Mr Peter Challenor: The Risk of Rapid Climate Change
The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change commits the nations of the world to ‘preventing dangerous climate change’. The EU has defined dangerous climate change as being a rise in the global mean temperature of 2°C and most work has so far concentrated on how we can achieve stabilisation of greenhouse gases to achieve such a target.
However there are other more serious climate risks lurking in the future that we need to mitigate against. Although the probability of these may be low the consequences could be very serious. We therefore need climate policy that not only steers us to an acceptable stabilisation level but also minimises the risk of these climate surprises. Using the collapse of the thermohaline circulation as an example I will outline methods being developed to estimate the probability of such events and show how we can design mitigation strategies that both achieve the required stabilisation levels and minimise these risks.
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