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IPCC Working Group II: media coverage round-up

by Liz Kalaugher

The IPCC juggernaut continues to roll: the early hours of Monday morning (for those based in Europe) saw the release of Working Group II’s contribution to the fifth assessment report – on climate impacts, adaptation and vulnerability.

Yet again, it’s a mammoth task; 309 authors from 70 countries created the report, receiving 50,492 review comments in the process. Not surprisingly, there’s been extensive media coverage, with different outlets focusing on different aspects of the report.

Following its earlier news of leaks and complaints of alarmism, the BBC coverage of the official report launch includes a comment from Roger Harrabin on WGII co-chair Chris Field’s upbeat, rather than apocalyptic, tone. “Many politicians have gone deaf to the old-style warnings,” writes Harrabin. “Maybe it’s worth a new approach.”

Over at the Guardian, there’s detailed analysis of how climate change is affecting wildlife, while the news on potential effects on security, food and humankind includes details of the Red Cross’s count of the number of times the word “risk” is used in the WGII summary  – more than 230 times, compared to just over 40 in 2007’s fourth assessment.

“This report struck out on relatively new ground by drawing a clear line connecting climate change to food scarcity, and conflict,” writes Suzanne Goldenberg.

The Guardian also has comment on IPCC head Raj Pachauri and US Secretary of State John Kerry’s views on the need for action on climate change, and the implications of climate change for vulnerable groups.

According to NewScientist, the latest report backs off from some of the predictions made in the 2007 version. “During the final editing process, the authors also retreated from many of the more confident projections from the final draft, leaked last year,” writes Michael Slezak. “The IPCC now says it often cannot predict which specific impacts of climate change – such as droughts, storms or floods – will hit particular places.”

For those who like visuals, over at the Carbon Brief, there’s a pictorial round-up of WGII’s findings on impacts by region, the outlook for slow-moving animal and plant species, and crop yield. Or, for the moving picture fan, the IPCC has its own 12 minute video introduced by WGII co-chair Chris Field.

The details of the report are easily available, the answers less so…

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