Climate change has been a heated issue for many years, and it has recently been refueled by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) report Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability, released on March 31, 2014. Many already know that climate change has meant worrying trends like warming temperatures, rising sea levels, and more. However, the recent IPCC report highlights these concerns in greater depth and shows how this issue involves everyone—spanning all oceans and continents, on human and natural systems.
The report also presents opportunities to respond to climate change and mitigate risks; while there are continuing efforts to respond to a changing future, the IPCC report has given focus to responding to past events as an effective way to reduce climate change risks.
Appropriately titled, the report looks at where climate change impact is happening, how we can adapt to it, and who is vulnerable in these cases. In terms of impact, a number of natural systems have changed, such as heat waves, cyclones, wildfires, and droughts; damage to ecosystems and biodiversity, especially in coastal, island, and in-land water zones are also reported in greater detail than past reports. The human impact is readily apparent: health risks such as disease or injury. As well, livelihoods like farming and fishing industries face immediate risks, even destruction.
To adapt to such a wide range of changes, the report identifies actors of change—from the public and private sector to governments at all levels. These actors must cooperate and implement development plans and policies that respond to present changes. Decision-making is essential to adaptation. In other words, while preparing for future change is important, it’s also important to keep in mind the present--climate change is happening now, so decisions need to be made now in order to reduce the aforementioned climate changes—but this also must balance with considerations such as learning potential, long time frames, and any decision’s benefits or risks.
Read the full report here.
IPCC answers questions about the report here.
Written by Merry Pham