United Nations Environment Programme

Vital Climate Graphics

Klaus TöpferForeword

Klaus Töpfer, Executive Director,
United Nations Environment Programme

As evidence accumulates that we may already be witnessing the early signs of global climate change, the need to communicate this issue to both policymakers and the general public becomes ever more urgent. The challenge facing generalists is that the subject is complex and often highly specialized. Much of our understanding of climate change comes from sophisticated computer-based models, data sets, and theoretical insights. Decision-makers need insight into such scientific information if they are to craft and implement effective solutions.

Fortunately, a good deal of the evidence and information we have about climate change lends itself to graphical presentation. The visual information contained in Vital Climate Graphics makes it possible to grasp complex facts more quickly and fully than would be possible through simple text. The graphical impact is supported by additional written details that help to fill in the picture. The first set of graphics focuses on the impacts of climate change and are available as overhead slides and can be obtained via CD ROMs, booklets or the Internet.

Vital Climate Graphics are based on the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was established by the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organization. The IPCC's 1995 Second Assessment Report is widely respected as the most authoritative source of climate change information available. More recently, the IPCC has also published a number of Special Reports on specific topics. Vital Climate Graphics will be updated after the forthcoming Third Assessment Report, scheduled for publication in 2001, becomes available. In this way, they will continue to be an effective tool for decision-making for years to come.

Klaus Töpfer

  Vital Climate Graphics

GRID-Arendal United Nations Environment Programme / GRID-Arendal
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