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« The Alarmists return - Josh 268 | Main | Dating error »

Working Group II

The Working Group II report is out today and should be available here, although the site appears to be down at the moment.

YOKOHAMA, Japan, 31 March – The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a report today that says the effects of climate change are already occurring on all continents and across the oceans. The world, in many cases, is ill-prepared for risks from a changing climate. The report also concludes that there are opportunities to respond to such risks, though the risks will be difficult to manage with high levels of warming.
The report, titled Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability, from Working Group II of the IPCC, details the impacts of climate change to date, the future risks from a changing climate, and the opportunities for effective action to reduce risks. A total of 309 coordinating lead authors, lead authors, and review editors, drawn from 70 countries, were selected to produce the report. They enlisted the help of 436 contributing authors, and a total of 1,729 expert and government reviewers.
The report concludes that responding to climate change involves making choices about risks in a changing world. The nature of the risks of climate change is increasingly clear, though climate change will also continue to produce surprises. The report identifies vulnerable people, industries, and ecosystems around the world. It finds that risk from a changing climate comes from vulnerability (lack of preparedness) and exposure (people or assets in harm’s way) overlapping with hazards (triggering climate events or trends). Each of these three components can be a target for smart actions to decrease risk.
“We live in an era of man-made climate change,” said Vicente Barros, Co-Chair of Working Group II. “In many cases, we are not prepared for the climate-related risks that we already face. Investments in better preparation can pay dividends both for the present and for the future.”
Adaptation to reduce the risks from a changing climate is now starting to occur, but with a stronger focus on reacting to past events than on preparing for a changing future, according to Chris Field, Co-Chair of Working Group II.
“Climate-change adaptation is not an exotic agenda that has never been tried. Governments, firms, and communities around the world are building experience with adaptation,” Field said. “This experience forms a starting point for bolder, more ambitious adaptations that will be important as climate and society continue to change.”

Future risks from a changing climate depend strongly on the amount of future climate change. Increasing magnitudes of warming increase the likelihood of severe and pervasive impacts that may be surprising or irreversible.
“With high levels of warming that result from continued growth in greenhouse gas emissions, risks will be challenging to manage, and even serious, sustained investments in adaptation will face limits,” said Field.
Observed impacts of climate change have already affected agriculture, human health, ecosystems on land and in the oceans, water supplies, and some people’s livelihoods. The striking feature of observed impacts is that they are occurring from the tropics to the poles, from small islands to large continents, and from the wealthiest countries to the poorest.
“The report concludes that people, societies, and ecosystems are vulnerable around the world, but with different vulnerability in different places. Climate change often interacts with other stresses to increase risk,” Field said.
Adaptation can play a key role in decreasing these risks, Barros noted. “Part of the reason adaptation is so important is that the world faces a host of risks from climate change already baked into the climate system, due to past emissions and existing infrastructure,” said Barros.
Field added: “Understanding that climate change is a challenge in managing risk opens a wide range of opportunities for integrating adaptation with economic and social development and with initiatives to limit future warming. We definitely face challenges, but understanding those challenges and tackling them creatively can make climate-change adaptation an important way to help build a more vibrant world in the near-term and beyond.”
Rajendra Pachauri, Chair of the IPCC, said: “The Working Group II report is another important step forward in our understanding of how to reduce and manage the risks of climate change. Along with the reports from Working Group I and Working Group III, it provides a conceptual map of not only the essential features of the climate challenge but the options for solutions.”
The Working Group I report was released in September 2013, and the Working Group III report will be released in April 2014. The IPCC Fifth Assessment Report cycle concludes with the publication of its Synthesis Report in October 2014.
“None of this would be possible without the dedication of the Co-Chairs of Working Group II and the hundreds of scientists and experts who volunteered their time to produce this report, as well as the more than 1,700 expert reviewers worldwide who contributed their invaluable oversight,” Pachauri said. “The IPCC’s reports are some of the most ambitious scientific undertakings in human history, and I am humbled by and grateful for the contributions of everyone who make them possible."

Working Group II is not really my stamping ground, so I don't have a huge amount to say at this stage. I will watch with interest to see how much airtime the UK's pre-eminent environmental economist (and IPCC coordinating lead author) Richard Tol gets today.


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Reader Comments (104)

Richard Tol's dissent was mentioned in the 7am and 8am news on BBC Radio 4, with a brief interview with him.

The text quoted above is from the press release.

Mar 31, 2014 at 8:55 AM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

And Pault notes Tol was interviewed, and then Chris Field (seems familiar ?) was allowed as many free goes as he wanted.

Mar 31, 2014 at 8:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterMorph

In a new report from non-climate expert Rhoda Klapp, each degree of global warming is the rough equivalent to moving a hundred miles towards the equator. For most of us this will provide a slightly positive effect but it will be hardly detectable. Those already near the equator will see no change. There will be no weather effects outside of recent local experience. There may be a little melting of onland ice but this will not produce any immediate effect.

Executive summary for policymakers? No big deal, nothing to do.

Mar 31, 2014 at 9:02 AM | Unregistered Commenterrhoda

How can anyone now fail to be convinced by the terrible news: (H/T Paul Homewood)

"...climate change would increase boating and golf at the expense of skiing".

Mar 31, 2014 at 9:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

Just watching Sky News. Made me sick.
It's not just the Polar Bears that are in trouble. It's humankind too, some fool said.
The reailroadman was on too.

Mar 31, 2014 at 9:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterNiels

According to the Mail, extra alarmism was introduced by UK representatives at the last moment. My link in 'Unthreaded'.

Mar 31, 2014 at 9:07 AM | Unregistered Commenterssat

It's groundhog 'Armageddon day' on a loop.

You can say one for thing for them, if it's a consistent picture of climate catastrophe that you want - then call the IPCC.

Or, put it the other way - what else did you expect?

Mar 31, 2014 at 9:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

The less warming there is, the more hysterical the alarm will become, and the more extreme the demands for the suppression of dissenting views.

Its called Cognitive Dissonance.

Mar 31, 2014 at 9:13 AM | Unregistered Commentermichel

Perhaps the next call from the IPCC "will be: we cannot persuade you to reduce GHG emissions, so send us the money so we can research on how to adapt."

Mar 31, 2014 at 9:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Stroud

lack of preparedness = we are still waiting for your money
people or assets in harm’s way = we are still waiting for your money and more
triggering climate events or trends = more money please

The money is required because its all your fault in the Industrialised nations, never mind that China and Germany charges the atmosphere evermore with that minor gas. Must not upset them must we!

Pachauri should get his own ruling class to solve the severe poverty in India (and the rest of its problems). Don't do that though do they! No improvement ever expected here

Governments are mandated to look after their be informed by computer modelling that you should do that through Climate Change policy is bizarre to say the least. Time for another organisation to run the organisations that run the governments....or is that the UN again...UN2?

Mar 31, 2014 at 9:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterEs-expat Colin

On twitter, Clive Best explains that the reason the WG2 website is down is overheating caused by climate change.

Mar 31, 2014 at 9:25 AM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Multiple orgasm time for the greens in the comments section over at the BBC. One person mentioned deniers and hinted that they should be eliminated without the slightest hint of irony. This is good news in an unintended way. Where does the IPCC go from here as the consequences in this report fail to materialise?

Mar 31, 2014 at 9:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Jones

This chapter is Betts' responsibility, I think ! It's the role he plays at the UK met off so lots of we must panic, we must believe the models they are 100% correct and even if they aren't I need my job to feed my familly and you wouldn't deprive me of that now would you even if it meant that many poor people have to die every winter.

Mar 31, 2014 at 9:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

This was the main news on BBC Breakfast this morning - they had the ODI's Head of Climate Change Tom Mitchell on the programme.

It was all about adaptation, as far as I can recall - the three takeaways from the report (according to Mitchell) were:

1) improved flood prevention,
2) improved coastal defences and
3) improved early warning systems for developing countries (presumably in the case of typhoons).

I heard nothing about mitigation.

Mar 31, 2014 at 9:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

Prof. Tol was dismissed by Ed Davey as a "lone voice" whose research was "out of date" on BBC R5 Live this morning. At least he didn't call him a denier.

Mar 31, 2014 at 10:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterNick Milner

"Climate change" is like "Peak oil" - it's so 20th century. It's time to move on.

Mar 31, 2014 at 10:14 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Just watched the ABC news. Apparently Australia and the Great Barrier reef (yet again) are doomed if we don't get a crack on. This terrible news has obviously upset our cricketers.

Mar 31, 2014 at 10:22 AM | Registered CommenterGrantB

Well if it's all about adaptation then they have just stolen the clothes of skeptics and lukewarmers, who have been arguiing this for 20+ years. So again we see the 3 stages of truth; first ridiculed, second violently opposed and finally accepted as being self-evident. Is it not high time they let skeptics into the process so they can get things right first time rather than be dragged kicking and screaming towards it?

Mar 31, 2014 at 10:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

It's not all bad news.

There's the prediction of an "increase in beach tourism in East Anglia".

Presumably that’s if the previously predicted rising sea level and sinking land mass don’t inundate the beaches first ;-)

Mar 31, 2014 at 10:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

How do you adapt to something that is barely changing?

I'm sure the "adaptation" will in effect be subsidies for those owning land.

Mar 31, 2014 at 10:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterAC1

Remember the good old days when Global Warming was meant to bring us barbecue summers? I don't think much of the modern version of global warming. Why can't it produce some warm, dry weather, like Britain experienced in 1976? If the Greens could promise us that, I might even consider voting for them!

Mar 31, 2014 at 11:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

Now this report is interesting. It states: " The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a report today that says the effects of climate change are already occurring on all continents and across the oceans. " . But the IPCC has already accepted that 'Global Warming' has not happened for more than 15 years. The arguments are about what to call the lack of increase in temperature, not whether the temperatures have stopped rising - the 'Pause' has been accepted. That being the case, what is causing these 'claimed' climate change impacts? It cannot be 'Anthropogenic Global Warming' from 'green house gases' as it has been agreed that has stopped. Obviously, something else is causing these claimed climate hazards.

Mar 31, 2014 at 11:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterIan W

I spoke too soon, re a de-emphasis on mitigation - just been following the story this morning on BBC News 24:

Sir Mark Walport: "... every 10 gigatonnes we put into the atmosphere each year commits us probably to another 0.4 degrees of warming, and so we can't afford to continue on, otherwise the temperature rises will be even more severe."

Mar 31, 2014 at 12:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

I still remember every time the poor old badly maintained sea-wall at Dawlish got washed out, the meeedja would wheel out some Prof from Exeter or Plymouth unis to drone on about "this is what we have to expect from Global Warming, wetter warmer winters & hotter drier summers!" I expect more of the same from now on, nothing changes!

Mar 31, 2014 at 12:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

I'm going to take bets on us having a very cold winter for 2014/15..... for most of the Northern hemisphere.

And the serious consequences. According to Andrew Neil we have just 2% spare capacity for power generation. A Very cold winter with a blocking high and easterlies could be "interesting" shall we say.

Especially for the UK.

I'm not religious but i think the universe has a sense of fun about it.... hence all the global warming conferences being attacked by snow etc.

Mar 31, 2014 at 12:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterJustAnotherPoster

Looks like the windmills haven't heard the news:

1.1 GW or approx 11% of capacity as of 1236 BST. Come on you windmills, if we are going to sort out this mess you really must do better.

Mar 31, 2014 at 12:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Jones

Alex Cull: Sir Mark Walport: "... every 10 gigatonnes we put into the atmosphere each year commits us probably to another 0.4 degrees of warming"

So, I guess the question Walport needs to consider is just how many gigatons of CO^2 have been added to the atmosphere in the last 17 years - when no extra warming was taking place? Maybe someone on here can work out what an increase from 390 ppm (or whatever it was 17 years ago) to 400 ppm means in terms of 'weight'.

Oh, and the second question I'd love to ask him is: Does this linkage of CO^2 to Temp as you describe mean that CO^2 really is a thermostat?

Mar 31, 2014 at 12:40 PM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

It's strange how little emphasis is being give to the graph (SPM.1 Figure 1),
showing observed temperature change at the bottom end, if not entirely outside the RCP2.6,
low emission mitigation scenario range.

Mar 31, 2014 at 12:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterQV

I wonder what the chances are of Chris Field having the guts to come on here and explain just why he is right and Richard Tol is wrong. In his absence Richard Betts could substitute but we do need facts, logic, and verifiable reasoning not the typical IPCC hand-waving bluster which is all we have had so far on the subject.
And perhaps Ed Davey would like to come here and explain (since I doubt the House of Commons would be interested and nor would the DECC Select Committee with Yeo calling the shots) why he considers it acceptable for a government minister to permit — or perhaps even encourage — someone in his Department to set out deliberately to suborn an international agency which is exactly what they have done.
I find the behaviour of the DECC civil servants and their puppet Davey nauseating in the extreme and the apparent unwillingness of the rest of the current UK government machine to rein them in speaks volumes for the quality of politician and civil servant which is infesting the UK.
Truly we are scraping the dregs from the bottom of the barrels of probity, honesty, and competence.
And if anyone thinks I am being intemperate in my language, be assured I have weighed every word carefully!

Mar 31, 2014 at 12:58 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

'We're all DOOMED, Captain Mainwaring..!
DOOMED, I tell ye..!'

Yep, Steve Jones - them windymills are really going to have to do better.. Still - I expect solar will take up the slack (especially at peak load, around 4pm, in December...)

Mar 31, 2014 at 1:05 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

It's not all bad news.

There's the prediction of an "increase in beach tourism in East Anglia".

That's if you don't mind sitting on the beach staring at wind turbines

Mar 31, 2014 at 1:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

I'm going to take bets on us having a very cold winter for 2014/15..... for most of the Northern hemisphere.

I'm with you. Joe Bastardi was saying 2 years ago that this last winter in the US would be bitter and that 2014/15 is likely to be bad for the NH.

Mar 31, 2014 at 1:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

Mike Jackson - 'DECC civil servants..' - Oh, don't get me started...

'Wind is free..' Truly. Official response to an e-mail from me about the abysmal performance of wind farms. For goodness' sake don't tell them that gas, oil and coal are free, too - its just getting the various forms of energy to convert to something useful which costs the money - and wind is probably the worst...

'We have an excellent wind resource in the UK..' Yes we have, don't argue - and don't bring up the fact that it blows when it feels like it, not when electricity demands it..

I could go on - but I've just read all the headlines on the BBC website, and I need to go and lie down..

Mar 31, 2014 at 1:13 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

I'm confused. Didn't Working Group I rule out a lot of catastrophic nonsense? Doesn't this dissonance by Working Group II, without any much of any scientific foundations, strike the thinking masses as suspicious? Dulpicitous? Ridiculous?

The recurrent shrieking caterwauling must not be good PR for a cause that doesn't do any - ever.

Mar 31, 2014 at 1:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterOrson

Sir Mark Walport: "... every 10 gigatonnes we put into the atmosphere each year commits us probably to another 0.4 degrees of warming, and so we can't afford to continue on, otherwise the temperature rises will be even more severe."

Well I don't know how many gigatonnes we have put into the atmosphere in the last 13 years or so but following the equation back, as we have approx zero warming in that time we must, perforce have put approx zero co2 into the atmosphere. Since we know that's not true it would appear that Walports theory has crashed and burned during takeoff.

Mar 31, 2014 at 1:22 PM | Unregistered Commentersunderlandsteve

I just struggled through The prose makes it virtually unreadable and almost incomprehensible. In its summary of WG1AR5, I was struck by the lack of specificity, the low confidence on many key parameters and high confidence around seemingly small changes in other parameters.
The summary table is a joke and looks like it was put together by someone from Consumer Reports.

If this is the basis for the alarming headlines, then I do not see it. Am I missing something?

Mar 31, 2014 at 1:30 PM | Unregistered Commenterbernie1815

When first this was leaked, Richard Betts was at pains to dismiss the alarmism of the Indy's take on the story. Now that all the MSM in the world have echoed that alarmism, would he like to repeat that dismissal? Would that be a personal positioin or does the Met Office also want to join in by stating that the SPM overplays the limited statements of the body of the report?

Mar 31, 2014 at 1:42 PM | Unregistered Commenterrhoda

Having looked through the final published SPM (the site is back up now), it seems that this final version is slightly less alarmist than the version leaked here a few days ago. I have put some examples for comparison in the update here. I wonder if Richard Tol kicking up a fuss had some effect?

Mar 31, 2014 at 1:44 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

The message seems to be that we need to spend, spend, spend.

If you dry up the catastrophic stream of revnue, we can make do with a mitigation stream.

Somehow it still seems like a jobs program for mediocre scientists to me. But then I can't get by the refusal to share data at the start of this debacle, (occams razor and all that)

Mar 31, 2014 at 2:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterBob MacInnes

I have just watched Sky News, where someone (I think a farmer, I missed the start of the segment) was being interviewed by a Sky reporter in a field in North Yorkshire where they were discussing increased frequency of flooding. The reporter finished by saying the problem is, that with today's climate, you don't know if this summer will be dry or wet. Can someone tell me when we could predict? Do these reporters realise how stupid they make themselves look?

Mar 31, 2014 at 2:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Ashton

A picture of Pachauri in today's Gaianurd online suggests he may have invested in a new Barnet Jig.

Mar 31, 2014 at 2:33 PM | Unregistered Commenterfilbert cobb

It's the "top story" in the Public Sector Executive online - "urgent action" required on climate change it says and Ed Day [sic] says it shows the need for the UK to take a lead on tackling the crisis.

What it also says is that an example of an adaptation strategy would be the construction of sea walls and levees to protect against flooding. Doesn't that rather go against the grain? I thought our strategy was to give up that particular fight and let things flood as there wasn't the money to keep building sea defences. The NT have stopped trying to hold back the sea at Studland, for example, and we must all have plenty of examples around the country where sea defences have been allowed to be washed away and not replaced.

According to Ed Davey we "are leading from the front and working with our European partners. We've adopted some of the most ambitious climate change targets in the world. We are investing in low carbon and energy efficiency technologies, with an increased focus on home-grown renewables [eh? what are they?] to reduce our reliance on foreign imports [a tautology, surely?] and create a sustainable supply of affordable [to whom?] energy for consumers and businesses alike".

It gets worse, he's trying to push for 40% reductions in greenhouse emissions in the EU by 2030.

I suppose it was inevitable that there would be massive press coverage of the scaremongering that we have seen over the past few days from Archbishops (ex-) to doctors writing en masse in the Times on Saturday.

I still don't understand how they can show that it is man's emissions of GHGs that is causing climate change - can anyone enlighten me? Why can it not be that the climate is just changing?

If it is changing, then mitigation, by building sea wall defences, etc, has to be sensible, doesn't it? No doubt I should read the report in its entirety to understand the reasoning...................

Mar 31, 2014 at 2:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterGrumpy

I don't know what the chair of the IPCC Patchouli has got to moan about, I mean all that c02 has down a remarkable job on his hair line


That was twenty years ago and now after all those extra co2 parts per million of atmosphere have been added we get this


Of course that may not be real hair growth and could well be syrup but if that's the case then this could be the biggest cover up in the UN's history.

Mar 31, 2014 at 3:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterLawrence13

Since we know that's not true it would appear that Walports theory has crashed and burned during takeoff.

More topically, it climbed unfeasibly high then mysteriously disappeared and is now thought to be deep in the ocean.

Mar 31, 2014 at 3:18 PM | Unregistered Commenterkellydown

It is bemusing to see story after story in the global press about how wheat production is going to be seriously affected by climate change without one journalist bothering to go and look at the production charts which show that production has increased from 585 million metric tons in 1996 to 675 million metric tons in 2012 (Wikipedia) - let's not confuse the IPCC story with the facts.

Mar 31, 2014 at 3:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterHeading Out

The Beeb was giving it full throttle at 1o'clock. They wheeled out Harrabin and Shukman who predictably hedged their bets with the usual collection of 'coulds, ifs and buts'.

To cap it all they then turned the cameras on some dopy bird who trilled on about 6 degree C rise. Sound familiar?

I agree with Phil Bratby. We all have much better things to do.

Mar 31, 2014 at 3:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterYertizz

"every 10 gigatonnes we put into the atmosphere" (Walport)

Of what? There is quite a difference in mass between carbon (atomic weight 12) and CO2 (molecular weight 44), so equating them is a little careless, even for a Chief Scientist.

Mar 31, 2014 at 3:36 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

As far as I am concerned, the alarmism bandwagon exhausted its stock of credibility long before this latest report.

Mar 31, 2014 at 4:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterSC

After "... a total of 1,729 expert and government reviewers. " I had difficulty focusing on the remainder of the excerpt: was this intentional humor? Reviewed by 'experts' and our friends in 'government!'
Also, mis-use of the term 'people' stopped me; are these folk they are concerned with, or persons? How many? Do I know any of these people? How have they managed to exist 'til now?

Mar 31, 2014 at 4:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn R T

The BBC has removed the comments from this story:

It had got very, very vitriolic with some calling for sterilisation of non-believers. Have to laugh.

Mar 31, 2014 at 4:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Cowper

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