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Showing posts from August, 2014

Responding and adapting to climate change: Recognizing and managing uncertainty in the physical, social, and public spheres

A meeting of international experts at the University of Bristol addresses one of the crucial issues facing humanity. “Uncertainty, uncertainty, uncertainty … so why should we bother to act?” Who hasn’t heard politicians or media personalities appeal to uncertainty to argue against climate mitigation? And indeed, why should we interfere with the global economy when there is uncertainty about the severity of climate change?

Some 20 leading experts from around the world will be meeting in Bristol late in September to discuss the implications of scientific uncertainty on the proper response to climate change.

This is particularly crucial because in contrast to the widespread public perception that uncertainty is an invitation to delay action on climate change, recent work suggests that scientific uncertainty actually provides an impetus to engage in mitigative action. Specifically, the greater the scientific uncertainty, the greater are the risks from climate change.

This conflict betwee…

Prospects for Paris 2015: some thoughts on climate risk management with heterogeneous countries

Dr. Simon Buckle, Policy Director of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change (Imperial College), presented at the Cabot Institute his view about credible and viable mitigation commitments in view of the COP 21 on Climate Change that will take place in Paris in 2015. Dr. Buckle’s presentation developed around a political question: do countries want the same climate? In particular, he explained that countries have different attitudes towards risks and this, coupled with the absence of a supranational legal authority, makes climate negotiations particularly complex. So far, such different priorities have caused the failure of UN international negotiations on climate, and countries have systematically missed their targets to limit their carbon emissions. In spite of this, media coverage and public engagement in this topic are sluggish and this undermines the effectiveness of climate policies. I think that the political nature of the issue should be highlighted and critically explored e…