(CDKN) The Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX) was commissioned by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in response to a recognised need to provide specific advice on climate change, extreme weather and climate events (‘climate extremes’). The SREX report was written over two and a half years, compiled by 220 expert authors, 19 review editors and taking account of almost 19,000 comments. It went through three rigorous drafting processes with expert and government review. The findings were approved by the world’s governments following a four-day meeting, where the Summary for Policy Makers was agreed. It thus provides the most complete scientific assessment available to date and describes the immediate and long-term action required to manage the risks we face. It comprises a policy summary released in November 2011 and the full report released in March 2012 (available online at http://ipcc-wg2.gov/srex).
This thematic brief summarises the key findings of the report relevant to ecosystems. It draws exclusively on material from SREX. It includes an assessment of the science and the implications for society and sustainable development. It is intended to be useful for policy makers, decision takers and planners locally, nationally and regionally. It recognises that these readers will have many competing calls on both their time and budgets. It thus seeks to highlight key thematic findings and learning from SREX. It makes suggestions for immediate action to avoid further damage and to build a more resilient future with benefits that go beyond ecosystems.
Although not an official publication of the IPCC, this summary has been written under the supervision of co-authors of the SREX report and it has been thoroughly reviewed by an expert panel. The summary includes material directly taken from the SREX report, where the underlying source is clearly referenced, but it also presents synthesis messages that are the views of the authors of this summary and not necessarily those of the IPCC. It is hoped that the result will illuminate the SREX report’s vital findings for decision makers working on ecosystems, and so better equip them to make sound decisions about managing disaster risk in this context. This brief is one of four thematic briefs of the SREX report – on water, health, agriculture and ecosystems – that can be read individually or as a suite. There are also three regional SREX summaries for Africa, Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean, which provide further information as a rapid reference source.
SREX considered the effects of climate change on extreme events, disasters, disaster risk reduction (DRR) and disaster risk management (DRM). It examined how climate extremes, human factors and the environment interact to influence disaster impacts and risk management and adaptation options. The report considered the role of development in exposure and vulnerability, the implications for disaster risk and DRM, and the interactions between extreme events, extreme impacts, and development. It examined how human responses to extreme events and disasters could contribute to adaptation objectives, and how adaptation to climate change could become better integrated with DRM practice. The report represents a significant step forward for the integration and harmonisation of the climate change adaptation, disaster risk management, and climate science communities.