Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability


This report was published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on February 27, 2022. The IPCC is an intergovernmental body established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization, Geneva, and the United Nations Environment Programme. The report evaluates the risks of climate change for vulnerable human communities and natural ecosystems. The report also recommends effective and feasible solutions aligned with scientific, indigenous and local knowledge to mitigate the impact of climate change.

This report is part of the sixth assessment cycle published as Sixth Assessment Report or AR6. The AR6 includes the contributions of three Working Groups – this report being the contribution of Working Group II. The other reports in the AR6 series are Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis released by Working Group I, and Climate Change 2022: Mitigation and Climate Change released by Working Group III.

This 3,676-page report contains 18 chapters: Point of departure and key concepts (Chapter 1); Terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems and their services (Chapter 2); Ocean and coastal ecosystems and their services (Chapter 3); Water (Chapter 4); Food, fibre, and other ecosystem products (Chapter 5); Cities, settlements and key infrastructure (Chapter 6); Health, wellbeing and the changing structure of communities (Chapter 7); Poverty, livelihoods and sustainable developments (Chapter 8); Africa (Chapter 9); Asia (Chapter 10); Australasia (Chapter 11); Central and South America (Chapter 12); Europe (Chapter 13); North America (Chapter 14); Small Islands (Chapter 15); Key risks across sectors and regions (Chapter 16); Decision-making options for managing risks (Chapter 17); and Climate resilient development pathways (Chapter 18).


  1. The report notes that global temperatures will continue to rise until the middle of the 21st century. Restricting the rise in warming to below 1.5°C-2°C will require “strong, rapid and sustained reduction” in greenhouse gas emissions in the next few decades. This is extremely crucial since around 3.3 to 3.6 billion people already live in conditions extremely vulnerable to climate change.

  2. Global ice cover has reduced over the last few decades with the ice cover lasting for increasingly shorter durations every year. The overall extent of river ice across the globe declined by 25 per cent between 1984 and 2018. Regions in higher latitudes have experienced more severe trends in warming than regions near the equator, the report notes.

  3. The annual rate and pattern of precipitation has altered and will continue to alter due to climate change, the report notes. Heavy precipitation has intensified in many regions across the globe including most of the Indian subcontinent, much of North America, most of Europe and parts of Southern Africa. Conversely, precipitation has reduced in many parts of the world, particularly the tropics.

  4. Currently more than 600 million people experience substantially higher rates of precipitation compared to the 1950s. Compared to the 1950s, around 600 million people also experience longer dry spells without any rain.

  5. An increase in the frequency and magnitude of extreme climate events – such as droughts, floods, hurricanes, and heatwaves – may cause irreparable harm to natural ecosystems and local populations of species. Higher frequency of extreme climate events will mean lesser time for ecosystems to recover. Such events in vulnerable areas risk extinction of endemic species (plants and animals found only in specific geographical areas).

  6. The report states that between 1970 and 2019, 44 per cent of all disasters and 31 per cent of all economic losses globally were related to floods. The total population exposed to floods also increased by about 20-24 per cent during 2000-2018.

  7. Climate change has also resulted in an increased frequency of floods. In 2015, instances of floods in the tropics and the northern mid-latitudes were, respectively, four times and 2.5 times greater than in 1985.

  8. Climate change has impacted crop yields diversely depending on the region and the crop. While the production of rice and wheat in Eastern Asia, and the production of wheat in Northern Europe have been positively impacted, Sub-Saharan Africa, Southern Asia, and South America have had to suffer. In general, crop yields will be negatively impacted by climate change in the 21st century, unless strict adaptation measures are followed.

  9. The report highlights that climate change is likely to increase extreme poverty in the coming decades. Impoverished people will be harder hit by successive extreme climate events and will find it difficult to recover from these disasters, the report notes. Global estimates of income losses due to climate change suggest that across 92 developing countries, the poorest 40 per cent of the population experience 70 per cent greater losses compared to those with average incomes.

  10. Around 220 million people in Asia depend on glaciers for water resources, the report states. The melting of the glacier in the Southern Tibetan Plateau is expected to continue rising till 2050. The glacier is expected to shrink by 50 per cent in the region of High-Mountain Asia and by about 70 per cent in Central and Western Asia.

  11. In recent years, climate change has driven migration and displacement in Asia. In 2019, Bangladesh, China, India and the Philippines each recorded more than four million displacements caused by natural disasters. In the same year Southeast and East Asia experienced 9.6 million cases of internal displacement due to floods, cyclones and typhoons.

  12. Response to climate change, so far, has been largely limited to gradual modifications of measures used to manage extreme weather events, the report states. The report notes that these gradual changes are insufficient to reduce climate risks. It suggests ‘transformational adaptation’ including better infrastructural planning, governance cooperation, universal access to healthcare and changing food systems.

    Focus and Factoids by Yoshita Srivastava.

    PARI Library's health archive project is part of an initiative supported by the Azim Premji University to develop a free-access repository of health-related reports relevant to rural India.


Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)


Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Geneva


27 Feb, 2022