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In New Report, IPCC Gets More Specific About Warming Risks

The latest report on climate impacts from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) sounds a familiar warning: Climate change is already stressing human communities, agriculture, and natural ecosystems, and the effects are likely to increase in the future. But unlike the last edition, issued in 2007, this year's report is meant to be a practical guide to action. It goes out of its way to highlight the greatest risks, and draws on an emerging body of social science to suggest how policymakers might take practical steps to help communities adapt.

"The reframing of the report in terms of managing risk is a very good one," says geographer Susan Cutter, an expert on disasters at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, who reviewed part of the report, unveiled by the IPCC's Working Group II on 31 March. "I don't know of any other previous effort to rank the risks of climate change," says IPCC lead author Michael Oppenheimer of Princeton University. "We hope that will help policymakers make investment decisions on adaptation."

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