http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/03/31 ... th_report/
The summary for policymakers alone is 44 pages and the full report contains 1,552, so it's necessary to be rather brief in this initial report on the newly-released documents. Later analysis is the place to go deeper. Let's start with the summary's assessment of the “observed impacts
, vulnerability and adaptation” to climate change.Confidence level
Observed phenomenon resulting from climate change Very High
Differences in vulnerability and exposure arise from non-climatic factors and from multidimensional inequalities often produced by uneven development processes Very High
Impacts from recent climate-related extremes, such as heat waves, droughts, floods, cyclones, and wildfires, reveal significant vulnerability and exposure of some ecosystems and many human systems to current climate variability High
Adaptation and mitigation choices in the near-term will affect the risks of climate change throughout the 21st century High
Adaptation experience is accumulating across regions in the public and private sector and within communities High
Adaptation is becoming embedded in some planning processes, with more limited implementation of responses High
Based on many studies covering a wide range of regions and crops, negative impacts of climate change on crop yields have been more common than positive impacts High
Climate-related hazards exacerbate other stressors, often with negative outcomes for livelihoods, especially for people living in poverty High
Many terrestrial, freshwater, and marine species have shifted their geographic ranges, seasonal activities, migration patterns, abundances, and species interactions in response to ongoing climate change High
Responding to climate-related risks involves decision-making in a changing world, with continuing uncertainty about the severity and timing of climate-change impacts and with limits to the effectiveness of adaptation High
Uncertainties about future vulnerability, exposure, and responses of interlinked human and natural systems are large Medium
In many regions, changing precipitation or melting snow and ice are altering hydrological systems, affecting water resources in terms of quantity and quality
The summary then presents the following eight “key risks” that the IPCC feels “are identified with high confidence, span sectors and regions.”
The risks are:
Risk of death, injury, ill-health, or disrupted livelihoods in low-lying coastal zones and small island developing states and other small islands, due to storm surges, coastal flooding, and sea-level rise
Risk of severe ill-health and disrupted livelihoods for large urban populations due to inland flooding in some regions.
Systemic risks due to extreme weather events leading to breakdown of infrastructure networks and critical services such as electricity, water supply, and health and emergency services
Risk of mortality and morbidity during periods of extreme heat, particularly for vulnerable urban populations and those working outdoors in urban or rural areas.
Risk of food insecurity and the breakdown of food systems linked to warming, drought, flooding, and precipitation variability and extremes, particularly for poorer populations in urban and rural settings.
Risk of loss of rural livelihoods and income due to insufficient access to drinking and irrigation water and reduced agricultural productivity, particularly for farmers and pastoralists with minimal capital in semi-arid regions.
Risk of loss of marine and coastal ecosystems, biodiversity, and the ecosystem goods, functions, and services they provide for coastal livelihoods, especially for fishing communities in the tropics and the Arctic.
Risk of loss of terrestrial and inland water ecosystems, biodiversity, and the ecosystem goods, functions, and services they provide for livelihoods.