Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Now Out: Next Installment of the IPPC Fourth Assessment Report

The IPCC Fourth Assessment Report is being rolled out, and as usual it's driving a lot of press coverage on climate issues. April 6 saw the release of the Summary for Policymakers for Working Group II "Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability," which of particular relevance to this blog, since our focus is on adaptation. The summary says:

"A wide array of adaptation options is available, but more extensive adaptation than is currently occurring is required to reduce vulnerability to future climate change. There are barriers, limits and costs, but these are not fully understood. Impacts are expected to increase with increases in global average temperature...

"Although many early impacts of climate change can be effectively addressed through adaptation the options for successful adaptation diminish and the associated costs increase with increasing climate change. At present we do not have a clear picture of the limits to adaptation, or the cost, partly because effective adaptation measures are highly dependent on specific, geographical and climate risk factors as well as institutional, political and financial constraints...

"The array of potential adaptive responses available to human societies is very large, ranging from purely technological (e.g., sea defences), through behavioural (e.g., altered food and recreational choices) to managerial (e.g., altered farm practices), to policy (e.g., planning regulations). While most technologies and strategies are known and developed in some countries, the assessed literature does not indicate how effective various options are to fully reduce risks, particularly at higher levels of warming and related impacts, and for vulnerable groups. In addition, there are formidable environmental, economic, informational, social, attitudinal and behavioural barriers to implementation of adaptation. For developing countries, availability of resources and building adaptive capacity are particularly important.

"However, adaptation alone is not expected to cope with all the projected effects of climate change, and especially not over the long run as most impacts increase in magnitude."

Some press and blog reactions in Germany, the U.K., the U.S. and India.

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