The fourth part of the IPCC (you might have missed that they shared the Nobel peace prize with Al Gore) mega report on global warming an climate change has been released today. For a group that has already been shown to be over conservative in their estimates (mostly because of political pressures) The Synthesis Report forms the final part of “Climate Change 2007”, the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report. Earlier this year, the IPCC released the other three reports: “The physical science basis” (February 07); “Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability” (April 07); “Mitigation of Climate Change” (May 07). The science related to climate change is vast and complex, and the IPCC has worked with scientists around the world to collect, assess and process the body of solid and up-to-date scientific literature. All this information is contained in the first three volumes of “Climate Change 2007”.
The Synthesis Report goes one step further: it is the decisive effort to integrate and compact this wealth of information into a readable and concise document explicitly targeted to the policymakers. The Synthesis Report also brings in relevant parts some material contained in the full Working Group Reports over and above what is included in the Summary for Policymakers in these three Reports. It is designed to be a powerful, scientifically authoritative document of high policy relevance, which will be a major contribution to the discussions at the 13th Conference of the Parties in Bali during December 2007. In fact, this Conference was postponed to December to allow the IPCC Synthesis Report to come out first. Like all the other IPCC reports, this text has undergone a multi-stage review process.
The week in Valencia, where delegations from most countries of the world will attend the plenary, will approve the final report. The report will constitute the core source of factual information about climate change to base their political action upon in the coming years. The report will be launched during the press conference on 17 November 2007 (watch it live here, download the powerpoint they are showing here. zip). The Opening Ceremony of the IPCC Plenary session for the adoption of the Synthesis report is open to the press. It will take place on Monday, 12 November 2007.
So what do they say? What do they recommend we all do. In essence they recommend we get off our asses and take strong action now, or else we are in essence screwed. They lay out methodically what the science is, what the current situation is, and where we are headed if we don’t do anything. You can read the full report here (pdf), it is stark, blunt, and in a very real way terrifying. It presents a scenario in which unless we take rapid action this world could be uninhabitable to billions of its human residents.
All of this is the “moderated” version, the version that has been scaled down do to political infighting. So in short now is the time to call your congress person, now is the time to buy that hybrid, now is the time to turn the thermostat down, now is the time to demand bike lanes, use efficient lights, plant that garden, and the million other things you can do to help the planet. I say now is the time, because if we wait too long we wont have any time left.