Welsh Science into Policy Briefing - IPCC 5th assessment on impacts, adaptation, vulnerability and mitigation

sponsored by the Minister for Natural Resources and Food, at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay on 4th June 2014.

  1. In partnership with Plastic Buddha Productions, C3W have created a short film featuring excerpts from the talks on the day and interviews with the leading climate change scientists from Wales and the UK.
  2. This was the second event co-organised by C3W and Welsh Government and in partnership with Climate Change Commission for Wales (Cynnal Cymru), Natural Resources Wales  and the Met Office. The first focussed on Physical Science Basis for Climate Change, delivered by Working Group I in the 5th Assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This session focussed on the reports from the Working Groups II and III, responsible for synthesising the scientific evidence base regarding Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability; and the Mitigation of Climate Change.
  3. Professor Jim Skea, Research Director at the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) , is the Vice-Chair of Working Group III and gave an impressive summary of the key findings of the WGIII report.
  4. The assessment of the benefits of various mitigation options do not include the potential multiple benefits, beyond greenhouse gas reduction, such as enhancing air quality or water regulation through the deployment of more urban green infrastructure.
  5. Prof Skea was very clear about the 3 steps that we must take globally, with regards to climate change mitigation
  6. Dr Pope is Head of Integration and Growth at the Met Office and is responsible for maximising the benefits for government of the Met Office science capability. Vicky also played a key role in our first IPCC event on the Physical Science Basis. In this session Vicky focussed on the predicted environmental impacts of climate change under various scenarios.
  7. The key here is that some organisms can shift their location (typically by moving Northwards or uphill  in a warming climate) more readily than others, and so can adapt to change more easily, limiting the potentially negative impacts of a warming climate. So for example, generalist common species that can move easily will disperse and adapt more readily than rare organisms with very specialist habitat requirements, but not in all cases, as it also depends on how sensitive they are to climate. Based on this, the rate of change is critical for many organisms. Add to this that change of this kind is rarely linear, with extreme weather events having major impacts on populations, then we can begin to understand the complexity of predicting the effect of climate change on wildlife.

  8. Much of Vicky's presentation was supported by the key messages in Dr Clive Walmsley's talk. Clive is the Environmental Impacts Adviser in Natural Resources Wales and Director of Engagement in C3W.
Read next page