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IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: climate change 2007: synthesis report: summary for policymakers

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L. Bernstein
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Over the course of 2007, the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released 4 reports on the causes and impacts of climate change, and possible solutions. This document summarises the Synthesis Report, which is based on the assessment carried out by the three Working Groups of the IPCC. It provides an integrated view of climate change and makes up the final part of the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report. The report discusses the following five topics:

observed changes in climate and their effects
causes of climate change
projections of climate change and their impact
adaptation and mitigation options
the long term perspective on climate change

Key findings include:

the warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level
continued GHG emissions at or above current rates would cause further warming and induce many changes in the global climate system during the 21st century that would very likely be larger than those observed during the 20th century:
a wide array of adaptation options is available, but more extensive adaptation than is currently occurring is required to reduce vulnerability to climate change
adaptive capacity is intimately connected to social and economic development but is unevenly distributed across and within societies
there is high confidence that neither adaptation nor mitigation alone can avoid all climate change impacts; however, they can complement each other and together can significantly reduce the risks of climate change