[Iag-list] Get key research into the IPCC assessment of climate change challenges

Lauren Rickards lauren.rickards at rmit.edu.au
Mon Feb 4 07:14:14 AEDT 2019

Hi Geographers,

If you could deliver a message to world leaders on climate change, what would it be? Whatever its limitations, the IPCC remains an influential voice among decision makers. Its role is to synthesise what research tells us about the climate change challenge. As such, it only reports on published literature. This means that the messages it delivers are significantly determined by what we and others have published (in academic or grey literature) and that IPCC authors can locate.

The next Assessment Report of Working Group II on Impacts, Vulnerability and Adaptation is underway. It is due for release in 2021, which will clearly be a crucial time in terms of action on climate change. https://www.ipcc.ch/report/sixth-assessment-report-working-group-ii/

There is a real need to make sure that your most powerful, relevant research is in the literature and made known to IPCC authors such as myself for inclusion (noting that only a small proportion of literature reviewed is actually cited due to the extreme word limits).

So – if you have some relevant research you are sitting on or could accelerate, now is the time to get it out there! The last harvest of literature will take place around early 2020 so this – 2019 - is the year to publish. Also, if you know of existing key literature (especially hard-to-find reports) on relevant topics from 2014 onwards, please send it through. Synthesis and review articles, as well as empirical studies, are especially useful.

You can find the list of the chapters and authors for the WGII report here:  https://archive.ipcc.ch/report/authors/report.authors.php?q=36&p=&p

I’m a Lead Author for the Australasia chapter (which is on Australia and NZ only – a regional bounding decision that raises many human geog questions..) and will be looking for key geographical research to help our chapters’ cross-disciplinary assessment of the many ways climate change is affecting and will affect our region. As we all know, a geographical perspective offers vital insights into climate change challenges.

Although the IPCC will emphasise that an absence of published evidence around a given impact or issue, for example, does not equate to its absence in the real world (particularly given the funding challenges that climate change research can face), attention will inevitably be drawn to those areas where there is most evidence and the strongest messages because it is this research that makes it through to the summaries for policy makers and synthesis report. ie more publications = more potential, positive impact on policy.

The WGIII report on mitigation is also underway (due for release 2021) https://www.ipcc.ch/report/sixth-assessment-report-working-group-3/and will be similarly looking for relevant literature, building on the powerful ‘game changing’ Special Report on limiting average global warming to 1.50C.https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/

Similarly, WG1 on the physical science basis of climate change (past, present and future) is also underway and combing the literature for key research https://www.ipcc.ch/report/sixth-assessment-report-working-group-i/

Get in touch if you'd like anymore info, and of course if you have key literature to send through, either now or when it is published. Hopefully the coming year will see an explosion in quality geographical literature that speaks powerfully to our growing climate change challenges... There is certainly no dearth of issues demanding attention.


Dr Lauren Rickards

Associate Professor, Sustainability & Urban Planning

Co-leader, Climate Change & Resilience Research Prog., Centre for Urban Research http://cur.org.au/people/<http://cur.org.au/research-programs/climate-change-and-resilience/>
Co-leader, RMIT Regional Futures Network, https://regionalfuturesnetwork.wordpress.com/
Co-convenor, Nature, Risk and Resilience Study Group, Institute of Australian Geographers
Lead Author, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Sixth Assessment Report, Working Group II
Book Review Editor, Dialogues in Human Geography, http://dhg.sagepub.com/
ph. 0427 679 043
Some recent publications
Schlosberg, D., Rickards, L., and Byrne, J. (2018) Environmental justice and attachment to place: Australian cases. In Holifield, R., Chakraborty, J. & Walker, G. (eds) The Routledge Handbook of Environmental Justice. Routledge, London, 591-602.<https://www.routledge.com/The-Routledge-Handbook-of-Environmental-Justice/Holifield-Chakraborty-Walker/p/book/9781138932821>
Rickards, L. and Oppermann, E. (2018) Battling the tropics to settle a nation: negotiating multiple energies, frontiers and feedback loops in Australia. Energy Research and Social Science 41: 97-108. <https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214629618304158>
Oppermann, E., Strengers, Y., Maller, C., Rickards, L. and Brearley, M. (2018) Beyond threshold approaches to extreme heat: repositioning adaptation as everyday practice. Weather, Climate, and Society 10: 885-898.<https://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/WCAS-D-17-0084.1>

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