in Daily updates, Politics, Science, The environment

Yesterday, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the Summary for Policymakers (PDF) for the Synthesis Report of the Fourth Assessment Review. That’s what the impenetrable ‘IPCC 4AR SPM’ signifies.

To clarify what that really means, it must be understood that there are a number of levels to the work of the IPCC. Every few years, there is an assessment review meant to evaluate the state of published scientific literature on climate change. The first was in 1990. Subsequent reports have been released in 1995, 2001, and 2007. Each report consists of contributions from three working groups. Each working group writes a report, and each of those reports includes a Summary for Policymakers (SPM). The three working group reports are also combined into a synthesis report, which gets an SPM of its own. That’s what came out yesterday for the Fourth Assessment Review. Each of these reports is negotiated by scientists and approved by the IPCC member states. The SPMs are hashed out by government representatives line by line. That’s what the meeting that just ended in Valencia was about.

The Fourth Assessment Review has examined far more studies than the Third Assessment Review did: 577 compared to 95. Partly on account of that, it marks a big step forward in scientific certainty about the issue. As piles of media coverage stresses, the news isn’t good.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Milan November 18, 2007 at 11:39 pm

There are webcasts available, as well as Powerpoint slides

Milan November 18, 2007 at 11:46 pm
. November 19, 2007 at 12:13 am

From Wikipedia:

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its fourth report on climate change, indicating that Earth and humanity are now in permanent danger due to global warming.

. November 19, 2007 at 12:14 am
Anonymous November 19, 2007 at 9:29 am

“After one look at this planet any visitor from outer space would say ‘I want to see the manager.'”

William S. Burroughs

Anonymous November 19, 2007 at 11:52 am

In Ottawa, federal Environment Minister John Baird sounded some of same urgent notes in his response to the IPCC’s report, describing it as powerful and overwhelming.

“The science is clear and Canada, like the rest of the world, needs to take immediate action on climate change.”

But his critics say Mr. Baird has learned how to say the right things about climate change, but not how to do anything meaningful about it. They say the Conservatives’ plan – which aims to cut emissions by 20 per cent by 2020 – has so many loopholes it will fall far short of that goal, and far short of what is needed to avoid the worst impacts of global warming.

They worry that Canada will quietly try to undermine any proposals to dramatically curb emissions of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide.

John Bennett, with the group ClimateforChange.ca, says he expects Canada will be “quietly obstructionist and publicly supportive.”


. November 19, 2007 at 1:41 pm
. November 19, 2007 at 1:44 pm

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