The IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report: What's in it for South Asia?

The IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report: What's in it for South Asia?

Executive summary analysing the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report from a South Asian perspective.

This executive summary, produced by the Climate and Development Knowledge Network, presents the findings, implications, and recommendations of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report, from a South Asian context. Entitled ‘What’s in it for South Asia?’, the summary begins by contextualising the risks to the region from climate change, providing evidence, together with levels of certainty, to show that a variety of trends - temperature, rainfall, sea-level rise, etc - indicate present and growing climate change impacts. Furthermore, the summary outlines how climate change is already impacting communities in South Asia, with increased flooding, disease, and heat-stress all linked to climatic changes. The process of the IPCC reports’ drafting is included, along with a number of boxes to explain terminology, climate scenarios and impacts, and the mapping of climate risk. As the summary moves on to discuss the concept of adaptation, and the options available to counter a variety of risks, the paper includes a number of case studies, such as research into the use of migration policies as an adaptation tool in Bangladesh. The need to focus on mitigation is also discussed, before a number of potential actions are suggested, broadly spread across three themes: adaptation, mitigation, and development. All three are required in an integrated approach, and consist of such recommendations as improved access to education, early warning systems, economic and political actions, and up to the need for personal and societal transformative change. The key messages presented by the paper are that:

  • South Asia’s climate is already changing, and the impacts are already being felt
  • Further climate change is inevitable in the coming decades
  • Climate change poses challenges to growth and development in South Asia
  • Adaptation will bring immediate benefits and reduce the impacts of climate change in the region
  • Adaptation is fundamentally about risk management
  • South Asia has many adaptation options
  • Some low-carbon development options may be less costly in the long-run and could offer new economic opportunities for South Asia
  • The region stands to benefit from integrated climate adaptation, mitigation, and development approaches
  • International cooperation is vital to avert dangerous climate change and South Asian governments can promote global action
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