Knowledge for better food systems

IPCC Working Group II report: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability

The long awaited Working Group II report on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability for the IPCC Fifth Assessment Round  was released on March 31st 2014. This report details the impacts of climate change to date, the future risks from a changing climate, and the opportunities for effective action to reduce risks.

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.

You can download the summary for Policy-makers here. Part A of the report (Global and Sectoral Aspects) is here, and Part B (Regional Aspects) is here.

The report has been extensively discussed, analysed and summarised elsewhere. See for example key points from the BBC here, the New Scientist here and from the Guardian here. Carbon Brief has also produced some interesting analysis of how the report has been covered and presented by the media: http://www.carbonbrief.org/

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While some of the food system challenges facing humanity are local, in an interconnected world, adopting a global perspective is essential. Many environmental issues, such as climate change, need supranational commitments and action to be addressed effectively. Due to ever increasing global trade flows, prices of commodities are connected through space; a drought in Romania may thus increase the price of wheat in Zimbabwe.

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