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Climate Change: Impacts and Responses Topic 1: Introduction.

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Presentation on theme: "Climate Change: Impacts and Responses Topic 1: Introduction."— Presentation transcript:

1 Climate Change: Impacts and Responses Topic 1: Introduction

2 Topic outline 1. About the course 2. Climate change basics 3. The IPCC 4. Drivers of global change Image: UN Photo, Mark Garten

3 Learning outcomes for this topic  Understand the contents of the course and what you will gain by studying it  Describe the basic facts about climate change and why it is a challenge  Learn about the structure and operations of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)  Be familiar with a range of human drivers of global change

4 Section 1: About the course

5  The purpose of the course  Course learning outcomes  The syllabus  References for key readings About the course

6  Introduce the topics of climate variability and climate change  Deliver understanding about how earth’s climate system works, and natural and human-induced drivers of the climate system  Explore the impacts of climate change on human and natural environments  Analyse impacts and evaluate climate change adaptation and mitigation options  Learn about the policies, regulatory mechanisms and international climate agreements associated with climate change Course purpose

7  Explain how the climate system works and the physical basis of climate change  Describe how human activities are influencing greenhouse gas emissions  Investigate projections about possible future climate change on Earth  Assess the impacts of climate variability and climate change on agriculture and food systems, water, health, ecosystems, industry, settlement and society  Identify and evaluate responses to climate change under mitigation and adaptation  Evaluate global climate change policy and its implementation options for mitigation and adaptation. Course learning outcomes

8 Topics: 1. Introduction 2. The Earth’s climate system 3. Climate change in the distant past 4. Climate change in the recent past 5. Projections of future climate 6. Impacts of climate change 7. Climate change adaptation 8. Climate change mitigation 9. Climate change policy and regulation The syllabus

9 Textbooks  Pittock A.B. (2009) Climate Change: the science, impacts and solutions. Earthscan.  Henderson-Sellers, A. & K. McGuffie (2012). The future of the world’s climate. Elsevier IPCC Reports  IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007 (AR4) available at  IPCC Fifth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2014 (AR5) available at  Other relevant IPCC reports available at Course Journals Some of the key journals for scientific papers on climate change are:  Journal of Geophysical Research  Nature Climate Change  Climatic Change  Global Environmental Change  Climate Dynamics  International Journal of Climatology Key readings

10 Section 2: Climate change basics

11  Isn’t the climate naturally changeable?  Hasn’t Earth’s climate changed in the past?  How do we know humans are responsible for current changes?  Why should we worry about climate change?  What can we do about climate change? Outline: Climate change basics

12 Isn’t the climate always changing?  Climate and weather are not the same!  Climate is the average state of the weather measured over a period of thirty years or more.  “Climate change” refers to a shift in the state of the climate over at least several decades.  Climate variability is a natural feature of earth’s climate system, but human influences on the climate can contribute to greater levels of variability than we would otherwise expect to see. Image:UN Photo/Logan Abassi

13 Hasn’t Earth’s climate changed in the past? Image: IPCC WGI, AR5 2013, FigSPM-01

14 How do we know humans are responsible? IPCC 2007 AR4 WG1

15 Why should we worry about current climate change?  Major negative impacts associated with even small temperature increases  Climate change will bring temperature increases, sea level rise, erratic weather and increased extreme events, all with far-reaching implications for ecosystems, human livelihoods and national economies  Unfair global distribution of negative impacts  Limited adaptive capacity of vulnerable populations in many areas Image: UN Photo, Logan Abassi

16 What can we do about it? Mitigation – e.g. change reliance on energy sources from fossil fuels to renewables like solar power Image: UN Photo, Gonzaelz Farran Image: UN Photo, Pasquale Gorriz Image: UN photo, Paolo Filgueiras Adaptation – e.g. diversify farming systems to include more drought tolerant crops like millet and cassava Global policy – financing, co- ordinating and regulating the global climate change response

17 Section 3: The IPCC

18  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change  The structure of the IPCC  IPCC materials and recent reports Outline: The IPCC

19 The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)  The IPCC is a scientific body. It reviews and assesses the most recent scientific, technical and socio-economic information produced worldwide relevant to the understanding of climate change.  Does not conduct scientific research or monitor climate data  Aims to provide the world with a clear scientific view on the current state of knowledge on climate change and its potential environmental and socio-economic impacts  “Policy-relevant and yet policy-neutral, never policy-prescriptive” Established in 1988 by the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organization

20 Structure of the IPCC

21 IPCC materials  Assessment Reports  Special Reports  Methodology Reports

22 Section 4: Global change

23 Outline: Global change  What is global change?  What drives global change?  Natural drivers of global change  Human drivers of global change

24 What is global change? Planetary scale change affecting systems on Earth, such as the climate system, ecosystems or social- ecological systems. Image: NASA Earth Observatory

25 Plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanoes Natural drivers of global change Image: NASA Solar variation and Milankovitch cycles Meteorite impacts

26 Human drivers of global change Population growth Image: UN Photo, A. Duclos Image: UN Photo, Rick Bajornas Economic development

27 Human needs – drivers of change Image: UN photo, Guthrie Image: UN photo, Ky Chung Image: UN Photo, Evan Schneider UN Photo/Kibae Park UN Photo/John Isaac UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe UN Photo/John Isaac

28 Image: UN Photo, Mark Garten End of Topic 1: Introduction Next Topic: The Earth’s Climate System

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