B
radiation
6. World oceans and coastal zones
7. Seasonal snow cover, ice, and
permafrost
Summary for Policymakers
Technical Summary
A. Prediction of the regional distribution of
climate change and associated impact
studies, including model validation
studies
B. Energy- and industry-related issues
C. Agriculture- and forestry-related issues
D. Vulnerability to sea level rise
Appendices
Climate Change 1995:
Impacts, Adaptations and Mitigation of Climate Change: Scientific-Technical Analyses (SAR)
Climate Change 2001:
Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability
(TAR)
Climate Change 2007:
Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability (AR4)
Climate Change 2014:
Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability (AR5)
Summary for Policymakers
Technical Summary
Summary for Policymakers
Technical Summary
1. Overview of impacts,
adaptation, and
vulnerability to climate
change
2. Methods and tools
3. Developing and applying
scenarios
4. Hydrology and water
resources
5. Ecosystems and their
goods and services
6. Coastal zones and marine
ecosystems
7. Human settlements,
energy, and industry
8. Insurance and other
financial services
9. Human health
PART A — GLOBAL AND SECTORAL ASPECTS
Context for the AR5
1. Point of departure
2. Foundations for decisionmaking
Natural and Managed Resources and Systems and
Their Uses
3. Freshwater resources
4. Terrestrial and inland water systems
5. Coastal systems and low-lying areas
6. Ocean systems
7. Food security and food production systems
Human Settlements, Industry, and Infrastructure
8. Urban areas
9. Rural areas
10. Key economic sectors and services
Human Health, Well-Being, and Security
11. Human health: impacts, adaptation, and co-benefits
12. Human security
13. Livelihoods and poverty
Adaptation
14. Adaptation needs and options
1. Assessment of observed changes and
responses in natural and managed
systems
2. New assessment methods and the
characterisation of future conditions
3. Freshwater resources and their
management
4. Ecosystems, their properties, goods,
and services
5. Food, fiber, and forest products
6. Coastal systems and low-lying areas
7. Industry, settlement, and society
8. Human health
Summary for Policymakers
Technical Summary
PART I — INTRODUCTORY MATERIALS
A. Ecophysiological, ecological, and soil processes in terrestrial ecosystems:
a primer on general concepts and relationships
B. Energy primer
PART II — ASSESSMENT OF IMPACTS AND ADAPTATION OPTIONS
1. Climate change impacts on forests
2. Rangelands in a changing climate: impacts, adaptations, and mitigation
3. Deserts in a changing climate: impacts
4. Land degradation and desertification
5. Impacts of climate change on mountain regions
6. Non-tidal wetlands
7. The cryosphere: changes and their impacts
8. Oceans
9. Coastal zones and small islands
10. Hydrology and freshwater ecology
11. Industry, energy, and transportation: impacts and adaptation
12. Human settlements in a changing climate: impacts and adaptation
13. Agriculture in a changing climate: impacts and adaptation
14. Water resources management
15. Wood production under changing climate and land use
16. Fisheries
17. Financial services
18. Human population health
PART III — ASSESSMENT OF MITIGATION OPTIONS
19. Energy supply mitigation options
20. Industry
21. Mitigation options in the transportation sector
22. Mitigation options for human settlements
23. Agricultural options for mitigation of greenhouse
gas emissions
24. Management of forests for mitigation of
greenhouse gas emissions
25. Mitigation: cross-sectoral and other issues
PART IV — TECHNICAL APPENDICES
26. Technical guidelines for assessing climate change
impacts and adaptations
27. Methods for assessment of mitigation options
28. Inventory of technologies, methods, and practices
Appendices
9. Africa
10. Asia
11. Australia and New Zealand
12. Europe
13. Latin America
14. North America
15. Polar Regions (Arctic and Antarctic)
16. Small Islands
17. Assessment of adaptation practices,
options, constraints, and capacity
18. Inter-relationships between
adaptation and mitigation
19. Assessing key vulnerabilities and the
risk from climate change
20. Perspectives on climate change and
sustainability
Appendices
10. Africa
11. Asia
12. Australia and New
Zealand
13. Europe
14. Latin America
15. North America
16. Polar regions (Arctic and
Antarctic)
17. Small Island states
18. Adaptation to climate
change in the context of
sustainable development
and equity
19. Vulnerability to climate
change and reasons for
concern: a synthesis
Annexes
15. Adaptation planning and implementation
16. Adaptation opportunities, constraints, and limits
17. Economics of adaptation
Multi-Sector Impacts, Risks, Vulnerabilities, and
Opportunities
18. Detection and attribution of observed impacts
19. Emergent risks and key vulnerabilities
20. Climate-resilient pathways: adaptation,
mitigation, and sustainable development
PART B — REGIONAL ASPECTS
21. Regional context
22. Africa
23. Europe
24. Asia
25. Australasia
26. North America
27. Central and South America
28. Polar Regions
29. Small Islands
30. The Ocean
Appendices
Executive Summary Policymakers' Summary
1990 1992 1996 2001 2007 2014
Figure 1-2 | Tables of Contents for the Working Group II contributions to the IPCC Assessments since 1990. The First Assessment Report (FAR; IPCC, 1990) of IPCC Working Group II (WGII) focused on the impacts of climate change. For the
Second Assessment Report (SAR; IPCC, 1996) the WGII contribution included mitigation and adaptation with the impacts assessment. With the Third Assessment Report (TAR; IPCC, 2001) and Fourth Assessment Report (AR4; IPCC, 2007)
climate change mitigation reverted to WGIII, and WGII remained focused on impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability with an expanded effort on the regional scale.
1
Chapter 1 Point of Departure
176
The SAR notes “Impacts are difficult to quantify, and existing studies
are limited in scope; detection [of climate-induced changes] will be
difficult, but some specifics are given (e.g., the number of people at
risk of flooding from storm surges from sea level rise; the increase in
malaria incidence). Vegetation models are used to map out projected
changes in major biomes (see WGII SAR SPM Figure 2) the first
prediction figure in a WGII SPM.
WGII TAR (IPCC, 2001b) retained impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability,
l
eaving the topic of mitigation to WGIII. It included five sectoral chapters
(water resources, ecosystems, coastal and marine, human settlements
and energy, and financial services), eight regional chapters, plus
chapters on (1) adaptation, sustainable development, and equity, and
(2) vulnerability and reasons for concern. The TAR made the first strong
conclusion on attributing impacts: “recent regional climate changes,
particularly temperature increases, have already affected many physical
and biological systems. Recent increases in floods and droughts, while
affecting some human systems, could not be tied to GHG-driven climate
change. The TAR introduced the “burning embers diagram (SPM
Figure 2, discussed in Chapters 18 and 19 of this report) as a way to
represent “reasons for concern.” The adaptive capacity, vulnerability,
and key concerns for each region were laid out in detail (SPM, Table 2).
WGII AR4 (IPCC, 2007b,c) retained the basic structure of the TAR with
chapters on sectors and regions. The first chapter of AR4, drawing from
the expanded literature, provided an Assessment of Observed Changes
in Natural and Human Systems. AR4 incorporated several cross-chapter
themes with case studies (such as impacts on deltas) as a unifying
construct. Two graphics in the AR4 SPM (SPM Figure 1-2 and Table 1-1)
give many examples of projected impacts of climate change, but the
state of the science—both of WGI climate projections and WGII
impacts—remained too uncertain at the time to give more quantitative
estimates of the impacts or necessary adaptation.
This WGII fifth assessment continues and expands the sectoral and
regional parts. The AR5 considers a wide and complex range of multiple
stresses that influence the sustainability of human and ecological
systems. The focus on climate change and related stressors, and the
resulting vulnerability and risk, continues throughout this report,
including the expanded “reasons for concern” (Chapters 2 and 19; see
also Section 1.2.3).
1.1.2.2. Treatment of Uncertainties in IPCC Assessment Reports:
A
Brief History and Terms Used in the Fifth Assessment
Report
A
n integral feature of IPCC reports is communication of the strength of
and uncertainties in scientific understanding underlying assessment
findings. Treatment of uncertainties and corresponding use of calibrated
uncertainty language in IPCC reports have evolved across IPCC assessment
cycles (Swart et al., 2009; Mastrandrea and Mach, 2011). In WGII, the
use of calibrated language began in the SAR (1996), in which most
chapters used qualitative levels of confidence in Executive Summary
findings. With the TAR (2001), formal guidance across the Working
Groups was developed (Moss and Schneider, 2000) recognizing that
“guidelines such as these will never truly be completed, and an iterative
process of learning and improvement of guidance has ensued, informed
by experience in each assessment cycle (IPCC, 2005; Mastrandrea et al.,
2010). Each subsequent guidance paper has presented related but
distinct approaches for evaluating and communicating the degree of
certainty in findings of the assessment process.
The AR5 Guidance Note (summarized in Box 1-1) continues to emphasize
an overriding theme of clearly linking each key finding and corresponding
assignment of calibrated uncertainty language to associated chapter
text, as part of the traceable account of the author team’s evaluation
of evidence and agreement supporting that finding.
1.1.3. Scenarios Used as Inputs
to Working Group II Assessments
A scenario is a storyline or image that describes a potential future,
developed to inform decision making under uncertainty (Parson et al.,
2007). Scenarios have been part of IPCC future climate projections since
Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ 1.2 | How is the state of scientific understanding and uncertainty communicated
in this assessment?
While the body of scientific knowledge about climate change and its impacts has grown tremendously, future
conditions cannot be predicted with absolute certainty. Future climate change impacts will depend on past
and future socioeconomic development, which influences emissions of heat-trapping gases, the exposure and
vulnerability of society and ecosystems, and societal capacity to respond.
Ultimately, anticipating, preparing for, and responding to climate change is a process of risk management informed
by scientific understanding and the values of stakeholders and society. The Working Group II assessment provides
information to decision makers about the full range of possible consequences and associated probabilities, as well
as the implications of potential responses. To clearly communicate well-established knowledge, uncertainties, and
areas of disagreement, the scientists developing this assessment report use specific terms, methods, and guidance
to characterize their degree of certainty in assessment conclusions.
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Box 1-1 | Communication of Uncertainty in the Working Group II Fifth Assessment
Based on the ‘Guidance Note for Lead Authors of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report on Consistent Treatment of Uncertainties’
(Mastrandrea et al., 2010), the WGII AR5 relies on two metrics for communicating the degree of certainty in key findings:
Confidence in the validity of a finding, based on the type, amount, quality, and consistency of evidence (e.g., mechanistic
understanding, theory, data, models, expert judgment) and the degree of agreement. Confidence is expressed qualitatively.
Quantified measures of uncertainty in a finding expressed probabilistically (based on statistical analysis of observations, model
results, or expert judgment).
Each finding has its foundation in an author team’s evaluation of associated evidence and agreement. The type and amount of
evidence available vary for different topics, and that evidence can vary in quality. The consistency of different lines of evidence can
also vary. Beyond consistency of evidence, the degree of agreement indicates the consensus within the scientific community on a
topic and the degree to which established, competing, or speculative scientific explanations exist.
The Guidance Note provides summary terms to describe the available evidence: limited, medium, or robust; and the degree of
agreement: low, medium, or high. These terms are presented with some key findings. In many cases, author teams in addition evaluate
their confidence about the validity of a finding, providing a synthesis of the evaluation of evidence and agreement. Levels of confidence
include five qualifiers: very low, low, medium, high, and very high. Figure 1-3 illustrates the relationship between the summary terms
for evidence and agreement and the confidence metric. There is flexibility in this relationship; increasing confidence is associated
with increasing evidence and agreement, but different levels of confidence can be assigned for a given evidence and agreement
statement. The degree of certainty in findings based on qualitative evidence is expressed using levels of confidence and summary
terms.
In some cases, available evidence incorporates quantitative analyses, based on which uncertainties can be expressed probabilistically.
In such cases, a finding can include calibrated likelihood language or a more precise presentation of probability. The likelihood terms
and their corresponding probability ranges are presented below. Use of likelihood is not an alternative to use of confidence: an
author team will have a level of confidence about the validity of a probabilistic finding. Unless otherwise indicated, findings assigned
a likelihood term are associated with high or very high confidence. When authors evaluate the likelihood of some well-defined outcome
having occurred or occurring in the future, the terms and
associated meanings are:
Term* Likelihood of the outcome
Virtually certain 99–100% probability
Very likely 90–100% probability
Likely 66–100% probability
About as likely as not 33–66% probability
Unlikely 0–33% probability
Very unlikely 0–10% probability
Exceptionally unlikely 0–1% probability
* Additional terms used more occasionally are extremely likely:
95–100% probability, more likely than not: >50–100% probability,
and extremely unlikely: 0–5% probability.
High agreement
Limited evidence
High agreement
Medium evidence
High agreement
Robust evidence
Medium agreement
Robust evidence
Medium agreement
Medium evidence
Medium agreement
Limited evidence
Low agreement
Limited evidence
Low agreement
Medium evidence
Low agreement
Robust evidence
Evidence (type, amount, quality, consistency)
Agreement
Confidence
Scale
Figure 1-3 | Evidence and agreement statements and their relationship to confidence.
The coloring increasing toward the top-right corner indicates increasing confidence.
Generally, evidence is most robust when there are multiple, consistent independent
lines of high-quality evidence.
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the FAR (IPCC, 1990), where WGIII generated four scenarios (Bau =
business-as-usual, B, C, and D) used by WGI to project climate change.
The IPCC Supplementary Report (IPCC, 1992), a joint effort of WGI and
WGIII, defined six new scenarios (IS92a–f) used in the SAR (1996). For
the TAR (2001), the IPCC Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES;
Nakicenkovic et al., 2000) created many scenarios from four Integrated
Assessment Models (IAMs), out of which a representative range of
marker scenarios were selected (A1B, A1T, A1FI, A2, B1, B2). In the SRES,
scenarios had had socioeconomic storylines but climate-mitigation
o
ptions were not included. The SRES scenarios carried over into the AR4
(2007a,b) and formed the basis for the large number of ensemble climate
simulations (Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 3 (CMIP3)),
which are still in use for climate-change studies relevant to WGII AR5.
4
With AR5, the development of scenarios fundamentally changed from
the IPCC-led SRES process. An ad hoc group of experts, anticipating AR5,
built a new structure for scenarios called Representative Concentration
Pathways (RCPs) (Moss et al., 2010; van Vuuren et al., 2011) using
updated IAMs and intended to provide a flexible, interactive, and
iterative approach to climate change scenarios. The four RCPs are keyed
to a range of trajectories of GHG concentrations and climate forcing.
They are labeled by their approximate radiative forcing (RF, W m
2
) that
is reached during or near the end of the 21st century (RCP2.6, RCP4.5,
RCP6.0, RCP8.5). The quantitative link between the socioeconomic
pathway, human activities, and GHG emissions, and subsequently RF, is
weaker or nonexistent with current RCP than with SRES scenarios. For
example, the RCPs rely on a single parametric model (Meinshausen et
al., 2011) to map from emissions to RF, whereas IPCC WGI traditionally
assesses this critical linkage using the current state of scientific knowledge
(see AR5 WGI Chapters 6, 11, 12, Annex II). In addition, socioeconomic
scenarios, emissions, and subsequent radiative forcing pathways were
not linked one-to-one in the initial RCPs; however, efforts to derive
socioeconomic pathways consistent with each RCP are discussed in
Chapter 20.
1.1.3.1. Comparison of RCP and SRES Scenarios
Whereas WGI AR5 is based primarily on results from the RCP CMIP5,
the WGII AR5 also uses results from the SRES CMIP3, and thus identifies
similar or parallel scenarios from each set. The radiative forcing from
the SRES and RCP scenarios is compared in Figure 1-4a. For the latter
half of the 21st century, SRES A1FI lies above all RCP and other SRES;
SRES A2 has a similar trajectory to RCP8.5 with both reaching about
8 W m
–2
by 2100; and SRES B1 approximately matches RCP4.5 with
both leveling off at about 4 W m
–2
. RCP6.0 starts similarly to both
RCP4.5 and SRES B1, but after 2060 it increases to about 5 W m
–2
.
RCP2.6, a strong mitigation scenario with net CO
2
removal by 2100,
falls well outside the SRES range B1 to A2, peaking at about 2.6 W m
–2
in 2040 and dropping thereafter (WGI AR5 Figure 1-15, Tables AII.6.1
to AII.6.10).
Total RF does not adequately describe the differences in climate change
between SRES and RCP scenarios. All RCPs adopted stringent air
pollution mitigation policies and thus have much lower tropospheric
ozone and aerosol abundances than the SRES scenarios, which ignored
the role of air quality regulations (WGI AR5 Tables AII.2.16 to AII.2.22).
In terms of ozone and particulate matter precursor emissions, there is
almost no overlap between SRES and RCP scenarios (WGI AR5 Tables
AII.2.16 to AII.2.22). In terms of surface ozone at the continental scale,
after 2060 the RCPs are similar to low-end SRES B1 (WGI AR5 Tables
A
II.7.1 and AII.7.2).
Global mean surface temperature change for these scenarios is shown
in Figure 1-4b, based on WGI AR5 (Chapters 11, 12; Tables AII.7.5 and
AII.7.6) and WGI AR4 (Figure 10.26). For purposes here, that is, of
understanding differences in impact studies using different scenarios,
only model CMIP5 ensemble means are shown for the RCPs. If the
standard deviation of the models were plotted, all RCPs would touch
or overlap through the century (WGI AR5 Table AII.7.5), but even this
range underestimates the uncertainties in temperature change for those
scenarios (see WGI AR5 Chapter 12). The AR5 RCP data are taken
directly from the CMIP5 runs, whereas the AR4 data are based on a
simple model, parameterized to match the different CMIP3 models (see
Figure 1-4 caption). In terms of temperature change, RCP8.5 is close to
SRES A2, but below SRES A1FI. RCP4.5 follows SRES B2 up to 2060, but
then drops to track SRES B1. RCP6.0 has lower temperature change to
start, following SRES B1, but then increases toward SRES B2 by 2100.
In general, scenarios SRES A1B, A1T, and B2 lie in the large gap between
RCP8.5 and RCP4.5/6.0. The RCP2.6 temperature change stabilizes at
about 1°C above the reference period (1986–2005). The other RCPS and
all SRES scenarios span the range 1.8°C to 4.1°C for the 2090s. The
CMIP5 reference period is about 0.6°C above earliest observing period
1850–1900 (WGI AR5 Chapter 2).
1.1.3.2. Shared Socioeconomic Pathways
Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs) are being generated (Arnell et
al., 2011; Kriegler et al., 2012) to form more complete scenarios that
link each RCPs climate path to a range of human development pathways.
The SSPs include three elements: (1) storylines, which are descriptions
of the state of the world; (2) IAM quantitative variables (such as
population, gross domestic product (GDP), technology availability); and
(3) other variables, not included in the IAMs, such as ecosystem
productivity and sensitivity or governance index. With these elements
a goal of the SSP effort is to characterize a global socioeconomic future
for the 21st century as a reference for climate change analysis (O’Neill
et al., 2012). Combined SSP–RCP scenarios are needed to support
synthesis across all IPCC Working Groups and, particularly for WGII,
to facilitate the use of new climate modeling results with impacts,
adaptation, and vulnerability (IAV) research. Five basic SSPs have been
proposed, representing a wide range of possible development pathways,
4
The Coupled Model Intercomparison Project is an activity of the World Climate Research Programme’s Working Group on Coupled Modelling. Climate model output from
simulations of the past, present, and future climate archived mainly in 2005–2006 constituted Phase 3 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP3). Similar climate
simulations by an expanded set of models with a close off date of March 2013 are being used in AR5 and constitute Phase 5 of the project (CMIP5). CMIP3 used the SRES
scenarios, and CMIP5 used the Reference Concentration Pathway (RCP) scenarios.
1
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179
primarily at global or large regional scales. For each RCP it is expected
that one or more SSP could lead to that climate path. Several chapters
of this report refer to the SSPs in their discussion of analyses of future
impacts and vulnerability. Chapter 20 (Section 20.6.1) describes SSPs
in more detail, and Chapter 21 (Section 21.2.2) notes how the time lags
in producing SSPs has limited the use of CMIP5–RCP scenarios in AR5.
1.1.4. Evolution of Understanding the Interaction
between Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation,
and Vulnerability with Human and Sustainable
D
evelopment
The continuing increase in GHG emissions has highlighted the commitment
t
o climate change and its varied impacts and has contributed to an
increasing emphasis on vulnerability, adaptation, and sustainability. The
possible range of socioeconomic trajectories in countries with low,
medium, high, and very high human development is among the largest
sources of uncertainty in scenario building and climate projections. A
deeper understanding of development patterns, adaptation limits, and
maladaptation, as well as options for more climate resilient pathways,
has helped identify a larger range of potential climate change impacts
and the risks they pose to society.
The first three WGII reports focused primarily on characterizing the
biophysical impacts of climate change, with a progressively more
elaborated understanding of economic and social impacts. The literature
of the last decade indicates a more integrated understanding of the
physical and social impacts of climate change. The extent and structure
of WGII AR5 shows such advancements. The AR4 Synthesis Report
asserted that “climate change impacts depend on the characteristics of
natural and human systems, their development pathways and their
specific locations” (IPCC, 2007d, p. 64). WGII AR4 Chapter 20 offered a
catalog of multiple stresses jointly impacting people and communities
and also highlighted questions of justice and equity in shaping
development pathways in the context of climate change.
1.1.4.1. Vulnerability and Multiple Stressors
Climate-related risks interact with other biophysical and social stressors.
Vulnerability is defined in the WGII TAR Glossary in terms of susceptibility
and as a “function of the character, magnitude, and rate of climate
variation to which a system is exposed, its sensitivity, and its adaptive
capacity. Since then, the understanding of vulnerability has acquired
increased complexity as a multidimensional concept, with more attention
to the relation with structural conditions of poverty and inequality. WGII
AR5 defines vulnerability simply as the propensity or predisposition to
be adversely affected, and many chapters identify such vulnerabilities
through societal risks, particularly in low-income economies. Recent
studies suggest that climate impacts could slow down or reverse past
development achievements; hinder global efforts on poverty reduction;
and lead to human and environmental insecurity, displacement and
conflict, maladaptation, and negative synergies (Jerneck and Olsson,
2008; Boyd and Juhola, 2009; Barnett and O’Neill, 2010; Ogallo, 2010;
see also Sections 3.5.1, 8.2.4, 12.2.1, 12.4.1, 12.5.1, 13.2.1, 14.7).
The concept of resilience emerged from ecological sciences and has
been increasingly used by social sciences. In climate change literature
it describes the ability of a system to respond to disturbances, self-
organize, learn, and adapt (Turner, 2010; Brown, 2013; WGII AR5
Glossary). Vulnerability, adaptation, and resilience are determined by
multiple stressors, a combination of biophysical and social factors that
jointly determine the propensity and predisposition to be adversely
affected. For example, adaptive capacity in many urban centers in less
2000
A
1B
A1T
A1FI
A2
B1
B2
R
CP8.5
RCP6.0
RCP4.5
RCP2.6
2020 2040 2060 2080 2100
2000s
4
10
8
6
4
2
0
3
2
1
0
2020s
2040s 2060s 2080s 2100s
Mean surface temperature change (°C)
0°C = 1986–2005
Radiative forcing relative to pre-industrial (W m
–2
)
S
RES (TAR) RCP (AR5)
(a)
(b)
A1B
A1T
A1FI
A2
B1
B2
RCP8.5
RCP6.0
RCP4.5
RCP2.6
SRES CMIP3 RCP CMIP5
AR4 AR5
Figure 1-4 | (a) Projected radiative forcing (RF, W m
–2
) and (b) global mean surface
temperature change (°C) over the 21st century using the Special Report on Emissions
Scenarios (SRES) and Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) scenarios. RF for
the RCPs are taken from their published CO
2
-equivalent (Meinshausen et al., 2011),
and RF for SRES are from the Third Assessment Report Appendix II (Table II.3.11). For
RF derived from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) models,
see WGI (Section 12.3; Tables AII.6.9, 6.10). The ensemble total effective RF at 2100
for CMIP5 concentration-driven projections are 2.2, 3.8, 4.8, and 7.6 W m
–2
for
RCP2.6, RCP4.5, RCP6.0, and RCP8.5, respectively. The SRES RF are shifted upward by
0.12 W m
–2
to match the RCPs at year 2000 because the climate change over the 21st
century is driven primarily by the changes in RF and the offset is due primarily to
improvements in model physics including the aerosol RF. For more details and
comparison with pre-SRES scenarios, see WGI AR5 Chapter 1 (Figure 1-15).
Temperature changes are decadal averages (e.g., 2020s = 2016–2025) based on the
model ensemble mean CMIP5 data for the RCPs (colored lines). The same analysis is
applied to CMIP3 SRES A1B (yellow circles). See WGI AR5 Chapters 11, 12; Table
AII.7.5. The colored squares show the temperature change for all six SRES scenarios
based on a simple climate model tuned to the CMIP3 models (WGI AR4 Figure 10.26).
The difference between the yellow circles and yellow squares reflects differences
between the simple model and analysis of the CMIP3 model ensemble in parallel with
the CMIP5 data. For an assessment of uncertainties and likely ranges of temperature
change, see WGI AR5 Figures 11.24, 11.25, 12.4, 12.5, 12.40.
1
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180
developed countries is constrained by poverty, unemployment, quality
of housing, or lack of access to potable water, sanitation, health care,
and education interacting with land degradation, water stress, or
biodiversity loss (Sections 8.2.4, 11.6.2, 22.4.4). Adaptation options and
limits for high-end warming scenarios are often contextualized in
relation to socioeconomic vulnerabilities and other stressors (Gupta et
al., 2010; New et al., 2010; Stafford Smith et al., 2011; Brown, 2012;
World Bank, 2012; see also Section 16.4.2.4).
1.1.4.2. Adaptation, Mitigation, and Development
Impacts of climate change will vary across regions and populations,
through space and time, dependent on myriad factors including non-
climate stressors and the extent of mitigation and adaptation. Changes
in both climate and development are key drivers of the core components
of risk (exposure, vulnerability, and physical hazards). The relations with
development are complex and contested. There is disagreement about
fundamental issues, such as the compatibility of development goals and
climate change mitigation, the prioritization of responses (reducing
consumption versus investment in sustainable technologies), and the
stage of development at which countries should take action (see Box
1-2 for terms used to characterize stages of development) (Schipper,
2007; Grist, 2008; Brooks et al., 2009). The literature points to how
inequalities, trade imbalances, intellectual property rights, gender injustice,
or agricultural systems, inter alia, cannot be addressed with development
focusing solely on increasing economic growth (Pogge, 2008; McMichael,
2009; Alston, 2011; UNDP, 2007, 2011; scher et al., 2012; OECD, 2013).
The recent literature shows increasing attention to questions of ethics,
justice, and responsibilities relating to climate change (Timmons and
Parks, 2007; O’Brien et al., 2010; Pelling, 2010; Arnold, 2011; Gardiner,
2011; Caney, 2012; Marino and Ribot, 2012). As basic resources such
as energy, land, food, or water become threatened, inequalities and
unfairness may deepen, leading to maladaptation and new forms of
vulnerability. Responses to climate change may have consequences and
outcomes that favor certain populations or regions. For example, there
are increasing cases of land-grabbing and large acquisitions of land or
water rights for industrial agriculture, mitigation projects, or biofuels that
have negative consequences on local and marginalized communities
(Borras et al., 2011; see also Section 14.7). Ethical perspectives are also
important in relation to adaptation constraints and limits (see Section
16.7) and mitigation (see Section 1.3.4 and WGIII AR5).
Climate change impacts have become a central issue in the work of
developmental organizations such as the United Nations specialized
agencies, bilateral donor institutions, and non-governmental organizations
(NGOs) that link adaptation concerns with ongoing development efforts.
The increase in adaptation literature and experience, however, has led to
the development of adaptation policies in many parts of the world, as
reflected in four chapters here devoted to adaptation (14 to 17) and all of
the regional chapters of this report. At the policy level, individual country
National Adaptation Programmes of Action and National Communication
reports to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate
Change (UNFCCC) had in the past focused primarily on physical climate
change drivers and impacts. An analysis of National Communications
documents submitted through 2004 by many of the Annex 1 countries,
for example, showed that climate change impacts and adaptation receive
very limited attention relative to the discussion of GHG emissions and
mitigation policies (Gagnon-Lebrun and Agrawala, 2006). However,
concern and actual progress toward adaptation is evident in Latin America
(Gutierrez and Espinosa, 2010) and in recent National Communications
of some non-Annex 1 countries, such as India (2012) and Iran (2010),
which devoted a substantive part of their recent reports to the topic of
adaptation.
Some researchers and institutions have sought to identify a continuum
between development, adaptation strategies, and financing, including
increasing attention to co-benefits with mitigation (USAID, 2008; Heltberg
et al., 2009; Mearns and Norton, 2010; World Bank, 2010; Richardson
et al., 2011; OECD, 2013). “Greener” development and market-based
mechanisms are being explored as instruments to achieve synergies
Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ 1.3 | How has our understanding of the interface between human, natural, and
climate systems expanded since the 2007 IPCC Assessment?
Advances in scientific methods that integrate physical climate science with knowledge about impacts on human
and natural systems have allowed the new assessment to offer a more comprehensive and finer-scaled view of the
impacts of climate change, vulnerabilities to those impacts, and adaptation options, at a regional scale. That’s
important because many of the impacts of climate change on people, societies, infrastructure, industry, and ecosystems
are the result of interactions between humans, nature, and specifically climate and weather, at the regional scale.
In addition, this new assessment from Working Group II greatly expands the use of the large body of evidence from
the social sciences about human behavior and the human dimensions of climate change. It also reflects improved
integration of what is known about physical climate science, which is the focus of Working Group I of the IPCC,
and what is known about options for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, the focus of Working Group III. Together
this coordination and expanded knowledge inform a more advanced and finer-scaled, regionally detailed assessment
of interactions between human and natural systems, allowing more detailed consideration of sectors of interest to
Working Group II such as water resources, ecosystems, food, forests, coastal systems, industry, and human health.
1
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181
between mitigation and adaptation efforts, development financing, and
planning, and links to energy needs are some of the instruments explored.
Large concerns remain, however, about the preconditions needed for
market mechanisms to work as intended, the problems of carbon leakage,
and the potential negative effects of some mitigation strategies (Liverman,
2010; see also Section 13.1.3 and WGIII AR5 Chapter 15).
1.1.4.3. Transformation and Climate-Resilient Pathways
Transformation—a change in the fundamental attributes of a system
including altered goals or values—has emerged as a key concept in
describing the dimensions, types, and rates of societal response to
climate change. In the context of adaptation, we can distinguish
between incremental and transformative adaptation, the latter referring
to changes in the fundamental attributes of a system in response to
climate change and its effects (WGII AR5 Glossary; Park et al., 2012).
The Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and
Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX) recognized
transformation in technological, financial, regulatory, legislative, and
administrative systems (IPCC, 2012; see Sections 1.3.1, 20.5). Recent
literature points to changes in values, norms, belief systems, culture,
and conceptions of progress and well-being as either facilitating or
preventing transformation (Pelling, 2010; Stafford Smith et al., 2011;
Kates et al., 2012; O’Brien, 2013). Transformation of this nature requires
a particular understanding of risks, adaptive management, learning,
innovation, and leadership, and may lead to climate resilient development
pathways (see Section 1.2.3 and Chapter 20). Transformational change
is not called for in all circumstances (Pelling, 2010) and in some cases
may lead to negative consequences for some locations or social groups,
contributing to social inequities (O’Brien, 2013). Climate resilient
pathways include actions, strategies, and choices that reduce climate
change impacts while assuring that risk management and adaptation
can be implemented and sustained.
1.1.4.4. The Opportunity Space for Decision Making
Recognizing the need for policy-relevant science, much scientific activity
tends to be coordinated through international programs that focus on,
for example, biodiversity, desertification, food security, impacts on social
practices and institutions, and monitoring sea level rise. The trend in
Box 1-2 | Country Development Terminology
There are diverse approaches for categorizing countries on the basis of their level of development and for defining terms such as
industrialized, developed, or developing. Table 1-1 presents selected categorizations used in this report. In the United Nations system,
t
here is no established convention
for the designation of developed
and developing countries or areas
(UN DESA, 2012). The United
Nations Statistics Division specifies
developed and developing regions
based on “common practice.” In
addition, specific countries are
designated as least developed
countries, landlocked developing
countries, small island developing
states, and transition economies.
Many countries appear in more than
one of these categories. The World
Bank uses income as the main
criterion for classifying countries
(World Bank, 2013). The UNDP
aggregates indicators for life
expectancy, educational attainment,
and income into a single composite
Human Development Index (HDI)
(UNDP, 2013).
1
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182
research is to create synergies across the sciences by including social and
human sciences perspectives and transdisciplinarity. The production of
information with non-scientific sources such as indigenous knowledge
or stakeholder views is also enriching climate change research. This trend
has led to the merging of relevant global programs of the international
councils for science and for social science (ICSU and ISSC) under the
umbrella “Future Earth (see also ISSC and UNESCO, 2013). This
expanded scientific f