Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Proposed Policy Responses to Global Warming


There are different views over what the appropriate policy response to global warming and climate change should be.  These competing views weigh the benefits of limiting emissions of greenhouse gases against the costs.  In general, it seems likely that climate change will impose greater damages and risks in poorer regions.

The main international treaty on climate change is the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).  In 2010, Parties to the UNFCCC agreed that future global warming should be limited to below 2.0 °C (3.6 °F) relative to the pre-industrial level.  Analysis suggests that meeting the 2 °C target would require annual global emissions of greenhouse gases to peak before the year 2020, and decline significantly thereafter, with emissions in 2050 reduced by 30-50% compared to 1990 levels.  Analyses by the United Nations Environment Programme and International Energy Agency suggest that current policies (as of 2013) are too weak to achieve the 2 °C target.

The proposed policy responses to global warming and climate change are mitigation, adaptation and climate engineering…


Reducing the amount of future climate change is called mitigation of climate change.  Climate change mitigation are actions to limit the magnitude and/or rate of long-term climate change.  Climate change mitigation generally involves reductions in human (anthropogenic) emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs).   The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) defines mitigation as activities that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, or enhance the capacity of carbon sinks to absorb GHGs from the atmosphere.  Studies indicate substantial potential for future reductions in emissions by a combination of emission-reducing activities such as energy conservation, increased energy efficiency, and satisfying more of society's power demands with renewable energy and nuclear energy sources. Climate mitigation also includes acts to enhance natural sinks, such as reforestation.

Examples of mitigation include switching to low-carbon energy sources, such as renewable and nuclear energy, and expanding forests and other "sinks" to remove greater amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.  Energy efficiency may also play a role, for example, through improving the insulation of buildings.


Other policy responses include adaptation to climate change.  Adaptation to climate change may be planned, either in reaction to or anticipation of climate change, or spontaneous, therefore, without government intervention.  Planned adaptation is already occurring on a limited basis.  The barriers, limits, and costs of future adaptation are not fully understood.

A concept related to adaptation is "adaptive capacity", which is the ability of a system (human, natural or managed) to adjust to climate change (including climate variability and extremes) to moderate potential damages, to take advantage of opportunities, or to cope with consequences.  Unmitigated climate change (therefore, future climate change without efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions) would, in the long term, be likely to exceed the capacity of natural, managed and human systems to adapt.  Environmental organizations and public figures have emphasized changes in the climate and the risks they entail, while promoting adaptation to changes in infrastructural needs and emissions reductions.


Climate engineering (sometimes called by the more expansive term 'geoengineering'), is the deliberate modification of the climate. It has been investigated as a possible response to global warming, therefore by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)  and the Royal Society.  Techniques under research fall generally into the categories solar radiation management and carbon dioxide removal, although various other schemes have been suggested.  Research is at a generally early stage, with no large-scale schemes currently deployed.


·         Climate Engineering (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_engineering)
·         Adaptation to Global Warming (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adaptation_to_global_warming)
·         Climate Change Mitigation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_change_mitigation)
·         Global Warming (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming)

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