Reading the IPCC 4th Assessment Report for Human Impacts
Working in groups, students investigate sections the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report. Each group focuses on a particular continent or region, evaluating both the Physical Science Basis, and the Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability sections of the report.
-Demystification of the IPCC report (prior to this point, students are overwhelmed by the knowledge that it is hundreds of pages long).
-Understanding of the degree of variability of projected climate change for different regions around the globe.
-Understanding of the wide differences in human impacts dependent on region, economies, agricultural practices, and health care.
Context for Use
Description and Teaching Materials
The document is separated into packets for each group, which include the Executive Summary of Chapter 11, and the section on that group's continent or region (e.g. Australia and New Zealand, South America, Europe, Polar regions, etc), including text and figures. Each group then works with materials on their region to develop a brief Powerpoint presentation for the class. In their presentation, they discuss the overall projected trends for the region under the different emissions scenarios, as well as the uncertainties for that region.
Following the presentations, each group is given the text and figures for their region from the Working Group II contribution on Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability.
Their second investigation leads to briefer report-outs, followed by full-class discussion of "Climate Hot-Spots" - regions of the world where extreme climate impacts coincide with highly vulnerable populations.
Teaching Notes and Tips
References and Resources