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« Quote of the day, research edition | Main | Welsh shale transcript »
Friday
Nov012013

Working Group II government draft

The report of Working Group II has now been issued to governments and my mole has kindly sent me the relevant documentation.

You can read it here.

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Reader Comments (17)

Figure 1 in Chapter 10 corroborates Matt Ridley's Spectator piece.

Nov 1, 2013 at 1:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

Richard Tol -
Caption for figure 10-1: "Estimates of the total impact of climate change plotted against the assumed climate change (proxied by the increase in the global mean surface air temperature)"

From what baseline is this increase measured? Is it 1971-2000? Pre-industrial?

Nov 1, 2013 at 2:43 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

"The literature available for assessing climate change impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability more than
doubled between 2005 and 2010, allowing for a more robust assessment that supports policy making"!

It gets better and better as it gets worse and worse (than we thought)?

Nov 1, 2013 at 4:52 PM | Unregistered Commenterbetapug

It appears that Table 12.4 of the earlier draft (which was discussed by Katabasis and others) has been replaced by a very different version.Am I missing something?

Nov 1, 2013 at 5:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnthony Mills

@HaroldW
I don't think there is an answer to that question.

Nov 1, 2013 at 6:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

A mole has also sent Donna the WGII SPM "final draft", so they can be compared for consistency :-)

New IPCC Leak – Working Group 2′s Summary for Policymakers

Haven't read the whole thing yet; but that which I have read so far is not particularly impressive. However, there was one rather curious footnote [in very small print] on p.2. First the para containing the footnote:

Observed impacts of climate change are widespread and consequential. Recent changes in climate have caused impacts on natural and human systems on all continents and across the oceans.[2] Evidence of climate change impacts is strongest and most comprehensive for natural systems, although some impacts in human systems have also been attributed to climate change [...] [emphasis in original -hro]

And here's the footnote:

[2] Attribution of observed impacts in the WGII AR5 links responses of natural and human systems to climate change, not to anthropogenic climate change, unless explicitly indicated. [emphasis added -hro]

Maybe it's just me, but - in light of past history and performances - perhaps others, too, will find this phrasing to be somewhat of a 'reversal of fortunes', so to speak! Do they really mean what they say, or is this perhaps a conflation of convenience (and/or concession to confusion?!) in anticipation that the footnote will not survive the "intense" scrutiny of the line-by-line approval process? [She asks somewhat skeptically!]

Then again, this "limitation" would seem to apply only to "attribution of observed impacts" - as opposed, one presumes, to computer-generated speculative impacts! But I digress ...

In support of "yes, they might really mean what they say", excluding the above footnote, there are only four instances of "anthropogenic' that are "explicitly" mentioned in this 29 page document:

P. 3:

[Extinction stuff ...] Natural climate change at rates much slower than current anthropogenic change has led to significant ecosystem shifts, including species emergence and extinctions, in the past millions of years.

P. 6:

Many risks of climate change warrant consideration. Key risks, in particular, are potentially severe impacts relevant to "dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system," as described in Article 2 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Key risks can involve potentially large or irreversible consequences [...]

P. 7:

Five integrative reasons for concern (RFCs) provide a framework for summarizing key risks across sectors and regions. First identified in the IPCC Third Assessment Report, the reasons for concern** illustrate the implications of warming and of adaptation limits for people, economies, and ecosystems. They provide one starting point for evaluating dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. [...]

** What's the point of going to the trouble of dreaming up an acronym if the writers are not going to use it, I wonder?! Oh, well, perhaps RFCs pertain only to those which are "integrative" while these "reasons for concern" are not "integrative" (whatever this word is supposed to mean!)

P. 15:

Read this particular word salad if you so choose. "Anthropogenic" is mentioned in the context of "Terms Critical for Understanding the Summary" and in particular the first term listed: climate change. There's another interesting footnote appended to the above title, [72] which reads:

[72] Reflecting progress in science, some definitions differ in breadth and focus from the definitions used in the AR4 and other IPCC reports.

Of course they don't specify wherein lie these "differences", so that one might determine for oneself whether or not such new, improved "definitions" do, in fact, reflect this purported "progress in science"!

Nov 2, 2013 at 3:34 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

@Hilary
The cause of climate change is irrelevant to its impacts. WG2 decided not to tread on WG1's toes. If you believe past climate change is X% human-made, then impacts of past climate change are X% human-made (unless impacts are very non-linear).

Nov 2, 2013 at 6:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

Have you seen this post at Tallblokes Talkshop re the UK Government's review of AR5?
http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2013/11/02/uk-govt-invites-responses-to-searching-question-about-ipcc-ar5-report/

He is requesting input to a "Response" to the committee.

Nov 2, 2013 at 12:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterA C Osborn

Hilary

The point about attribution of observed impacts to climate change from whatever cause, rather than specifically anthropogenic climate change, was included on my suggestion.

As Richard Tol says, assessing the causes of recent climate change is Working Group 1's job, and this work will remain ongoing especially for rainfall, extremes and regional changes. In parallel with this, it's useful to look at other changes in the natural environment and human world to see if there is a climate contribution to these changes, regardless of the cause - along with other, non-climatic drivers of change. That's Working Group 2's job.

Nov 2, 2013 at 2:47 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

Figure SPM.5 I think it shows that snails move faster than monkeys and squirrels. Seriously.

Nov 3, 2013 at 2:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterWB

Incredible stuff. Figures SPM 1 and 3 are, respectively, a simple diagram showing people notice the environment in which they live, assess risk and vulnerability and address it as best they can; and a diagram showing the deliberative process i.e scope, analysis and implementation. Seriously.
IPCC WGII takes heaps of our tax dollars from around the world just so the coordinating lead authors and contributing authors and all the rest of them can report on how to suck eggs. I get that it's a draft and I get that it's just a Summary for Policy Makers but goodness me, this doc is appalling.

Nov 3, 2013 at 3:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterWB

Introduction opening sentence:
Human interference with the climate system is occurring, and climate change poses risks for human and natural systems (Figure SPM.1).
A-3 opening sentence:
Responding to climate-related risks involves making decisions and taking actions in the face of continuing uncertainty about the extent of climate change...

I would have gone with the A-3 sentence in the into.

Nov 3, 2013 at 3:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterWB

I knew it would be in WG II. Climate Change: Women and Poor Hit Worst! p11
"Price rises, which may be induced by climate shocks as well as other factors, have a disproportionate impact on the welfare of the poor in rural areas, such as female-headed households ...

Albeit that IPCC apparently only has "(medium confidence)".

Nov 3, 2013 at 4:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterWB

"Poor planning, overemphasizing short-term outcomes, or discounting or failing to consider all consequences can result in maladaptation (medium evidence, high agreement). Maladaptation can increase the vulnerability or exposure of the target group in the future, or the vulnerability of other locations or sectors." p13

Wind farms anyone? Green energy generally?

Nov 3, 2013 at 5:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterWB

Last comment I promise:
In Figure SPM.1 carbon dioxide concentration is identified as a driver of climate change but it only appears to be a risk for Central and South America. No other part of the populated world will be affected by it. Great!

Nov 3, 2013 at 5:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterWB

Very last:
From AR4 Summary for Policy Makers WGII:
"Approximately 20-30% of plant and animal species assessed so far are likely to be at increased risk of extinction if increases in global average temperature exceed 1.5-2.5°C."
7 years and $millions later, the science is so much better in AR5:
"A large fraction of terrestrial and freshwater species faces increased extinction risk under projected climate change during and beyond the 21st century... (high confidence)."
Why they didn't just put a % range in is anyone's guess. And as it happens that nutty Figure SPM.5 with the snail being faster than monkeys shows there's no extinction risk for anything under RCP2.6, which judging from recent observed temps, is the more likely of the RCPs. So they're not even representing their own figure correctly. Sloppy work for a final draft.

Nov 3, 2013 at 7:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterWB

Richard Tol (Nov 1, 2013 at 6:16 PM) -
That was an unexpected response.

The SPM states, "Global mean temperature increase of 2.5C above preindustrial may lead to global aggregate economic losses between 0.2 and 2.0% of income." A similar statement appears in the Executive Summary to Chapter 10, which cites section 10.9.2, the home of Figure 10-1. Figure 10-1 indeed plots multiple points near an increase of 2.5 deg C; excluding the extreme values one might guess the range to be -0.2% to -2.0%.

However, Figure 10-1 bears a striking resemblance to Figure 1 of this paper which may be familiar to you, where the abscissa is "increase in global mean temperature relative to today." [2012?]

As the SPM considers preindustrial temperatures to be -0.6 K relative to 1986-2005, there appears to be a discrepancy of at least 0.6 K. Closer to 0.75 K if one considers that "today" in 2012 is around 0.15 K warmer than the 1986-2005 mean. [Averaging GISS LOTI, HadCRUT4, NCDC]

Nov 4, 2013 at 1:59 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

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