Managing Climate Extremes and Disasters in Asia: Lessons from the IPCC SREX Report and Disasters in Asia
Introduction to the Special Report
The Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX) was commissioned by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in response to a recognised need to provide specific advice on climate change, extreme weather and climate events (‘climate extremes’). The SREX report was written over two and a half years, compiled by 220 expert authors, 19 review editors and taking account of almost 19,000 comments. It went through three rigorous drafting processes with expert and government review. The findings were approved by the world’s governments following a four-day meeting, where the Summary for Policy Makers was agreed. It thus provides the best scientific assessment available to date. It comprises a policy summary released in November 2011 and the full report released in March 2012 (available online at http://ipcc-wg2.gov/srex).
This summary highlights the key findings of the report from an Asian perspective, including an assessment of the science and the implications of this for society and sustainable development. The SREX report considers the effects of climate change on extreme events, disasters, and disaster risk management (DRM). It examines how climate extremes, human factors and the environment interact to influence disaster impacts and risk management and adaptation options (see Figure 1). The SREX report considers the role of development in exposure and vulnerability, the implications for disaster risk, and the interactions between disasters and development. It examines how human responses to extreme events and disasters could contribute to adaptation objectives, and how adaptation to climate change could become better integrated with DRM practice. The SREX report represents a significant step forward for the integration and harmonisation of the climate change adaptation, disaster risk management and climate science communities.
Although not an official publication of the IPCC, this summary has been written under the supervision of coauthors of the report and it has been thoroughly reviewed by an expert scientific panel. The summary includes material directly taken from the SREX report, where the underlying source is clearly referenced, but it also presents synthesis messages that are the views of the authors of this summary and not necessarily those of the IPCC. It is hoped that the result will illuminate the SREX report’s vital for decision makers in Asia, and so better equip them to make sound investments to reduce disaster risk in a changing climate.