Exerpts from highly regarded and recently published works by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (ipcc) and U.S. Climate Science Program are meant to introduce the reader to this prismatic issue.
Notes: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
• Climate change is likely to lead to some irreversible impacts. There is medium confidence that approximately 20 to 30% of species assessed so far are likely to be at increased risk of extinction if increases in global average warming exceed 1.5 to 2.5°C (relative to 1980-1999). As global average temperature increase exceeds about 3.5°C, model projections suggest significant extinctions (40 to 70% of species assessed) around the globe.
• The capacity to adapt and mitigate is dependent on socioeconomic and environmental circumstances and the availability of information and technology.
• There is high confidence that neither adaptation nor mitigation alone can avoid all climate change impacts. Adaptation is necessary both in the short term and longer term to address impacts resulting from the warming that would occur even for the lowest stabilization scenarios assessed.
• Management strategies based on the reduction of everyday or chronic risk factors and on the reduction of risk associated with non-extreme events, as opposed to strategies based solely on the exceptional or extreme, provide a mechanism that facilitates the reduction of disaster risk and the preparation for and response to extremes and disasters (high confidence).
• Climate change will pose added challenges for the appropriate allocation of efforts to manage disaster risk (high confidence).
• Risk assessment is one starting point, within the broader risk governance framework, for adaptation to climate change and disaster risk reduction and transfer (high confidence).
• Management of the risk associated with climate extremes, extreme impacts, and disasters benefits from an integrated systems approach, as opposed to separately managing individual types of risk or risk in particular locations (high confidence).
• Risk assessment encounters difficulties in estimating the likelihood and magnitude of extreme events and their impacts (high confidence).
• Learning is central to adaptation to climate change. Furthermore, the concepts, goals, and processes of adaptation share much in common with disaster risk management, particularly its disaster risk reduction component (high confidence).
• Projected trends and uncertainty in hazards, exposure, and vulnerability associated with climate change and development make return to the status quo, coping, or static resilience increasingly insufficient goals for disaster risk management and adaptation (high confidence).
• Community participation in planning, the determined use of local and community knowledge and capacities, and the decentralization of decision making, supported by and in synergy with national and international policies and actions, are critical for disaster risk reduction (high confidence).
The IPCC standard definition for "high confidence" is equivalent to an 8 out of 10 chance that a statement given this status is correct.
Notes: U.S. Climate Change Science Program
• Abandon classic management models that assume a constant world in equilibrium.
• Acknowledge in our management strategies and in our models that ecosystems are nonlinear, interdependent, and non equilibrium systems.
• Use near-term forecasting tools, statistical and otherwise, that are appropriate to this class of system (for example, nonlinear time series prediction coupled with scenario models).
• Continue to identify the characteristics of systems that make them more or less vulnerable.
• Employ adaptive management strategies, such as skillful short-term forecasting methods coupled with scenario exploration models that are capable of dealing with new successional scenarios and novel combinations of species.