Climate Change 2001:
Synthesis Report
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Annex D. Scientific, Technical, and Socio-Economic Questions Selected by the Panel

Question 1
What can scientific, technical, and socio-economic analyses contribute to the determination of what constitutes dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system as referred to in Article 2 of the Framework Convention on Climate Change?

Question 2
What is the evidence for, causes of, and consequences of changes in the Earth's climate since the pre-industrial era?

a) Has the Earth's climate changed since the pre-industrial era at the regional and/or global scale? If so, what part, if any, of the observed changes can be attributed to human influence and what part, if any, can be attributed to natural phenomena? What is the basis for that attribution?
b) What is known about the environmental, social, and economic consequences of climate changes since the preindustrial era with an emphasis on the last 50 years?

Question 3
What is known about the regional and global climatic, environmental, and socio-economic consequences in the next 25, 50, and 100 years associated with a range of greenhouse gas emissions arising from scenarios used in the TAR (projections which involve no climate policy intervention)?

Question 4
What is known about the influence of the increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases and aerosols, and the projected human-induced change in climate regionally and globally on:

a. The frequency and magnitude of climate fluctuations, including daily, seasonal, inter-annual, and decadal variability, such as the El Niņo Southern Oscillation cycles and others?
b. The duration, location, frequency, and intensity of extreme events such as heat waves, droughts, floods, heavy precipitation, avalanches, storms, tornadoes, and tropical cyclones?
c. The risk of abrupt/non-linear changes in, among others, the sources and sinks of greenhouse gases, ocean circulation, and the extent of polar ice and permafrost? If so, can the risk be quantified?
d. The risk of abrupt or non-linear changes in ecological systems?

Question 5
What is known about the inertia and time scales associated with the changes in the climate system, ecological systems, and socio-economic sectors and their interactions?

Question 6
a) How does the extent and timing of the introduction of a range of emissions reduction actions determine and affect the rate, magnitude, and impacts of climate change, and affect the global and regional economy, taking into account the historical and current emissions?

What is known from sensitivity studies about regional and global climatic, environmental, and socio-economic consequences of stabilizing the atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (in carbon dioxide equivalents), at a range of levels from today's to double that level or more, taking into account to the extent possible the effects of aerosols? For each stabilization scenario, including different pathways to stabilization, evaluate the range of costs and benefits, relative to the range of scenarios considered in Question 3, in terms of:

  • Projected changes in atmospheric concentrations, climate, and sea level, including changes beyond 100 years
  • Impacts and economic costs and benefits of changes in climate and atmospheric composition on human health, diversity and productivity of ecological systems, and socio-economic sectors (particularly agriculture and water)
  • The range of options for adaptation, including the costs, benefits, and challenges
  • The range of technologies, policies, and practices that could be used to achieve each of the stabilization levels, with an evaluation of the national and global costs and benefits, and an assessment of how these costs and benefits would compare, either qualitatively or quantitatively, to the avoided environmental harm that would be achieved by the emissions reductions
  • Development, sustainability, and equity issues associated with impacts, adaptation, and mitigation at a regional and global level.

Question 7
What is known about the potential for, and costs and benefits of, and time frame for reducing greenhouse gas emissions?

Question 8
What is known about the interactions between projected human-induced changes in climate and other environmental issues (e.g., urban air pollution, regional acid deposition, loss of biological diversity, stratospheric ozone depletion, and desertification and land degradation)? What is known about environmental, social, and economic costs and benefits and implications of these interactions for integrating climate change response strategies in an equitable manner into broad sustainable development strategies at the local, regional, and global scales?

Question 9
What are the most robust findings and key uncertainties regarding attribution of climate change and regarding model projections of:

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