New Global Report Updates Climate Change Studies
Since nuclear power generates few greenhouse gases, its future role holds implications for climate change assessments. (Credit: KNP, Japan)
The first in a series of new scientific assessments on climate change and its effects is being issued 2 February by the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC), a joint body of the World Meteorological Organization and United Nations Environment Programme. The IAEA supports the IPCC´s work in various areas, including technology options for the mitigation of climate change.
In Paris, the IPCC is expected to release a summary for policymakers of the first volume of Climate Change 2007, the latest global assessment report and fourth since 1988, which is the companion report of its Working Group 1 (WG1). The working group report, entitled Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis, assesses the current scientific knowledge of the natural and human drivers of climate change, observed changes in climate, the ability of science to attribute changes to different causes, and projections for future climate change.
The WGI report includes advanced observations of the climate system, and its change since the industrial revolution, presents new and updated projections of future global climate change using results from 19 climate models. The report also covers the range of anthropogenic greenhouse gases and other factors that drive climate change. It does not cover the impacts of climate change or options for the mitigation of climate change. These aspects will be covered in subsequent reports by the IPCC Working Group II (impacts, adaptation and vulnerability), and Working Group III (mitigation options). Their reports are to be finalised in early April and early May 2007, respectively.
The previous assessment report was issued in 2001. The IPCC was set up in 1988 to assess the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation.
The IAEA, through its laboratories, Department of Nuclear Science and Applications and Department of Nuclear Energy, supports and contributes to climate change studies. The Planning & Economic Studies Section in the Nuclear Energy Department specifically addresses international negotiations on climate change and sustainable development, and contributes to the work of the IPCC.
The 2007 summary for policymakers will be presented at press conference in Paris that will be webcast on the IPCC website. See Story Resources for more information.