The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has opened the virtual meeting to approve the Working Group II report: Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability.
The report, which focuses on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability to climate change, includes a chapter specifically on Australia and New Zealand.
The session began on 14 February and the final report is expected on 28 February.
The report, a second instalment of the Sixth Assessment Report, integrates more strongly natural, social and economic sciences, highlighting the role of social justice and diverse forms of knowledge such as indigenous and local knowledge. It also reflects the increasing importance of urgent and immediate action to address climate risks.
It brings more knowledge at local and regional levels and linkages between biodiversity and climate change.
The report prepared by IPCC’s Working Group II will build on the Working Group I contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report released in August 2021 that showed climate change is widespread, rapid and intensifying.
The Working Group II session will consider the Summary for Policymakers of the report for approval line-by-line. This is done by government representatives in dialogue with report authors.
This session concludes with the acceptance of the underlying scientific-technical assessment. Then the 55th Session of the IPCC will accept the work of the Working Group II, thus formally accepting the entire report.
This process aims to ensure that the Summary for Policymakers is accurate, well-balanced and clearly presents the scientific findings of the underlying report.
The meetings are being held remotely because of the challenges posed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It is the second time the IPCC is holding a remote approval session following the success of the first virtual approval session of the Working Group I report.
The Chair of the IPCC, Hoesung Lee, said:
“This is the final phase of a strict and meticulous review process of the report assessing impacts, adaptation and vulnerability to climate change, integrated across scientific disciplines inclusive of diverse forms of knowledge.
“Over the next two weeks, governments and scientists together will scrutinise the Summary for Policymakers line-by-line. Collectively, they will deliver a sound, tested and robust Summary. Its findings will be critically important for policymakers around the world
“I have no doubt that we will see constructive and collaborative work in the next two weeks as we work across all time zones to deliver this report.”
The approval plenary is a culmination of a rigorous process of drafting and review that happens with all IPCC reports. Experts from all over the world provided over 16,000 comments on the first-order draft of the report. Experts and governments provided more than 40,000 comments on the second draft of the full report and the first draft of the Summary for Policymakers.
The final government review of the Summary for Policymakers received about 5,700 comments. This reports references over 34,000 scientific papers.
The Working Group III contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report and the concluding Synthesis Report are scheduled to be finalised in early April and September respectively.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is the UN body for assessing the science related to climate change. It was established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1988 to provide political leaders with periodic scientific assessments concerning climate change, its implications and risks, as well as to put forward adaptation and mitigation strategies. In the same year the UN General Assembly endorsed the action by the WMO and UNEP in jointly establishing the IPCC. It has 195 member states.
Thousands of people from all over the world contribute to the work of the IPCC. For the assessment reports, experts volunteer their time as IPCC authors to assess the thousands of scientific papers published each year to provide a comprehensive summary of what is known about the drivers of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and how adaptation and mitigation can reduce those risks.
The IPCC has three working groups:
- Working Group I, dealing with the physical science basis of climate change;
- Working Group II, dealing with impacts, adaptation and vulnerability; and
- Working Group III, dealing with the mitigation of climate change.
It also has a Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories that develops methodologies for estimating emissions and removals of greenhouse gases.
IPCC assessments provide governments, at all levels, with scientific information that they can use to develop climate policies. IPCC assessments are a key input into the international negotiations to tackle climate change. IPCC reports are drafted and reviewed in several stages, thus guaranteeing objectivity and transparency.
Comprehensive scientific assessment reports are published every six to seven years. The most recent, the Fifth Assessment Report, was completed in 2014 and provided the main scientific input to the Paris Agreement.
The Working Group I contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report Climate Change 2021: the Physical Science Basis was released on 9 August 2021.
The Working Group III contribution is scheduled to be finalised in April this year.
The concluding Synthesis Report is due later in 2022.
The IPCC also publishes special reports on more specific issues between assessment reports.
For more information, please visit www.ipcc.ch. The website includes outreach materials including videos about the IPCC and video recordings from outreach events conducted as webinars or live-streamed events.