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The IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report: What’s in it for Africa?

Briefing/policy paper

Written by Elizabeth Carabine, Alberto Lemma, Mairi Dupar, Lindsey Jones

Briefing/policy paper

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has produced the most comprehensive assessment of climate change ever. The Fifth Assessment Report, released gradually between September 2013 and November 2014, is the work of 830 expert authors, from 85 countries. Its first three volumes already stretch to 5,000+ pages.

The assessment reviews the scientific evidence on the trends and causes of climate change, the risks to human and natural systems, and options for adaptation and mitigation. The IPCC aims to be “policy relevant but not policy prescriptive”. Its findings further our understanding of how we are affecting the global climate and what we can do about it.

Now the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (www.cdkn.org) and ODI have released a succinct guide to the assessment for decision-makers in Africa.

The IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report: What’s in it for Africa? distils the richest material on climate impacts and trends in Africa, and African experiences in adaptation and mitigation, from the thousands of pages of the Fifth Assessment Report. The expert research team has worked under the guidance of IPCC Coordinating Lead Authors and Reviewers to ensure fidelity to the original material.

The IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report: What’s in it for Africa? aims to make the IPCC’s important material more accessible and usable to African audiences. This guide responds to wide demand for region-specific information.

The guide is part of a suite of materials to promote the key findings of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report. Forthcoming companion volumes will provide a digest of IPCC findings for: South Asia; Latin America; and Small Island Developing States. Please visit www.cdkn.org/ar5-toolkit from 16 July 2014, to access a range of resources, including free-to-use images and infographics.

The IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report offers the following key messages for Africa:

·         Africa’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 Africa

·         Adaptation will bring immediate benefits and reduce the impacts of climate change in Africa

·         Adaptation is fundamentally about risk management

·         Adaptation experience in Africa is growing

·         Some low-carbon development options may be less costly in the long run and could offer new economic opportunities for Africa

·         Africa stands to benefit from integrated climate adaptation, mitigation and development approaches

·         International cooperation is vital to avert dangerous climate change and African governments can promote ambitious global action.

Elizabeth Carabine and Alberto Lemma (ODI), with Mairi Dupar and Lindsey Jones (ODI), Yacob Mulugetta (University of Surrey), Nicola Ranger (DFID) and Maarten van Aalst (Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre).