Implications of the IPCC 5th Assessment Reports on the Science and Impacts of Climate Change

Professor Janette Lindesay

Fenner School of Environment & Society, and ANU Climate Change Institute
Australian National University, Canberra, Australia


The recently released 5th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change highlight the developments in our understanding of climate change science, the importance of ongoing observations of key climate indicators (including temperature and rainfall), and developments in projecting future anthropogenic climate change. They also document the ongoing, and in many cases accelerating, impacts of global warming on key components of the Earth system (e.g. the oceans and the biosphere), on regions (e.g. high latitude and high altitude areas), on ecosystems, on extreme events such as tropical storms, and on human society. Finally, they explore the rapidly expanding areas of adaptation to climate change, and strategies for mitigating emissions in order to reduce the magnitude of future climate impacts.
This presentation focuses on key findings from the IPCC 5th Assessment Report, putting these findings on climate change into the context of current research in Earth system sustainability and planetary boundaries as these are expressed in the Future Earth initiative. Discussion of the emerging international framework of the UN Sustainable Development Goals is also a focus. Implications of current thinking about climate change in the context of sustainability are explored using examples from the Asia-Pacific region.