IPCC WGII AR5: Summary for Policymakers

Submitted by Caroline Lumosi | published 31st Mar 2014 | last updated 14th Oct 2019

Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability

This report is part of the larger, Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) published by the IPCC. If you wish to read more about AR5 or see the other reports featured on weADAPT, please click here. 

Assessing and Managing the Risks of Climate Change

Human interference with the climate system is occurring and climate change poses risks for human and natural systems. The assessment of impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability in the Working Group II contribution to the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (WGII AR5) evaluates how patterns of risks and potential benefits are shifting due to climate change. It considers how impacts and risks related to climate change can be reduced and managed through adaptation and mitigation. The report assesses needs, options, opportunities, constraints, resilience, limits, and other aspects associated with adaptation.

Climate change involves complex interactions and changing likelihoods of diverse impacts. A focus on risk, which is new in this report, supports decision-making in the context of climate change, and complements other elements of the report. People and societies may perceive or rank risks and potential benefits differently, given diverse values and goals.

Compared to past WGII reports, the WGII AR5 assesses a substantially larger knowledge base of relevant scientific, technical, and socioeconomic literature. Increased literature has facilitated comprehensive assessment across a broader set of topics and sectors, with expanded coverage of human systems, adaptation, and the ocean. 

Section A of this summary characterizes observed impacts, vulnerability and exposure, and adaptive responses to date. Section B examines future risks and potential benefits. Section C considers principles for effective adaptation and the broader interactions among adaptation, mitigation, and sustainable development.