The IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report: What’s in it for Africa?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has produced the most comprehensive assessment of climate change ever. The Fifth Assessment Report, which the IPCC is releasing in four parts between September 2013 and November 2014, is the work of 830 expert authors, from 85 countries. Its first three volumes already stretch to 5,000+ pages.

Now the Climate and Development Knowledge Network and Overseas Development Institute have released a succinct guide to the assessment for decision-makers in Africa.

The IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report: What’s in it for Africa?  distils the richest material on climate impacts and trends in Africa, and African experiences in adaptation and mitigation, from the thousands of pages of the Fifth Assessment Report. The expert research team has worked under the guidance of IPCC Coordinating Lead Authors and Reviewers to ensure fidelity to the original material.

The IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report: What’s in it for Africa? aims to make the IPCC’s important material more accessible and usable to African audiences. This guide responds to wide demand for region-specific information. 

The guide is part of a suite of materials to promote the key findings of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report. Forthcoming companion volumes will provide a digest of IPCC findings for: South Asia; Latin America; and Small Island Developing States. Please visit www.cdkn.org/ar5-toolkit to access a range of resources, including free-to-use images and infographics.

The IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report: What’s in it for South Asia?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has produced the most comprehensive assessment of climate change ever. The Fifth Assessment Report, which the IPCC is releasing in four parts between September 2013 and November 2014, is the work of 830 expert authors, from 85 countries. Its first three volumes already stretch to 5,000+ pages.

Now the Climate and Development Knowledge Network and Overseas Development Institute have released a succinct guide to the assessment for decision-makers in Africa.

The IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report: What’s in it for South Asia?  distils the richest material on climate impacts and trends in South Asia, and South Asian experiences in adaptation and mitigation, from the thousands of pages of the Fifth Assessment Report and complemented with similar, peer reviewed case studies from the sub-region. The expert research team has worked under the guidance of IPCC Coordinating Lead Authors and Reviewers to ensure fidelity to the original Fifth Assessment material.

The IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report: What’s in it for South Asia? aims to make the IPCC’s important material more accessible and usable to South Asian audiences. This guide responds to wide demand for region-specific information. 

The guide is part of a suite of materials to promote the key findings of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report. An African companion volume has been published; and forthcoming companion volumes will provide a digest of IPCC findings for Latin America and Small Island Developing States. Please visit www.cdkn.org/ar5-toolkit for the publications and a range of communications resources, including free-to-use images and infographics.

Climate Change and Adaptation Science: WICCI

Jack Sullivan and others give a climate change update to the Natural Resources Board.

DNR staff and Dr. Tracey Holloway brief the NRB on Climate Change developments. See the tool bar above the video and image windows. "Chapters" have been added to the PowerPoint presentation which enable you, the viewer, to quickly navigate the presentation segments. Simply click-on the "slide list" icon to locate the chapters.

Keene, New Hampshire Climate Adaptation Action Plan Summary Report

The City of Keene is already practicing many climate protection strategies. Much of this document lays the foundation for Keene to move forward with a public process and further refinement of its climate change and overall sustainability goals. Another important process Keene is preparing for is a comprehensive master plan update, wherein the community, City, and other local and regional stakeholders will play a major role in setting the course for Keene’s future. This document should be utilized in that process and incorporated accordingly into the comprehensive master plan in order to coordinate policy, make land use decisions, identify capital improvement projects, and establish funding priorities. It provides the framework to ensure current—and future—preparedness strategies in the face of climate change.

Institutionalizing Climate Preparedness in Miami-Dade County, Florida

As a coastal community located at sea level and surrounded by water on three sides, with typical land elevation only three to ten feet above mean high water, Miami–Dade County is acutely aware of the dangers posed by climate change. Climate changes, including sea level rise, increases in temperature, changes in precipitation patterns, and changes in the intensity and/or frequency of extreme events all threaten the health and safety of residents, the integrity of infrastructure, and the vitality of regional ecosystems. In 2007, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) quantifi ed the vulnerability of various municipalities across the world towards climate change and identifi ed Miami–Dade County as having the highest amount of vulnerable assets exposed to coastal flooding (for the 2070’s) with a projected potential cost of approximately $3.5 trillion.Moreover, the County’s geographical location at the tip of a peninsula, its large, dense population, and the reality that many key economic drivers for the county are weather dependent (e.g. tourism and agriculture), have created a clear impetus to plan for climate change. To help start with the climate planning process, the County worked with local and regional climate scientists to review regionally specifi c climate models. These climate models predict an increase in temperature over the next 50 years between 4.5–9 degrees Fahrenheit (depending on the greenhouse gas emissions scenario),with a notable increase in the number of days over 90 degrees. The greatest temperature increases are expected during the summer months – which can have signifi cant implications on energy demand, exacerbate heat waves, and lead to greater evapo-transpiration, resulting in an impact on water supply, as well as local agriculture. These increases in temperature could also lead to more heat related illnesses and deaths, the spread of disease vectors, shifts in agricultural production and growing areas, droughts and excessive crop damage, and affect the viability and habitat of native plant and animal species. 

Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change

The National Academy of Sciences’ report on Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change is part of the America’s Climate Choices suite of studies that was requested by Congress.  The report concludes that much of the nation’s experience to date in managing and protecting its people, resources, and infrastructure is based on the historic record of climate variability during a period of relatively stable climate.  Adaptation to climate change calls for a new paradigm—one that considers a range of possible future climate conditions and ­associated impacts, some well outside the realm of past experience.  Adaptation is a process that requires actions from many decision-makers in federal, state, tribal, and local governments, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, and community groups. However, current adaptation efforts are hampered by a lack of solid information about the benefits, costs, and effectiveness of various adaptation options, by uncertainty about future climate impacts at a scale necessary for decision-making, and by a lack of coordination.

The report calls for a national adaptation strategy to support and coordinate decentralized efforts. As part of this strategy, the federal government should provide technical and scientific resources that are currently lacking at the local or regional scale, incentives for local and state authorities to begin adaptation planning, guidance across jurisdictions, shared lessons learned, and support of scientific research to expand knowledge of impacts and adaptation.

Biodiversity and Climate Change

There is evidence that climate change is already affecting biodiversity and will continue to do so. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment ranks climate change among the main direct drivers affecting ecosystems. Consequences of climate change on the species component of biodiversity include:

•changes in distribution,

•increased extinction rates,

•changes in reproduction timings, and

•changes in length of growing seasons for plants.

Some species that are already threatened are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. The following are examples of species and of their vulnerabilities.

Bolivia Climate Change Poverty and Adaptation

Bolivia is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change for six basic reasons:

1. It is one of the poorest countries in Latin America and suffers from one of the worst patterns of inequality. Low-income groups in developing countries are the most exposed to climate change impacts.

2. It is the country in South America with the highest percentage of indigenous people, where much of the poverty and inequality is concentrated.

3. It is one of the most bio-diverse countries in the world, with a wide variety of ecosystems that are vulnerable to different impacts from climate change.

4. More than half of the country is Amazonian, with high levels of the deforestation which adds to the vulnerability to flooding.

5. Located in a climatically volatile region, it is one of the countries in the world most affected by ‘natural’ disasters in recent years.

6. It is home to about twenty per cent of the world’s tropical glaciers, which are retreating more quickly than predicted by many experts.

In July 2009 a team of Oxfam researchers travelled to three areas of Bolivia (Trinidad in Beni, the Cochabamba valleys and Khapi under Mount Illimani, in La Paz) to take a snapshot of how poor families are experiencing the changing climate, and how they are adapting to it. The researchers also interviewed key government and international officials, social movements and NGO representatives. The main findings and recommendations of this report are:

Poor women and men throughout Bolivia are already experiencing the consequences of climate change, but in most cases are illequipped to adapt to the present and future impacts.

The perception of many villagers and local farmers is that the climate is already changing in terms of the unpredictability of the rainfall, more extreme weather events and higher temperatures, with negative impacts for their livelihoods.

Oxfam International has noted that in recent years the frequency and magnitude of damage from the extreme weather events have increased. Women are often the hardest hit, as they are often the ones left to tend small farms and families, and have fewer alternative livelihoods when crops are lost.

Bolivia can expect five main impacts as a result of climate change: less food security; glacial retreat affecting water availability; more frequent and more intense ‘natural’ disasters; an increase in mosquito-borne diseases; and more forest fires.

Of these, Oxfam International is particularly concerned that poor women and men and indigenous peoples will be affected by the effect of unpredictable weather on agricultural production as this could lead to less food availability and/or higher food prices.

Oxfam International believes that it is deeply unjust that poor communities and families in Bolivia and other South American countries are having to pay a high price for a situation for which they have virtually no historical responsibility.

In the three areas visited for this report local people, and particularly women, are already experimenting with ways of adapting to the changes in the climate. The ‘camellones’ project in Trinidad offers a promising example of poor women using ancient technologies to find a way of improving food security, adapting to flooding and reducing deforestation.

The government of President Evo Morales is beginning to take climate change seriously. However, it is still in the early stages of developing national policy and practical adaptation programmes. A major effort will be required to scale up the institutional, financial, and technical capacity to address the climate challenge.

Oxfam International´s concern is that the opportunities being opened up by the change process in Bolivia to reduce poverty, particularly amongst the indigenous population, will come under severe pressure from climate change impacts.

The establishment of the Platform of Social Organisations against Climate Change is a positive development to put pressure on national and international governments to combat the impacts of global warming. It is already having a major impact on government policy and awareness-raising.

Local Government Perspective on Adapting Water Management to Climate Change

Cities and other local authorities have a critical stake in the adaptation of water management to a changing climate. Virtually all the world’s future population growth is predicted to take place in cities and their urban landscapes. The UN estimates a global increase from the 2.9 billion urban residents in the 1990s to a staggering 5.0 billion by 2030. By 2030, 1 in 4 persons will live in a city of 500,000 people, and 1 in 10 will live in a mega-city of 10 million or more. How will climate change and variability affect water services and water safety for these many millions? What actions should local governments take to adapt water management for climate change?

Livelihoods and Climate Change: Combining Disaster Risk Reduction, Natural Resource Management, and Climate Change Adaptation in a New Approach to the Reduction of Vulnerability and Poverty

Whatever happens to future greenhouse gas emissions, we are now locked into inevitable changes to climate patterns. Adaptation to climate change is therefore no longer a secondary and long-term response option only to be used as a last resort. It is now prevalent and imperative, and for those communities already vulnerable to the impacts of present day climate hazards, an urgent imperative. Successful adaptation must be accomplished through actions that target and reduce the vulnerabilities poor people now face, as they are likely to become more prevalent as the climate changes. This approach calls for a convergence of four distinct communities who have long been tackling the issue of vulnerability reduction through their respective activities—disaster risk reduction, climate and climate change, environmental management, and poverty reduction. Bringing these communities together and offering a common platform— and a shared vocabulary—from which to develop an integrated approach to climate change adaptation can provide an opportunity to revisit some of the intractable problems of environment and development. The starting point for this convergence is a common understanding of the concepts of adaptation, vulnerability, resilience, security, poverty and livelihoods, as well as an understanding of the gaps in current adaptation approaches. Taken together, they indicate a need—and an opening—for adaptation measures based on the livelihood activities of poor and vulnerable communities. This places the goal of poverty reduction at the centre of adaptation, as the capabilities and assets that comprise people’s livelihoods often shape poverty as well as the ability to move out of poverty.