Summary For Policymakers (SPM)

This Summary for Policymakers (SPM) presents key findings of the Working Group II (WGII) contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) of the IPCC1. The report builds on the WGII contribution to the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the IPCC, three Special Reports2, and the Working Group I (WGI) contribution to the AR6 cycle.

This report recognizes the interdependence of climate, ecosystems and biodiversity3, and human societies (Figure SPM.1) and integrates knowledge more strongly across the natural, ecological, social and economic sciences than earlier IPCC assessments. The assessment of climate change impacts and risks as well as adaptation is set against concurrently unfolding non-climatic global trends e.g., biodiversity loss, overall unsustainable consumption of natural resources, land and ecosystem degradation, rapid urbanisation, human demographic shifts, social and economic inequalities and a pandemic.

The scientific evidence for each key finding is found in the 18 chapters of the underlying report and in the 7 cross-chapter papers as well as the integrated synthesis presented in the Technical Summary (hereafter TS) and referred to in curly brackets {}. Based on scientific understanding, key findings can be formulated as statements of fact or associated with an assessed level of confidence using the IPCC calibrated language4. The WGII Global to Regional Atlas (Annex I) facilitates exploration of key synthesis findings across the WGII regions.

The concept of risk is central to all three AR6 Working Groups. A risk framing and the concepts of adaptation, vulnerability, exposure, resilience, equity and justice, and transformation provide alternative, overlapping, complementary, and widely used entry points to the literature assessed in this WGII report.

Across all three AR6 working groups, risk5 provides a framework for understanding the increasingly severe, interconnected and often irreversible impacts of climate change on ecosystems, biodiversity, and human systems; differing impacts across regions, sectors and communities; and how to best reduce adverse consequences for current and future generations. In the context of climate change, risk can arise from the dynamic interactions among climate-related hazards6 (see Working Group I), the exposure7 and vulnerability8 of affected human and ecological systems.

The risk that can be introduced by human responses to climate change is a new aspect considered in the risk concept. This report identifies 127 key risks9. {1.3, 16.5} The vulnerability of exposed human and natural systems is a component of risk, but also, independently, an important focus in the literature. Approaches to analysing and assessing vulnerability have evolved since previous IPCC assessments. Vulnerability is widely understood to differ within communities and across societies, regions and countries, also changing through time.

Name Description Released Format
SummaryForPolicymakers October 13, 2022

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