This special issue of Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability (COSUST) collaborates with the UNFCCC Executive Committee of the Warsaw International Mechanism to bring together a collection of articles on environmental sustainability in relation to those adverse climate impacts –slow onset events--which unfold gradually over time. Sometimes these slow onset events interact with rapid-onset hazard events and often irreversible in nature relative to human society. The articles review and synthesize literature which evaluate the nature of slow onset events and highlight emerging topics in the scientific literature. The special issue helps identify the gaps and challenges in understanding slow onset events and their local, national, and regional impacts, and possible approaches to manage these. The guest editors hope that these papers will enhance the knowledge base and highlight potential approaches to assess and address such adverse impacts of climate change at the local, national and regional levels that can support the development and accessibility of tools, which inform national planning and policymaking processes in assessing and addressing the impacts and risks associated with slow onset events and response options
This paper reviews the evidence on slow-onset events presented in the Special Report on Climate Change and Land (SRCCL) and the Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC), both published in 2019. It analyses how the reports, and recent literature cited in them, deal with the eight types of slow-onset events, specified by the UNFCCC: increasing temperatures, sea level rise, salinization, ocean acidification, glacial retreat, land degradation, desertification and loss of biodiversity.