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2007April10doc - -- United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP

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2007April10doc - -- United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP ...

    THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE NEWS

    Tuesday 10 April 2007

     UNEP and the Executive Director in the News

    ? EIGHTH SESSION OF WORKING GROUP II OF THE

    INTERGOVERNMENTAL PANEL ON CLIMATE CHANGE(Earth Negotiation

    Bulletin)

    ? Bhutan leads the battle for environment (Malaysia Sun)

    ? Showing way: Bhutan leads battle against global heat (New Times India)

    ? Climate Change is Happening now - World needs to Respond Urgently (eGov

    monitor)

    ? Somalia: Up for Grabs (The American Muslim)

     Other Environment News

? Acidic Oceans Threatening Sea Life, UN Panel Says (REUTERS)

    ? UN Experts near Deal on Climate after Disputes (REUTERS)

    ? Reports by the UN Climate Panel(Reuters)

    ? Life returns to a dead sea (The Independent)

    ? Snowy forests 'increase warming' (BBC)

? Kazakhs get loan to save Aral Sea (BBC)

    ? Scientists' stark warning on reality of warmer world (The Guardian)

    ? Deforestation effects depend on location (Associated Press)

    ? Global Positioning System at the Mercy of Solar Flares (Environment News Service)

    ? CLIMATE CHANGE-US (Inter Press Service)

    ? Assureurs et constructeurs automobiles seront les plus pénalisés par le réchauffement

    climatique (LE MONDE )

    ? Pollution and stress blamed for poor China sperm count (Daily Nation)

    ? Australian, RI ministers talk on climate change (ANTARA News)

    ? DOE, UNDP LAUNCH PROGRAMS FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY (Financial Times)

    ? Africans Must Ratify Kyoto to Slow Desert Expansion - Conference (The Ethiopian

    Herald)

    ? Disease rising as Australia driesvironmental News from the UNEP Regions (

     Sunday

    Times Australia)

    ? Глобальное потепление неизбежно, утверждают эксперты (RIA Novosti)

    ? Am Ende gerettet (Der Tagesspiegel)

    ? Klimaschutz kostet Deutschland vier Milliarden Euro jährlich (Der Spiegel)

    ? ROAP

     Other UN News

    ? UN Daily News of 09 April 2007

    Communications and Public Information, P.O. Box 30552, Nairobi, Kenya

    Tel: (254-2) 623292/93, Fax: [254-2] 62 3927/623692, Email:cpiinfo@unep.org, http://www.unep.org

    ? S.G.‘s Spokesman Daily Press Briefing of 09 April 2007

    _____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________

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Earth Negotiation Bulletin:EIGHTH SESSION OF WORKING GROUP II OF THE

    INTERGOVERNMENTAL PANEL ON CLIMATE CHANGE:

2-6 APRIL 2007

    The eighth session of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group II

    took place at the Charlemagne Building, Brussels, Belgium, from 2-6 April 2007. The meeting

    was attended by 366 participants, including scientists and representatives from governments,

    UN agencies and non-governmental organizations. The meeting resulted in the acceptance of

    Working Group II‘s (WGII) contribution to the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), titled ―Climate Change 2007: Impacts, adaptation and vulnerability,‖ including approval of the

    Summary for Policy Makers (SPM) and acceptance of the underlying report and Technical

    Summary.

    The key findings of the SPM emphasize the observed and projected impacts of climate change,

    including accumulating evidence that changes in many physical and biological systems are

    linked to anthropogenic warming. According to the SPM, observed and projected impacts of

    climate change include various changes in the natural environment, flooding, and food and

    water shortages. Among other things, the SPM states that 20-30% of plant and animal species

    are likely to face extinction with temperature rises exceeding 1.5-2.5?C. It indicates that

    hundreds of millions of people will be exposed to increased water stress, many millions more

    people are projected to be exposed to flooding every year, and access to food in many African

    countries is projected to be severely compromised. The SPM also highlights other

    vulnerabilities and potential negative impacts of climate change on sustainable development. It

    states that adaptation will be necessary to the already unavoidable warming, but many impacts

    can be avoided, reduced or delayed by mitigation.

    The process leading to the adoption of the SPM was generally viewed as laborious. At the

    meeting, delegates addressed the five sections of the SPM, however they did not even consider

    the last two sections until after 10:00 pm on the final day of negotiations. The meeting was

    scheduled to end on Thursday, 5 April, with a press conference on Friday morning.

    Nevertheless, discussions on the SPM continued throughout the night and the SPM was

    finalized at 10:00 am on Friday morning and formally adopted that afternoon.

    A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE IPCC AND AR4 The IPCC was established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the

    United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The purpose of the IPCC is to assess the

    scientific, technical and socioeconomic information relevant to understanding the risks

    associated with human-induced climate change. The IPCC does not undertake new research, nor

    does it monitor climate-related data, but bases its assessments on published and peer-reviewed

    scientific and technical literature. The IPCC Secretariat is located in Geneva, Switzerland, and

    is staffed by the WMO and UNEP.

    The IPCC has three working groups: Working Group I (WGI) addresses the scientific aspects of

    the climate system and climate change; Working Group II (WGII) addresses the vulnerability of

    socioeconomic and natural systems to climate change, negative and positive consequences of

    climate change, and adaptation options; and Working Group III (WGIII) addresses options for

    limiting greenhouse gas emissions and otherwise mitigating climate change.

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    The IPCC also has a Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories. The Task Force oversees the IPCC National Greenhouse Gas Inventories Programme, which aims to develop and refine an internationally-agreed methodology and software for the calculation and reporting of national greenhouse gas emissions and removals, and to encourage the use of this methodology by countries participating in the IPCC and by United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) signatories. The IPCC Bureau, comprised of 30 members elected by the Panel, assists the IPCC Chair in planning, coordinating and monitoring progress in the work of the IPCC.

    Since its inception, the IPCC has prepared a series of comprehensive assessments, special reports and technical papers, which provide scientific information on climate change to the international community, including policymakers and the public. This information has played an important role in negotiations under the UNFCCC and in framing national and regional policies.

    The IPCC completed its initial comprehensive assessments of climate change in the First Assessment Report in 1990 and the Second Assessment Report in 1995. The IPCC‘s Third Assessment Report (TAR), completed in 2001, addresses policy-relevant scientific, technical, and socioeconomic dimensions of climate change, and concentrates on findings since 1995 at both regional and global levels. The TAR, which was subject to extensive review from experts and governments, is composed of a comprehensive assessment from the three IPCC working groups, a Summary for Policy Makers (SPM) and Technical Summary of each working group report, and a Synthesis Report. The IPCC‘s Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) is due to be completed in November 2007, in Valencia, Spain.

    Special reports prepared by the IPCC include the Special Report on Safeguarding the Ozone Layer and the Global Climate System, accepted at IPCC-23 (8 April 2005, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) and the Special Report on Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage, accepted at IPCC-24 (26-28 September 2005, Montreal, Canada).

    The IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories were first released in 1994, and a revised set was completed in 1996. In 2000 and 2003 the Panel approved additional good practice guidance reports that complement the Revised 1996 Guidelines. In 2006 the IPCC approved the 2006 IPCC Guidelines.

    AR4: The IPCC decided to continue preparing comprehensive assessment reports at IPCC-18

    (24-29 September 2001, London, UK). Subsequent meetings discussed the timing and other details of the report, with participants agreeing to late 2007 as the completion date for the AR4. The overall outline of the working groups‘ contributions to the AR4 was accepted at IPCC-21

    (19-21 February 2003, Paris, France). That same year, the scope and outline of AR4 were developed during two scoping meetings (April, Marrakesh, Morocco, and September, Potsdam, Germany), and the author teams were assembled. Another scoping meeting was held in 2004 in Geneva, Switzerland, on the AR4 Synthesis Report (SYR). IPCC-22 (9-11 November 2004,

    New Delhi, India) decided the SYR outline of topics to be addressed. At its 35th session, the IPCC Bureau agreed on the composition of the Core Writing Team and Review Editors for the SYR, and the list was presented to the Panel at IPCC-25 (26-28 April 2006, Port Louis,

    Mauritius).

    The AR4 is structured in three parts, one for each working group. The working groups‘

    contribution comprises the underlying assessment report, a Technical Summary, Executive Summary, and a Summary for Policymakers, which undergoes a thorough review process. The review process generally takes place in three stages: a first review by experts, a second review

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by experts and governments, and a third review by governments. In addition to the three

    working groups‘ contributions, the AR4 also comprises a Synthesis Report, which, like the

    SPMs, will be approved line-by-line by the IPCC. More than 2500 expert reviewers, 800

    authors, 450 lead authors, and 130 countries have participated in the elaboration of the AR4.

    WGI met in from 29 January to 1 February 2007, in Paris, France, and approved its contribution

    to the AR4, including the SPM, the Technical Summary and underlying reports. WGIII will

    meet in Bangkok, Thailand, from 30 April to 3 May 2007 to approve its contribution the AR4.

    The final AR4 is scheduled to be accepted at IPCC-27 in November 2007, in Valencia, Spain.

    EIGHTH IPCC WGII REPORT

    The eighth session of Working Group II of the IPCC opened in Brussels, Belgium, on Monday,

    2 April 2007. It was scheduled to conclude on Thursday 5 April 2007, but went over its allotted

    time and was officially closed at 1:46 pm on Friday, 6 April. During the four-and-a-half day

    meeting, delegates met in plenary, informally and in contact groups to consider the WGII

    contribution to the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report. By the end of the meeting, WGII had

    approved the Summary for Policy Makers (SPM) and accepted the underlying report and

    Technical Summary.

    This summary report of the meeting first addresses the opening ceremony and then the line-by-

    line approval of each section of the draft SPM, followed by the consideration and acceptance of

    the underlying report and Technical Summary, and the closing session.

    OPENING CEREMONY On Monday morning, WGII Co-Chair Osvaldo Canziani (Argentina) opened the session.

    Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt said Europe is leading the way in taking responsibility

    for global warming, and highlighted the European Council decisions on climate change.

    Stressing the role of the IPCC in shaping public opinion, and noting past public confusion due

    to mixed messages on climate change, Verhofstadt said that the IPCC has ended the climate

    change debate with WGI clearly stating that global warming is an incontestable fact and human

    activities are responsible for it. Noting that taxes are one of the governments most powerful

    tools, Verhofstadt urged a shift from property and labor taxation towards consumption and

    pollution taxation.

    Stavros Dimas, European Commissioner for the Environment, highlighted the ―historic‖

    European Council decisions, which he said will have an impact not only climate change, but

    also on EU‘s energy security and economic competitiveness. Dimas underscored the need for

    international cooperation and a new treaty after the Kyoto Protocol‘s first commitment period.

    He called for differentiated emissions targets for developed and developing countries, noting

    that developing countries that reach economic development levels similar to developed

    countries should assume commitments. Stressing the need for the US and Australia to make

    commitments and collaborate, he said negotiations should be launched at the next UNFCCC

    meeting to be held in Bali in November 2007. Dimas stressed that deforestation must be halted

    within two decades and then reversed. He explained that emissions from aviation will be

    included in the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) and noted interest from

    California to link its carbon trading initiative to the EU ETS.

    Hong Yan, WMO, commended the solid reputation of the IPCC and the importance of its

    previous reports for the negotiations on the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol, and for national

    and regional climate policies. He hoped that this meeting would provide a useful forum for

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dialogue between the experts who have prepared the WGII report and its main users.

    Highlighting the importance of outreach activities, he urged participants to distribute

    information contained in AR4 to decision-makers at all levels.

    IPCC Chair Rajendra Pachauri underscored the serious implications of the complex and wide

    set of changes in climate identified by WGI for natural and social systems around the globe.

    Stressing new information since the TAR, he highlighted the importance of the WGII report in

    identifying linkages between climate change and sustainable development around the world,

    and for the implementation of adaptation and mitigation measures.

    Renate Christ, IPCC Secretary, read a welcome address from UNEP Executive Director Achim

    Steiner, noting that AR4 comes at a defining moment in the climate change debate and

    underscoring WGI‘s contribution, which conclusively answered the question of whether

    humans are affecting the climate. In the message, Steiner highlighted the WGII draft

    contribution to the AR4 and overwhelming evidence on escalating negative impacts, and

    welcomed the focus on adaptation as complementary to mitigation.

    Delegates approved the agenda (WG-II:8

    th/Doc.1).

    Co-Chair Canziani, noted that the WGII report is based on the work of 174 Lead Authors, 222

    contributing authors and the participation of 1183 experts. He presented an overview of changes

    in the WGII contributions since the First Assessment Report, highlighting the introduction of

    cross-cutting issues and sectors, information on sustainable development, cost-benefit analyses

    and methodologies. He drew attention to the integrated analysis in the AR4, which he said has

    improved but needs to be further developed.

    WGII Co-Chair Martin Parry (UK) noted the TAR recommendations for AR4 that had been

    taken up insofar as possible, including incorporating: more quantified assessments; more

    complete regional coverage; more about context, multiple stresses and sustainable development;

    the role of adaptation and of mitigation; assessment of thresholds and non-linearities; and more

    on currently observed effects. He highlighted greater use of empirical studies rather than models,

    and the incorporation of information on impacts of inaction and how effects might vary under

    different development pathways. Co-Chair Parry also recalled IPCC decisions that had been

    implemented, such as making the WGII contribution more concise, establishing better

    connections with work done by WGI and WGIII, and making wider use of non-English and

    ―grey‖ (government and NGO reports) literature.

    Co-Chair Parry announced that Lead Author presentations, explaining the underlying text for

    each section, would be given as appropriate during discussions.

    SUMMARY FOR POLICYMAKERS

    Assisted by the nearly 50 Lead Authors, WGII discussed the SPM line-by-line in plenary, in

    small drafting groups and in contact groups for the rest of the week. Discussions were based on

    the draft SPM (WG-II:8th/Doc.2a) with a number of changes introduced to reflect comments by

    governments and organizations (WG-II:8th/INF.1). Discussions and key outcomes of the SPM

    are summarized below based on the structure of the approved SPM, which includes the

    following sections:

    A Introduction;

    B Current knowledge about observed impacts of climate

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     change on the natural and human environment;

    C Current knowledge about future impacts;

    D Current knowledge about responding to climate change; and

    E Systematic observing and research needs.

    The final text of the WGII SPM can be downloaded from the IPCC website at http://www.ipcc.ch.

    A INTRODUCTION: The introductory section was approved on Monday afternoon with minor amendments.

    Final Text: This short section explains that WGII‘s contribution to the AR4 is to describe

    current scientific understanding of impacts of climate change on natural, managed and human

    systems, their capacity to adapt and their vulnerability. The introduction clarifies that the

    findings build on past IPCC assessments and incorporate new knowledge since the TAR.

    B CURRENT KNOWLEDGE ABOUT OBSERVED IMPACTS OF CLIMATE

    CHANGE ON THE NATURAL AND HUMAN ENVIRONMENT: This section was first

    addressed by plenary on Monday morning, and discussions continued in plenary, contact groups

    and informal discussion until Friday morning. Discussions focused, inter alia, on the title of the

    section, reference to WGI findings, reference to data gaps, and confidence levels.

    In introducing the section, Co-Chair Parry highlighted inequitable spatial coverage and stressed

    focus on the effects of observed changes.

    The title of Section B was considered on Monday morning. Criticizing the proposed title

    ―current knowledge about observed impacts in natural, managed and human systems‖ as too

    academic, the UK suggested simplifying the language, and also removing the wording ―current knowledge.‖ Co-Chair Parry said that reference to ―current knowledge‖ in various sections of

    the SPM was meant to explain the nature of the IPCC‘s work. After informal lunchtime

    consultations, WGII agreed to the new title referring to the ―natural and human environment.‖

    On text referring to WGI findings, France expressed concerns over wording on ―long-term‖

    climate changes, and stressed that focus should be on recent and future changes. The UK

    proposed emphasizing that the recent warming is connected to human activities. Suggesting

    reference to ―last 50 years,‖ the Russian Federation highlighted that changes between the 1910s

    and 1940s are more difficult to attribute to human activities than those between the 1970s and

    today. Having consulted informally, delegates agreed to indicate that a full consideration of

    observed climate change is provided in the WGI contribution to AR4.

    On a sentence on the scope of the section, the US said the language should reflect the difference

    between changes in climate, and changes in the natural systems. After some clarification on

    when the terms ―observed‖ and ―recent‖ referred to changes in climate or natural systems,

    delegates agreed to modified text proposed by Co-Chair Parry..

    Delegates discussed a paragraph on the increase in studies since the TAR, including how to

    refer to limitations in coverage. When first considering the question in plenary on Monday, the

    US suggested a general reference to the paucity of coverage in many regions, instead of singling

    out Africa and Southeast Asia. Saint Lucia, supported by New Zealand, proposed adding a

    reference to small islands. Switzerland, opposed by the UK, proposed referring to limitations

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    and caveats only in a later section. Based on the discussion, Co-Chair Parry introduced new text on Tuesday morning, which also referred to improved data quality in developed countries. Pakistan stressed that data has not improved in all developed countries. Co-Chair Parry, opposed by Morocco, suggested reference to North America and Europe. Saint Lucia proposed to add the Caribbean to the list of regions with data gaps. The US opposed, saying that the list reflected the underlying chapters where the Caribbean is not listed. The UK proposed saying ―some developing countries,‖ with Sudan, South Africa and others preferring maintaining reference to specific regions. The final text refers to lack of geographical balance and ―marked scarcity in developing countries.‖

    A bold header, which stated with ―very high confidence‖ that many natural systems, in all

    continents and some oceans, are being affected by regional climate changes, particularly temperature increases, was discussed in plenary and in a contact group co-chaired by Belgium and Sudan.

    China, supported by Saudi Arabia, proposed changing the statement‘s confidence level from ―very high confidence‖ to ―high confidence.‖ France, Austria, Belgium, UK, US, Germany, Canada and others opposed changing the confidence level from what had been assessed by the Lead Authors. The UK, opposed by China, proposed using a likelihood statement noting that the impacts are ―very likely.‖

    The Lead Authors restated their ―very high confidence‖ on the statement. They explained the rationale that when independent lines of evidence, each having a similar outcome and each carrying ―high confidence‖ by themselves, are evaluated collectively, they imply a much higher confidence due to their consistent conclusion.

    The question was returned to plenary early on Friday morning. The Lead Authors elaborated on the scientific basis for the statement. Saying that scientists in his delegation disagreed, China, supported by Saudi Arabia, continued to oppose the ―very high‖ confidence level. The Lead

    Authors requested that if the ―very‖ were removed, a footnote be inserted noting that the authors

    do not agree with the statement and that the authors have ―very high‖ confidence that natural systems are being affected by regional climate change. They added that having a government questioning widely-employed and sound methodologies and then putting into question the work of Lead Authors was unprecedented in the IPCC, and asked to record a formal protest. When the matter was taken up again at the end of the meeting, the US suggested deleting the confidence level and leaving the rest of the statement. Japan, with the Lead Authors ―strongly supporting,‖ called for inserting a footnote stating the Lead Authors‘ views that the statement carried a very high confidence level. In the final text, the confidence level has been omitted and no footnote has been included.

    A paragraph relating to snow, ice and frozen ground was considered on Monday and Tuesday,

    with delegates discussing glacier lake outbursts, reference to ―physical systems,‖ and ground instability.

    Germany asked about the basis for selecting glacial lakes, ground instability and polar regions as the examples. A Lead Author replied that the three selected cases are the most relevant ones. China questioned whether this was the right place to refer to other important potential impacts, such as increased risk of glacial lake outburst floods. France, Peru and Pakistan proposed their inclusion, but the Lead Authors indicated there is no evidence in the literature, and Co-Chair Parry elaborated that the problem is establishing the relationship with climate change. Tajikistan noted existing literature in Russian.

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On ground instability in permafrost regions, the UK indicated that the crucial distinction was

    one between direct and indirect impacts, rather than physical and non-physical environments.

    Using bird nesting time as an example, Co-Chair Parry responded that there may not be enough

    of a knowledge-base to tease out second and third order impacts.

    On the overall structure of the paragraph, Co-Chair Parry proposed first summarizing WGI

    conclusions on changes in physical systems, and then stating that WGII has high confidence

    that these changes in regions of snow, ice and frozen ground are affecting natural systems, for

    example, through the enlargement and increased numbers of glacial lakes, increasing ground

    instability of permafrost regions, and rock avalanches. Austria drew attention to the different

    spheres, with the US stating that this discussion only related to the cryosphere and proposing

    deleting reference to physical systems. Colombia proposed discussing direct and indirect

    impacts without explaining the physical systems. The paragraph was deferred to informal

    consultations. After informal consultations, WGII agreed to text introduced on Tuesday

    morning that omitted reference to ―physical systems‖ and included some other small changes.

    Concerning changes in hydrological systems, the issues discussed focused on the confidence level, how to best express the number and significance of systems involved, and what was

    meant by ―systems.‖ On the level of confidence, the US proposed using ―emerging evidence,‖

    while Austria, Norway and others preferred retaining the proposed wording ―high confidence.‖ WGII agreed to text combining both propositions. Discussions on whether ―some‖ or ―many‖

    systems are affected were resolved after the Lead Authors explained that four of at least ten

    types of systems were affected, and Saudi Arabia proposed language on the ―following‖ types

    of systems, followed by a list. Switzerland, opposed by Norway, proposed specific reference to

    the Alps and Andes, with WGII deciding not to include it. Germany and Egypt highlighted sea-

    level rise. Ireland proposed, and WGII agreed to, language saying ―around the world‖ to refer to

    the range of the effects.

    On changes in biological systems, Germany proposed, and WGII agreed, to reinsert language

    from the Technical Summary stating that recent warming is strongly affecting terrestrial and

    biological systems. WGII also agreed to a US proposal to delete reference to increasing

    atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations, and to a proposal by Switzerland to refer instead to

    recent warming. Reference to ―thermal‖ growing seasons was included after Zimbabwe

    underscored shorter growing seasons and decreased yield production in Africa.

    On changes in marine and freshwater biological systems, WGII agreed to a US proposal to include reference to ―substantial new evidence‖ on observed changes being associated with

    rising water temperatures. Noting that two out of three examples have ―high confidence,‖ China

    asked about the basis for stating ―very high confidence‖ in the chapeau. Australia highlighted

    the need to err on the conservative side to avoid the impression that the IPCC has overstated

    confidence levels, and WGII agreed to ―high confidence‖ language.

    On ocean acidification, delegates considered the link between acidity of ocean waters and

    increased absorption of atmospheric carbon dioxide. China questioned reference to modeled

    evidence. Opposed by Austria, Co-Chair Parry proposed and WGII agreed to delete mention of

    modeled evidence. Noting the WGI report, China, opposed by Norway, suggested removing the

    entire statement on ocean acidification. Delegates agreed to a new wording that indicates that

    since 1750 oceans have become more acidic.

    On global assessment data, Co-Chair Parry explained that, in response to government

    comments, a box on using climate models and spatial pattern analysis in linking the causes of climate change to observed effects in natural systems was removed. A Lead Author presented

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the sets of evidence used on a global scale assessment of data since 1970 showing that it is

    likely that anthropogenic warming has had a discernible influence on many physical and

    biological systems.

    On a statement on consistency between changes in physical and biological systems and

    warming, delegates discussed numbers and text in plenary and in three contact group meetings.

    Responding to questions from China, Australia, the US and others, the Lead Authors detailed

    the data-selection process and explained the statistical significance of the data sets. Delegates

    agreed to insert a footnote describing the selection process of the 29,000 data series, from about

    80,000 data series from 577 studies. China questioned a statement noting that ―more than 90%‖

    of the 29,000 data series is consistent with warming. After further clarification from the Lead

    Authors, delegates agreed to refer to ―more than 89%.‖

    On text noting agreement between observed system responses and anthropogenic warming in

    modeling studies, Belgium proposed and WGII agreed to insert language explaining natural and

    anthropogenic forcing. Several other suggestions were made to clarify the language and to make

    it consistent with that used by WGI.‖

    Discussions on a paragraph on effects of temperature increases on managed and human

    systems focused on reference to coastal zones, present impacts and adaptation, and

    consideration of other variables than temperature change. Colombia, supported by France, the

    US, Spain, Niger and Argentina underscored the importance of emphasizing adaptation to

    present effects and which impacts can be addressed by adaptation. Austria said the language

    should clarify that it refers only to temperature changes. France said text was needed explaining

    why other variables had not been used. Co-Chair Parry noted that the assessment had only been

    done with respect to temperature. South Africa expressed concern about the lack of

    representation of Africa in the section. Germany and Spain proposed, and WGII agreed, to

    include the effects of sea-level rise.

    Final Text: The final text explains that the focus of Section B is on the relationship between observed climate change and recent observed changes in the natural and human environment. It

    highlights new and improved data since the TAR, allowing a broader and more confident

    assessment.

    The SPM states that many natural systems are affected by regional climate changes, based on

    observational evidence from all continents and most oceans. The text provided statements and

    examples concerning changes in: snow, ice and frozen ground; hydrological systems; terrestrial

    biological systems; marine and freshwater biological systems; and ocean acidification.

    Section B also states, on the basis of global data since 1970, that anthropogenic warming has

    had a discernible influence on many physical and biological systems. It explains evidence

    underlying this finding, and identifies limitations and gaps preventing more complete

    assessment.

    The text also indicates that other effects of regional climate changes on natural and human

    environments are emerging but they are difficult to discern due to adaptation and non-climatic

    drivers. It provides some detailed examples of such effects.

    C CURRENT KNOWLEDGE ABOUT FUTURE IMPACTS: The section on future

    impacts was first addressed by the plenary on Tuesday evening, and discussions continued in

    plenary, contact groups and informal discussion until Friday morning. Issues discussed included

    the structure of the section, which resulted in a decision to add text on adaptation.

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