IPCC 4th Report

IPCC 4th Report

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established by WMO and UNEP to assess scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant for the understanding of climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation. This site draws heavily on the reports published by the IPCC, and the science underpins pretty much every page.

There are three IPCC working groups, and each publish three separate reports that together make up the total report. The main report for each working group is generally over a hundred pages in length. The IPCC also has a summary document (about 20 pages) for each report. Below we have condensed these summaries to provide an overview of each section:

1. Working Group I - The Physical Science Basis 

2. Working Group II - Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability 

3. Working Group III - Mitigation of Climate Change 

Comments by Tim Flannery

Australian of the Year Tim Flannery has said, the UN climate predictions on the consequences of global warming tread the “middle of the road” but will still provide a useful benchmark for the world to tackle climate change.

Professor Flannery, author of the book The Weather Makers said climate change was the most serious issue confronting humanity. The IPCC 4th Report “lays out a sort of middle of the road trajectory, which is alarming enough I can tell you, for this century,” he told the ABC Radio National.

He also said that, temperatures could rise by much more than the IPCC 4th Report prediction of three degrees. “It could be worse than this – there’s a 10 per cent chance of truly catastrophic rises in temperatures, so we’re looking at six degrees or so”, and “That would be a disaster for all life on earth. Three degrees will be a disaster for all life on earth.”

“We will lose somewhere between two out of every 10 and six out of every 10 species living on the planet at that level of warming. “It will set in train a series of climate consequences that will run for a thousand years.”

Tim Flannery said the clearest example of the IPCC’s conservatism was its prediction the Arctic ice cap could disappear in summers by 2100.

“The actual trajectory we’ve seen in the Arctic over the last two years, if you follow that, that implies that the Arctic ice cap will be gone in the next five to 15 years. This is an ice cap that’s been around for the last three million years,” he said.

He went on to say that the predictions tell you a little bit about the conservatism of the IPCC 4th Report , “how rapidly the science is moving and how rapidly events in the real world are moving, far in advance I think of even the most sombre warnings by scientists working in this area.”


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