The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on Friday 1 October 2021 circulated the final draft of the Summary for Policymakers of the Working Group II contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) to governments for their review and comment. This is one of the final stages of report preparation before the plenary approval of this contribution which assesses the impacts of climate change and how humanity and ecosystems are both vulnerable and adapting to it.
The Working Group II report is the second instalment of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), which will be completed in 2022. In August, the IPCC released the approved Working Group I report which assessed the physical science, showing that climate change is widespread, rapid and intensifying.
“Working Group II tells the rich and diverse story of how the places we live, work and visit are impacted by and are vulnerable to climate change. It talks to us not only of how we are currently adapting to these changes, but what adaptation responses may exist in the future,” said Debra Roberts, Co-Chair of the Working Group II.
This phase, known as the Final Government Distribution, runs to 26 November 2021 and will allow governments to check whether the draft Summary for Policymakers reflects the underlying evidence laid out in the Working Group II report.
“Our assessment will provide global to regional understanding of the observed changes, future risks and options to reduce risks for humans as well as for the ecosystems and their services that we as humans so highly and intrinsically depend on. The Working Group I report, released in August, has set the stage for us to show how the past and future changes to our Earth’s climate system impacts life on our planet,” said Hans-Otto Pörtner, also a Co-Chair of Working Group II.
The authors of the report have already addressed more than 16,000 comments provided by expert reviewers of the report’s First Order Draft, and over 40,000 comments from expert reviewers and governments on the Second Order Draft.
The COVID-19 pandemic created new and complex challenges, constraints and delays for the authors of the report.
“Over the several past months, our authors have invested an enormous amount of their time and energy in finalizing the Sixth Assessment Report of Working Group II and presenting their findings in a way that everyone will be able to identify with and understand,” said Debra Roberts.
Working Group II and the IPCC are expected to hold plenary sessions in mid-February 2022 to consider the Summary for Policymakers for approval and the full report for acceptance as an IPCC assessment.