IPCC and climate change risks: what would you do?

Click to read the report
Click to read the report

The latest Climate Change Report from the IPCC argues that human interference with the climate system is occurring, and climate change poses risks for human and natural systems. The report identifies eight major risks with high confidence, and says that each of these risks contributes to one of more of the five “reasons for concern” (RFC) the authors identify:

  1. Unique and threatened ecosystems and cultural systems.
  2. Extreme weather events.
  3. Uneven distribution of impacts, with disadvantaged people and communities facing greater risks.
  4. Global aggregate impacts, for example global biodiversity loss.
  5. Large-scale singular events, such as Arctic ecosystems or warm water coral reefs reaching an irreversible tipping point.

The report isn’t totally pessimistic, and it concludes that transformations in economic, social, technological, and political decisions and actions can enable climate-resilient pathways. It doesn’t say what the favoured options should be, and of course a mix of approaches should be taken, but we’d like your opinion on what the dominant options should be. For the sake of simplicity, we’ve labelled the options “government”, meaning intervention through regulation or taxation for example; “technology”, for example new ways to produce energy or reduce natural resource use; “behaviour”, for example consuming less or recycling more; or “markets”, for resources that become too expensive will be abandoned in favour of other solutions. You can select two options if, for example you think that technology plus markets or behaviour plus government is the best option.

Here are the eight risks.

Useful links

OECD work on climate change

OECD work on green growth and sustainable development

UN Framework Convention on Climate Change

Patrick Love

3 comments to “IPCC and climate change risks: what would you do?”

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  1. Helmut Lubbers - 04/04/2014 Reply

    Your four choice options are inadequate. Lacking is stopping economic growth and halting population growth. Both are the basic factors that are increasing the depletion of resources and the rising pollution, which includes greenhouse gases.
    Climate change is a result of humanity’s overuse of resources.
    Technology cannot undo the damage done, neither can Government and/or Markets, since in both the prevailing paradigm is GROWTH – being a truly suicidal ideology on a finite planet.
    Behaviour change must start with the people in power positions but these are immune to scientific reasoning on the one hand and unshakable believers in Hope Optimism and Technology on the other hand. Normal people are powerless because they are being misled by the HOT people who control the microphones and the lame stream media.
    Compare: http://www.ecoglobe.ch/scenarios

  2. Gerald Dreaver - 14/04/2014 Reply

    “Behaviour” and “technology” are unhelpful categories. What do they mean? “Government” and “markets” at least indicate broad approaches to influencing behaviour, including behaviour such as… which technology or location to invest in. Is “technology” meant to indicate “increase government investment in mitigation and adaptation technology”? Is “behaviour” meant to indicate “leave it to people to decide to change their behaviour for the greater good”?

    It seems to me this is really about “What should governments do?” (to encourage mitigation and adaptation). It would be better to start with that point and then have meaningful categories such as “Fund adaptation”, “Establish or strengthen price instruments to encourage mitigation” etc.

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