Kristie L. Ebi is Executive Director of the Technical Support Unit for Working Group II (Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Prior to this position, she was an independent consultant. She has been conducting research on the impacts of and adaptation to climate change for more than a dozen years, including on extreme events, thermal stress, foodborne safety and security, and vectorborne diseases. She has worked with the World Health Organization, the United Nations Development Programme, USAID, and others on implementing adaptation measures in low-income countries. She facilitated adaptation assessments for the health sector for the states of Maryland and Alaska. She was a lead author on the “Human Health” chapter of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, and the “Human Health” chapter for the U.S. Synthesis and Assessment Product “Analyses of the Effects of Global Change on Human Health and Welfare and Human Systems.” She has edited fours books on aspects of climate change and has more than 80 publications. Dr. Ebi’s scientific training includes an M.S. in toxicology and a Ph.D. and a Masters of Public Health in epidemiology, and two years of postgraduate research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Overview (Health and Adaptation) - IPCC 5th Assessment Report
During the IPCC 5th Assessment cycle, Working Group II (WGII; Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability) in collaboration with Working Group I (Climate Science) will lead a Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX). The SREX will focus on climate change and its role in altering the frequency, severity, and impact of extreme events or disasters, and on the costs of both impacts and the actions taken to prepare for, respond to, and recover from extreme events and disasters. The emphasis will be on understanding the factors that make people and infrastructure vulnerable to extreme events, on recent and future changes in the relationship between climate change and extremes, and on managing the risks of disasters, over a wide range of spatial and temporal scales. The assessment will consider a broad suite of adaptations, ranging from early warning to insurance to altered infrastructure and social safety nets. It will also explore the limits to adaptation, the conditions that can transition adaptation into maladaptation, and the human and financial consequences of those limits. The 9 chapters include one chapter on impacts and three on adaptation. The SREX will be completed in September 2011.
The overall structure of the WGII Contribution to the 5th Assessment Report is parallel in most respects to the WGII contribution to the AR4; it will consist of a number of global chapters focused on sectors, global chapters focused on multi-sector topics, and regional chapters that provide a synthesis of climate-change issues at the regional scale. It will build on new knowledge to make several important advances:
- Improved integration of climate science with climate impacts, especially in areas where the impacts can provide strong feedbacks to the climate system, including land and ocean carbon cycles, exchanges of other greenhouse gases, and ice.
- Assessing new impact studies, including multi-model comparisons and validation against observations.
- Broadening the range of assessed impacts, with increasing coverage of oceans, security, indirect impacts, and interactive impacts.
- Assessing impacts of climate change in the context of other stresses, including stresses related to development status, economic base, infrastructure, geopolitical setting, land use, and ecological resources.
- Building on the conclusions of the SREX to provide a more comprehensive and detailed assessment of the role of extremes and disasters.
- Framing the assessment of impacts in the context of information to support good decisions, with an emphasis on assessing and managing risk.
- Expanding the coverage of adaptation to include more information on consequences, experiences with mainstreaming, and decision support for adaptation strategies.
- Integrating impacts, adaptation, and mitigation with common currencies and common frameworks, emphasizing not only the costs of adaptation and mitigation but also the benefits of the avoided damages.
- Exploring the interaction of climate change with development.
- Improving the treatment of regional aspects of climate change, reducing redundancy with sectoral chapters and increasing integration of climate science, impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability.
The outline includes 20 global/sectoral chapters and 10 regional chapters. As part of a comprehensive effort to enhance the relevance of the regional chapters, the WGII assessment will be published in 2 parts, with part A containing the global and sectoral chapters, and part B containing the regional chapters. A single summary for policymakers and a single technical summary will cover both parts. Human health (Chapter 11) assesses the role of climate change in determinants of health and health outcomes, including direct effects of heat and mortality from climate-related extreme weather events (link to SR Extremes), infectious diseases, malnutrition, and impacts related to water availability or quality (link to WGI).
The four chapters on adaptation are structured to complement the treatment of adaptation in the sectoral and regional chapters that address sector-specific and region-specific experiences with adaptation, opportunities for improving adaptation, constraints on adaptation, maladaptation, and interactions with development. The global treatment assesses the same issues in the context of multiple, interacting sectors, as well as lessons learned across adaptation and development activities in different regions and sectors. Chapter 14, "Adaptation needs and options" synthesizes the existing literature on needs and options for multi-sector adaptation and assesses the plans and tools for evaluating adaptation. This chapter develops the conceptual foundations for identifying co-benefits and maladaptation. Chapter 15, on "Adaptation planning and implementation" addresses the nuts and bolts of adaptation, from planning through execution, to evaluation. This chapter considers the role of institutions, governance, options for finance, and development, at a range of spatial scales and for a range of objectives. Chapter 16, on "Adaptation opportunities, constraints, and limits" assesses the rapidly expanding literature on the limits to adaptation, a critical theme for adaptation/mitigation interactions. Chapter 17, on "Economics of adaptation" assesses formal and conceptual studies on the economics of adaptation, examining detailed studies that address costs of adaptation, the benefits of avoided damages, and levels of residual damages (link to WGIII).
The call for authors will be open in January 2010, and the assessment will be completed in March 2014.