IPCC report examines global impacts of climate change

31 March 2014 - A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) examines the impacts of a warming world, as well as how we can adapt and reduce those impacts.

More than 300 scientists from 71 countries have worked on Working Group II (WGII) of the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), with further input from more than 500 expert reviewers as part of the writing process.

The report shows climate change is already having an impact on the natural world and those impacts are expected to become greater in the future.

This includes increases in temperature, changes in rainfall, melting of snow and ice, and species changing locations or responding differently to the seasons - which are themselves changing.

The warming climate has also had impacts on agriculture, the report says, with negative impacts having been more common than positives.

While the report looks at global and regional impacts, the Met Office recently published a report looking at extreme weather over recent years in the UK and how it may change in the future.

The WGII report also looks at how people around the world can take steps to reduce some of the risks from climate change.

This includes governments starting to develop adaptation plans and policies based on the latest evidence from climate research.

In the UK the government, using the National Climate Capability, has set out what government, businesses and society are doing to become more climate-ready in the National Adaptation Programme.

Looking ahead, the WGII report states that while some further warming is inevitable, reducing greenhouse gas emissions would substantially reduce the risks of climate change later this century.

This includes reducing the risks of severe, rapid and irreversible impacts - such as decline of coral reef systems and depletion of Arctic sea ice.

Professor Richard Betts, Head of Impacts at the Met Office and one of the Met Office's lead authors on the WGII report, said: "This report draws together multiple strands of evidence to show that climate change is already having a global impact, particularly on the natural world, and that it will have bigger impacts in the future."

You can see the full Summary for Policy Makers of the AR5 WGII through the IPCC's website.

Last updated: 28 March 2014