Good COP, BAD COP – Mexico 2010

Sneak Peak at IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report
by -- December 2nd, 2010

Tracking the evolving science and objectives of IPCC’s fifth climate report

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a body of elected scientists from around the world to review and assess the current global knowledge on climate change and its potential environmental, social and economic impacts.

The IPCC is currently working on the fifth installment of their assessment report  (AR5) on climate change, anticipated to be finished and ready for publication in 2014.  Throughout this entire conference I have heard dozens of times the emphasis for organizations, reports, and scientific findings to be transparent.  In the context of the IPCC, I believe this is partly in response to “Climategate” as well as intense public scrutiny of anthropogenic climate change.

There are several new trends within AR5, which outline the evolution of our understanding and changing needs of policy makers.  A strong emphasis has been put on the impacts, adaption and vulnerability to climate change. In addition, there will be a focus on climate change in the context of other stresses, framing to support good decisions by policy makers, integration of adaption, mitigation, and development and a comprehensive treatment of regional aspects of climate change.  Dr. Thomas Stocker (IPCC Co-Chair for Working Group I) noted that sea level continues to rise about 3.3mm/yr with CO2 levels reaching 390ppm, 30% higher than in the past 800,000 years.  The IPCC’s main objectives have transitioned from “it’s real” to “here is the information you need to make good decisions for your stakeholders” said Chris Field (IPCC Co-Chair for Working Group II) during the briefing.

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