Unpacking the IPCC Fifth Assessment Synthesis Report

22.03.16 By

The IPCC & the Fifth Assessment Report

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the most authoritative international body on climate science. The IPCC’s Assessment Reports provide a comprehensive summary of climate change, from the physical science to its impacts and how to tackle it. These reports inform our understanding of climate change and its implications for nations around the world, including Australia.

 

The IPCC’s latest report – the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) – is the most comprehensive assessment of climate change undertaken. Ever. It involved thousands of contributing experts, including over 800 Lead Authors from more than 80 countries. AR5 is made up of four parts, each considering different aspects of the climate change challenge. On 2 November 2014 the fourth and final instalment of AR5 was released. Here is our summary of the four reports.

The Synthesis Report

Launched on 2 November 2014, the Synthesis Report integrates the assessment of past changes in climate as well as projections for the future from the three working group reports already released and two special reports brought out in 2011.

Key findings from the Synthesis Report include:

Working Group I

The first instalment of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report is Climate Change 2013: the Physical Science Basis by Working Group I (WG I). It assesses the latest science of climate change.

Key findings from the AR5 WG I report include:

The IPCC’s Summary for Policymakers provides an overview of the first report and we’ve unpacked the first part of AR5 in more detail here.

Working Group II

The second instalment of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report is Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability by Working Group II (WG II). It assesses the present understanding of how climate change will affect both human and natural systems and how these risks might be reduced and managed through adaptation and mitigation.

Key findings from the AR5 WG II report include:

The IPCC’s Summary for Policymakers provides an overview of the second report. We’ve also unpacked the second part of AR5 here and you can check out our video on the report too.

Working Group III

The third instalment of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report is Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change by Working Group III (WG III). The mitigation of climate change involves reducing the sources of greenhouse gases. This WG III report considers all relevant options for mitigating climate change.

Key findings from the AR5 WG III report include:

You can read the IPCC’s AR5 WG III Summary for Policymakers here.

The UN climate negotiations in Paris next year will bring countries together in an attempt to reach a binding and universal agreement on climate change. The findings of the IPCC’s Synthesis Report emphasises that now, more than ever, we need international action on climate change.

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For more information see www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5