That's right! The work of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) consists of assessing the magnitude, consequences and possibilities of mitigation and adaptation to man-made global warming. The mission of these experts under the aegis of the UN is not to produce new research, but to collect and synthesize scientific publications on the subject. Given the scope and importance of the subject, these publications are numerous: the work of the IPCC is therefore organized in assessment cycles. Created in 1988, the group is currently writing its 6th assessment report. After the publication of the contribution of Group I on the physical basis of climate change in August 2021, it is the turn of Group II to be published.
The summary for decision-makers, less than 40 pages long (available here), is divided into three parts.
First, the already observed and future effects of climate change are recalled. The following graph, taken from the summary, summarizes the effects of climate change already observed on ecosystems; a similar graph is available for human systems. The magnitude of these adverse consequences will increase, both in the short and long term, with the level of average temperature rise. The socio-economic context, the unsustainability of the exploitation of natural resources and inequalities increase populations' vulnerability to these consequences. Thus, between 3.3 and 3.6 billion human beings currently live in contexts that are highly vulnerable to climate change, i.e. about 50% of mankind.
Extreme climate-related events will become increasingly difficult to manage, especially as they may occur simultaneously or interact. If the 1.5°C mark is crossed, several risks will be strongly accentuated, and some of the impacts will become irreversible.
Faced with these impacts of global warming, it is imperative to implement adaptation strategies. Although the report admits that public adaptation policies are progressing, they are clearly considered insufficient, small-scale and focused on short-term risks. The paths currently taken may even lead to maladaptation, by making systems even less resilient and less flexible to change. Feasible and effective options are available, but their long implementation time requires that they be implemented now, before human and natural systems reach the limits of their adaptability.
The last part develops the conditions necessary for Climate resilient development: prioritising options that allow for both mitigation and adaptation to climate change, prioritising risk reduction, equity and justice, and creating inclusive dynamics, going beyond the usual level of decision making, by getting communities, sectors, communities to work together...
The Summary for Decision Makers:
A summary by Carbone4 (in French):
An interview with Laurent Bopp and Christophe Cassou, co-authors of the IPCC (from 7'43, in French):
A column by Jean-Marc Jancovici on RTL (in French):