One of the main water sources outside Moyale in Kenya runs dry. Photograph: Sarah Elliott/EPA
Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has launched the full version of its contribution to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. This definitive assessment is the result of years of intensive work by leading experts in the field. It provides the most comprehensive look to date at the widespread impacts and risks of climate change and the opportunities for response. The full version of the Working Group II report includes a Summary for Policymakers, a Technical Summary, 30 assessment chapters, cross-chapter boxes, frequently asked questions, and high-resolution graphics.
The report characterizes what is known and what is not known about impacts of climate changes that have already occurred and risks of future impacts. It integrates information about the full range of possible climate outcomes, as well as the role of vulnerability in humans and ecosystems.
“The report characterizes climate change as a challenge in managing and reducing risks, identifying options for low-cost, high-efficacy solutions that simultaneously address climate change adaptation and sustainable development,” said Rajendra K. Pachauri, Chairman of the IPCC.
Twenty chapters provide global-scale assessments of impacts, risks, and adaptation options for economic sectors, human activities, and natural ecosystems. In a second volume, 10 of the chapters take a regional perspective, considering unique features of the geography and culture of major world regions.
The launch provides a complete and transparent view of the volume’s development. The vast scientific undertaking and meticulous process of developing the report are now accessible. Content released today includes early draft chapter versions, many thousands of searchable reviewer comments on drafts, and author team responses to reviewer comments. It also includes a searchable database of non-journal literature cited in the report. The summaries, chapters, and cross-chapter material were released in draft form on 31 March, 2014. The high-resolution graphics, early drafts, comments, and responses to comments are newly accessible in this launch.
“The IPCC is committed to a high level of transparency about the assessment process. The new material included in this launch provides a detailed look at all the stages of constructing a report, at the evidence and interpretations suggested by expert reviewers, and at the way author teams addressed comments,” said Chris Field, Co-Chair of Working Group II.
It also provides the opportunity to see who submitted review comments and the balance across review comments. It also provides a chance to explore the processes that author teams used to evaluate comments, double-check facts, and re-assess interpretations. The searchable review comments in today’s launch additionally stand testament to the breadth and depth of the contributions across the scientific community.
“The Working Group II report contributes to the foundation of information for smart decisions about dealing with climate change,” said Vicente Barros, Co-Chair of Working Group II.
The Working Group II contribution to the Fifth Assessment Report (WGII AR5) is available at