Climate Matters•February 23, 2022
IPCC Sixth Assessment Report - Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability
On February 28, the IPCC will release a landmark report on the impacts of climate change on people and nature.
We provide context for this and other IPCC reports that together comprise the Sixth Assessment Report.
Climate Central’s reporting resources help to link this global report to climate impacts and risks faced by local audiences around the U.S
Read the new IPCC report on February 28: Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability
On Monday, February 28, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will release a landmark scientific report focused on the impacts of climate change on people and nature.
The previous IPCC report on climate change impacts was published in 2014. Every year since then has been among the hottest ever recorded, and the impacts of climate change have become increasingly visible—signaling the need for an updated report on the topic.
Globally, the number of weather and climate-related disasters has increased five-fold from 1970-2019, resulting in an estimated 2 million deaths, 91% of which occurred in the world’s poorest countries.
Over this 50-year period, weather and climate-related disasters resulted in over $3.6 trillion in losses globally, and 7 of the 10 most costly global disasters occurred in the U.S.
Extreme events such as these are among the most acute impacts, but climate change poses a wide range of additional short-and long-term risks for people and the ecosystems we depend on. Monday’s IPCC report, entitled Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, will cover the full scope of current impacts and future risks posed by climate change.
Next week’s IPCC Report: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability
We’re in the midst of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) cycle, which will conclude later this year. IPCC reports cover a broad scope of topics, and climate science is an interdisciplinary enterprise. Accordingly, the AR6 consists of three core reports focused on different topics, each produced by a different working group comprised of hundreds of scientists with relevant expertise, covering:
The physical science of climate change (Working Group I report, released August 2021)
Its impacts on nature and people (Working Group II report, on February 28, 2022)
Options to curb emissions and manage risks (Working Group III report, expected later in 2022)
Working Group II is dedicated to assessing “the vulnerability of socio-economic and natural systems to climate change, negative and positive consequences of climate change, and options for adapting to it.”
The forthcoming Working Group II report represents more than five years of work by some 270 scientists from 67 countries who volunteered their time to the rigorous assessment, drafting, and peer-review process. Their expertise spans the natural, social, and economic sciences.
From February 14-25, 2022, the report authors will be engaged in the 55th Session of the IPCC, where they will work together with representatives from the IPCC’s 195 member countries to finalize the report before releasing it to the international community on February 28.
This report will follow the approved chapter outline, and is expected to cover:
Climate change impacts and risks for both nature (including terrestrial, freshwater, ocean, and coastal ecosystems) and people (including risks to water and food security, cities, settlements and infrastructure, health, poverty and livelihoods).
Observed impacts, future risks, and vulnerabilities for every major global region
Future development pathways to reduce risks and enhance resilience
Climate Central’s tools and reporting resources link these global IPCC report themes to the climate impacts and risks faced by local communities around the U.S., including:
Local future warming choices: Global COP26, Local Impacts
Sea level rise: Picturing Our Future
Coastal flooding: Coastal Risk Screening Tool
Health and wellbeing: Climate Change and Human Health Toolkit
Cities: Urban Heat Islands
Drought and water security: Drought and Western Snowpack
More context for IPCC Reports:
The IPCC, established in 1988, is a UN body dedicated to providing governments with scientific information that can be used to develop climate policies grounded in the latest science.
A core contribution of the IPCC is its periodic scientific assessment reports. Every 5-8 years, the IPCC releases a set of reports that systematically review thousands of scientific papers and distill this body of knowledge into a comprehensive summary of our current understanding of climate change.
These reports have long been a key input to international climate change negotiations, which will continue this November with COP27 in Egypt.
Check out our explainer on the August 2021 IPCC report: The Physical Science Basis for:
A visual summary of climate change impacts facing the U.S.
Animated warming pathways this century, with and without substantial emissions cuts
A chart of global warming from 1950-2020 relative to the 1.5°C Paris Agreement goal
ADDITIONAL REPORTING RESOURCES
The IPCC’s media essentials site includes all relevant information for media coverage of the forthcoming report.
A recording of the opening ceremonies of the ongoing 55th Session of the IPCC (February 14-25, 2022) can be viewed here.
The searchable IPCC Glossary is a helpful resource for decoding the jargon of the IPCC reports. In the context of the forthcoming report, it is especially critical to ensure accurate use of terms including: impacts, adaptation, vulnerability, exposure, hazard, and risk—all of which can be found in the glossary.
For more in-depth analysis on impacts, risks, and adaptation in the U.S., check out the Fourth U.S. National Climate Assessment (NCA). The Fourth NCA relies on literature published prior to 2018, and the forthcoming Fifth NCA will incorporate more recent literature and will therefore be more closely aligned with the IPCC AR6 reports.
The SciLine service, 500 Women Scientists or the press offices of local universities may be able to connect you with local scientists who have expertise on climate change impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability. The American Association of State Climatologists is a professional scientific organization composed of all state climatologists.
Katharine Mach, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Science and Policy, University of Miami
Expertise: climate change risks and adaptation
Carol Franco, PhD
Senior Research Associate, Virginia Tech
Expertise: climate change impacts, adaptation, and mitigation
*Available for interviews in Spanish
Patricia Romero-Lankao, PhD
Distinguished Researcher, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Expertise: climate change impacts on food, energy, water, and cities; environmental justice and equity; policies and governance
*Available for interviews in English and Spanish