Climate Change 2001

The Third Assessment Report

Posted: 25 June 2003

Author: IPCC
Cambridge University Press, 2001
Three volumes £27 to £34

The publication of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) Third Assessment Report was a landmark event, and one which made headlines around the world. Based on an unprecedented collaborative effort throughout almost the entire worldwide scientific community, this three-volume epic brought the dramatic news that global warming could reach 5.8 oC by 2100.

The IPPC Assessment Reports bring together just about every aspect of scientific, societal and economic work on climate change so far conducted. Most people have read no further than the 'Summary for Policymakers', but anyone looking for more detail will not be disappointed either: full scientific citations are available for just about every conclusion it reaches.

The three volumes are divided up along sectoral lines:

  • The first volume, Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis, focuses on the output of the IPCC's Working Group I, and is concerned with atmospheric science, observed changes and the carbon cycle.

  • the second volume, Climate Change 2001: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability examines Working Group II's contribution, comprising of a more societal analysis and,

  • the third volume, Climate Change 2001: Mitigation, the contribution of Working Group III, explores the economic scenarios underpinning climate change predictions.
There are two pieces of good news: the 'Summary for Policymakers' and the 'Synthesis Report' (bringing the three working groups together) are pretty easy reading, and it's all available free on the web.

Related link:

www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/

Reviewer: Mark Lynas

Reviewer Info: Mark Lynas is a specialist in Climate Change. His new book, High Tide: News from a warming world, will be published by Flamingo/HarperCollins in March 2004.