The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) released a new report titled, “The Reality, Risks and Response to Climate Change”
The report focuses on the potential impacts and risks that climate change will pose to the United States and the world. Like the recently released report “Climate Change, Evidence & Causes” from the US National Academy of Sciences and the UK Royal Society, this shows that scientists are beginning to engage in the debate about the risks and realities of climate change – an important development.
The report aims to clarify the effects climate change imposes, most notably on the health and well-being of the American citizen, the growth of the US economy, and the US government.
In the section titled, “Climate Risks”, the report states:
“Given the high stakes, it is valuable to understand not just what is most likely to happen, but what might possibly happen to our climate. There is a possibility that temperatures will rise much higher and impacts will be much worse than expected. Moreover, as global temperature rises, the risk increases that one or more important parts of the Earth’s climate system will experience changes that may be abrupt, unpredictable, and potentially irreversible, causing large damages and high costs.”
One of the paramount risks that the report identifies is the national security threat climate change poses to the US government. In discussing these effects the section titled, “Climate Change and National Security”, asserts:
“Recent reports from U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and National Academy of Science . . . identify obvious coastal concerns relating to sea level rise, and others linked to storms, freshwater availability, and agricultural productivity around the globe.”
The report goes:
“In the context of other global dynamics that give rise to political instability, and societal tensions, changes in climate are considered as potential threat multipliers or instability accelerants . . .”
The complexity and unpredictability that climate change presents to public and private risk managers is unprecedented. Actions today or failure to act will determine the severity of the impact climate change has in the future.
A recent Gallup poll suggest most Americans believe climate change is occurring, but view its risks to be “exaggerated” while others say the risks are low. The report by AAAS could not be timelier.
Below is a video from AAAS showing the report: