United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report published

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by Tim Willmott : Be the first to leave a comment

The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), meeting in Yokohama,  has released the second part of its latest report on climate change.

Even now, on the BBC, we had the voice of opposition, sowing confusion. It’s nothing new, the acronym FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) has been in use since the 1920’s. It still works!

If we deconstruct the BBC’s piece on the Today programme on Radio4, we have one person representing the IPCC saying one thing, and another saying the opposite. Simple? One against one? Except the one from the IPCC actually represents over 1,000 peer-reviewed papers, which probably represents many thousands of scientists, all saying the same thing, versus one economist (!?) arguing that climate change will be beneficial for agriculture (because of the increased level of CO2 benefiting plant respiration). Not quite what is seems, don’t you agree? Anyway, back to the press release:

The “Working Group 2, Fifth Assessment Report” covers the likely impacts of climate change and our capacity to adapt to future climate risks. From the last major review of almost six years ago, it provides a strengthened body of evidence on observed impacts and future risks of climate change.

The report is the work of over 310 scientific experts drawn from universities and research institutes in 73 different countries around the world.

Although the IPCC didn’t focus on individual countries, the ‘impacts, vulnerability and adaptation’ report did identify three key risks from climate change for Europe:

  1. Increased economic losses and more people affected by flooding in river basins and coasts, as urbanisation continues, sea levels rise and peak river flows increase;
  2. Increased water restrictions. Significant reduction in water availability from river abstraction and from groundwater resources combined with increased water demand (eg for irrigation, energy and industry and domestic use);
  3. Increased economic losses and people affected by extreme heat events: impacts on health and well-being, labour productivity, crop production and air quality

The UK will also be impacted by global issues such as rising food prices. High levels of adaptation can significantly reduce but not remove these risks.

In response to the report, UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Edward Davey said:

“The science has spoken. Left unchecked, climate change will have far reaching consequences for our society.

“The UK is leading from the front and working with our European partners. We’ve adopted some of the most ambitious climate change targets and are investing in low carbon and energy efficiency technologies.

“This evidence builds the case for early action in the UK and around the world to lessen the risks posed by climate change. We cannot afford to wait.”

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