IPCC Working Group II Report published

IPCC Working group II, “Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability” has today published its Summary for Policymakers.  The main report has also been published, divided into two volumes:  Volume 1, the first 20 chapters, is on global effects and Vol 2 (chapters 21-30) is on regional aspects. At the time of writing (Monday 31st March morning) the SPM link gives and error “HTTP Error Status: 502 Bad Gateway”; on twitter, Clive Best suggests that global warming has caused the IPCC’s web servers to fail.

The press release  has the headline “A changing climate creates pervasive risks but opportunities exist for effective responses”.  Among other things, the press release says “The nature of the risks of climate change is increasingly clear, though climate change will also continue to produce surprises.”  It goes on to include several quotes from IPCC WG2 co-chairs Vicente Barros and Chris Field.

Media coverage

Media coverage has been varied, as one might expect. The Radio 4 Today programme featured Richard Tol’s dissenting voice in the news bulletins at 7.00 and 8.00, and the 8.10 session was an interview with IPCC author Chris Field in which the BBC interviewer Justin Webb  was asking questions about an apparent increasing focus on adaptation (more on that story later this week).

The BBC website presents a different story.  Climate impacts ‘overwhelming’ says Matt McGrath, and quotes the most alarmist bits, such as “severe, pervasive and irreversible”.

Anthony Watts has a summary of some of the main statements from the SPM.

The Independent is on form, leading with “The apocalypse is coming: War, famine and disease are on way”, and an article titled  “War, famine and pestilence – ‘Climate change is happening and no one in the world is immune'”, by Steve Connor, the chap who told us in an ‘exclusive’ that the Arctic ice was all going to disappear in 2008. He ends up promoting the veggie-vegan agenda – we are going to have to give up meat and cheese.

The Telegraph headline is Britain faces food price rises, floods and deadly heatwaves.

An encouraging note is that the comments at the Telegraph are overwhelmingly sceptical, and even at the Independent sceptics are well represented.

Carbon Brief has a roundup of the coverage.


The IPCC Website is now up again so the SPM is available (Monday 12:00). Interestingly, in some respects the final SPM is less alarmist than the version leaked a few days ago. For example, March 25 version, first paragraph: “recognizing that there are limits to adaptation”; final version “The report assesses needs, options, opportunities, constraints, resilience, limits, and other aspects associated with adaptation.” Previous version page 5: “The health of human populations is sensitive to shifts in weather patterns and other aspects of climate change (very high confidence)”. Final version: “At present the world-wide burden of human ill-health from climate change is relatively small compared with effects of other stressors and is not well quantified”.  Previous version p 9 “Unchecked emissions increase the likelihood of severe and pervasive impacts that may be irreversible or unanticipated.” removed for final version. The word “overwhelming”, used in Matt McGrath’s BBC headline, does not appear in the SPM or the press release.

Hilary in comments below draws attention to the IPCC WG2 movie; I confess I could not force myself to watch beyond the first two minutes.

Some more news media coverage: New Scientist stresses the point that the new report is more uncertain than the previous one (“In essence, the predictions are intentionally more vague. Much of the firmer language from the 2007 report about exactly what kind of weather to expect, and how changes will affect people, has been replaced with more cautious statements.”)

James Delingpole reports that a plague of giant scorpions will eat all the baby polar bears.

The Daily Mash criticises the report for not being terrifying enough and not addressing the issue of spontaneous combustion.

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