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Watch the IPCC press conference on managing the risks of climate extremes

Today saw the launch of the IPCC’s Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation, or SREX for short. You can hear IPCC chair Raj Pachauri, co-chairs of working group I Thomas Stocker and Qin Dahe, and co-chairs of working group II Chris Field and Vicente Barros present the report at the press conference below, as well as listening in to media questions.

Watch live streaming video from ipcc34thsessionenglish at livestream.com

If you prefer your information in text form rather than audio, the summary for policymakers and full report are available at http://ipcc-wg2.gov/SREX/

According to IPCC chair Raj Pachauri in a press release, “this summary for policymakers provides insights into how disaster risk management and adaptation may assist vulnerable communities to better cope with a changing climate in a world of inequalities”.

Qin Dahe said: “There is high confidence that both maximum and minimum daily temperatures have increased on a global scale due to the increase of greenhouse gases. Changes in other extremes, such as more intense and longer droughts are observed in some regions, but the assessment assigns medium confidence due to a lack of direct observations and a lack of agreement in the available scientific studies.”

Thomas Stocker explained that for the high emissions scenario, it is likely that the frequency of hot days will increase by a factor of 10 in most regions of the world. “Likewise, heavy precipitation will occur more often, and the wind speed of tropical cyclones will increase while their number will likely remain constant or decrease”.

Vicente Barros believes that there are many options for decreasing risk. “Some of these have been implemented, but many have not,” he said. “The best options can provide benefits across a wide range of possible levels of climate change.”

Chris Field, meanwhile, hopes that “this report can be a scientific foundation for sound decisions on infrastructure, urban development, public health, and insurance, as well as for planning—from community organizations to international disaster risk management.”

Speaking elsewhere, Bob Ward of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at London School of Economics and Political Science said: “This expert review of the latest available scientific evidence clearly shows that climate change is already having an impact in many parts of the world on the frequency, severity and location of extreme weather events, such as heatwaves, droughts and flash floods. This is remarkable because extreme events are rare and it is difficult to detect statistically significant trends in such small sets of data.”

Ward added that these trends have been identified over the last few decades when the rise in global average temperature has been just a few tenths of a centigrade degree. “The report shows that if we do not stop the current steep rise in atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases, we will see much more warming and dramatic changes in extreme weather which are likely to overwhelm any attempts human populations might make to adapt to their impacts. Governments must focus clearly on reaching a strong international agreement to strengthen their efforts to reduce emissions and to prepare their populations for those impacts of climate change that cannot now be avoided.”

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