IPCC AR6 Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability 

Adaptation Measures Central to Climate Response

IPCC AR6 Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability 

Climate change is impacting us already, exacerbating flooding events, driving stronger heatwave events, and severely affecting biodiversity. Many of these impacts are compound events, with heatwaves accompanying drought, or result in cascading impacts on critical infrastructure necessary for human wellbeing.

Our knowledge of future climate, in both the near-term and long-term, is informed by climate models. ICHEC, in collaboration with the EPA and Met Éireann, runs simulations that feed directly into IPCC’s Working Group 1 (on the Physical Science Basis, published in August 2021), thereby informing Working Group 2 on Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. 

Our modelling on supercomputers will inform upcoming iterations of IPCC reports. Currently, most plausible future climate projections show that further climate change is almost inevitable, and so adaptation measures are needed now to manage this. 

Adaptation has received greater attention from governments at all levels, as well as within the business sector, among communities, and civil society. However, according to the report, there has been little evidence to date of adaptation measures that have verifiably reduced climate impacts. The report calls for more effort on addressing the root causes of vulnerabilities, and that we be aware of the limits of adaptation measures such as where ecosystems can no longer adapt to such rapid change, or when coastal communities are no longer safe due to sea-level rise and coastal flooding.

A greater focus is drawn to transformative adaptation, where society works together to transform practice in sectors like energy, agriculture, or transport, and indeed across sectors in unison. Commissions have been established in many countries, including Ireland, to guide transformative adaptation in an equitable manner, a process known as ‘Just Transition’ to create new employment opportunities for people and to preserve communities and places together.

The new report also draws attention to the co-benefits and synergies of adaptation measures with mitigation objectives. For example, changes in land-use to promote much more afforestation could bring new ecosystem services such as sustaining biodiversity as well as carbon sequestration. Nature-based solutions for a better urban climate can reduce flooding, provide a cleaner and more beautiful environment, and bring nature into the city. Our infrastructure will become more efficient and resilient, and more smartly integrated into urban and rural life.

Lastly, among many other changes, the new report clarifies the importance of the timely planning of climate change measures, making the costs of delayed action manifest and stark. It makes it very clear that adaptation measures are central to our whole climate response, better enabling our societies to help with the transition to decarbonisation and achievement of climate resilience, both at home and overseas.

Ireland has made more progress in recent years than it has in decades on climate change, and as part of that effort, ICHEC contributes toward the EPA’s 5 Year Assessment on Climate Change. This national report includes its own volume on the impacts of climate change on Ireland and adaptation measures required to address them. This national assessment will be informed by best practices and concepts in the new Working Group 2 report published today, and supports Ireland’s transition to a carbon-neutral and climate-resilient, responsible member of the global community.




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