United Nations Environment Programme
environment for development Search 
News Centre
 
 Home News Centre
 Media Contacts
 Press Releases
 In Focus
 Speeches
 Photos
 Multimedia
 RSS / Podcasts
 Posters
 E-Cards

 Printable Version
 

IPCC outlines strategies for responding to the impacts of human-caused climate change

Emissions cuts, sustainable development and early measures to adapt could reduce humanity’s vulnerability

Brussels, 6 April 2007 – The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has finalized a new report that assesses the current and future impacts of global warming and explores opportunities for proactively adapting to them.

The report concludes that the world’s rivers, lakes, wildlife, glaciers, permafrost, coastal zones, disease carriers and many other elements of the natural and physical environment are already responding to the effects of humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Rising temperatures are accelerating the hydrological cycle and causing rivers and lakes to freeze later in the autumn and birds to migrate and nest earlier in the spring.

Scientists are increasingly confident that, as global warming continues, certain weather events and extremes will become more frequent, widespread or intense.

Over the coming decades, the Arctic, sub-Saharan Africa, small island states, low-lying coasts, natural ecosystems and water resources and agricultural production in certain regions will be at particular risk.

Dramatic sea-level rises and some other events have the potential to cause very large impacts, especially after the 21st century.

However, the IPCC also finds that early action to improve seasonal climate forecasts, food security, freshwater supplies, disaster and emergency response, famine early-warning systems and insurance coverage can minimize the damage from future climate change while generating many immediate practical benefits.

“Scientists owe much of their new understanding of how climate change will affect the planet to the greater number of field studies and data sets now available to them, as well as to improved consistency between observations and climate model results,” said Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

“We need to strengthen our research and monitoring even further and gain more practical experience in how best to adapt to our new climate,” he said.

Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), said, “The invoice for the future impact costs of climate change has been put on the table today by the IPCC. It is not a bill that we would have to pay in full if the world decides now to make deep and decisive cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.”

“The report also emphasizes that adaptation – in developed but especially vulnerable developing countries – is also needed to cope with the climate change already underway. ‘Climate proofing’ infrastructure and agriculture to health care services and communities will require investment but equally intelligent planning so that it is central to decision-making rather than on the periphery,” he added.

The IPCC illustrates the potential for adaptation by describing activities being undertaken in various parts of the world to adapt to current climate change.

Examples include partial drainage of the Tsho Rolpa glacial lake in Nepal, changes in livelihood strategies in response to permafrost melt by the Inuit in Nunavut, Canada, and the increased use of artificial snow-making by the ski industry in Europe, Australia and North America.

Measures being taken in anticipation of future climate change include the consideration of sea-level rise in the design of infrastructure such as the Confederation Bridge in Canada and in coastal zone management in the USA and The Netherlands.

The Summary for Policymakers for IPCC Working Group II has now been posted in English at www.ipcc.ch. The chapters in the full underlying report, “Climate Change 2007: Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability”, will be posted as PDFs in the next several days and will then be published by Cambridge University Press.

Note to journalists: For more information, please see www.ipcc.ch, www.wmo.int or www.unep.org, or contact:

UNEP – Michael Williams at +41-79-409-1528 or michael.williams@unep.ch; Robert Bisset at +33-6-2272-5842 or robert.bisset@unep.org; or Nick Nuttall, UNEP Spokesperson, at +254-2-623084 or nick.nuttall@unep.org.

WMO – Carine Richard Van-Maele, Chief of Communications and Public Affairs, at +41 22 730-8315 or cvanmaele@wmo.int; or Mark Oliver, Press Officer, at +41-22-730-8417 or moliver@wmo.int.

 



 

 

Further Resources

Download Summary for Policymakers for IPCC Working Group II

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

“Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability”: chapters’ outlines

UNEP Resourses on Climate Change

Millions at Risk of Hunger and Water Stress in Asia Unless Global Greenhouse Emissions Cut
UNEP Press Release

Climate Proofing Small Islands Opportunity to Meet Development Goals
UNEP Press Release

Climate Change Hits Hard on Latin America and the Caribbean
UNEP Press Release

Climate Proofing North American Cities and Communities Key Challenge for 21st Century
UNEP Press Release

Adaptation to Climate Change Key Challenge for Arctic Peoples and Arctic Economy
UNEP Press Release

Climate Proofing Africa Key Challenge for the Continent
UNEP Press Release

Working Group I -
Download Summary for policymakers.

Evidence of Human-caused Global Warming “Unequivocal”, says IPCC
(UNEP Press Release Feb. 2007)

Sound Science a Firm Basis for Action on Climate Change
Editorial by Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director

World Environment Day 2007 - Melting Ice – a Hot Topic?

 

Follow Us

Keep up to date with UNEP events on Facebook, Twitter and You Tube.

Twitter Facebook You Tube



UNEP on Facebook