IPCC Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability – headlines

•Panel’s Warning on Climate Risk: Worst Is Yet to Come •Conservative Climate Panel Warns World Faces ‘Breakdown Of Food Systems’ And More Violent Conflict •Big impacts: The main messages from today’s big UN climate report

2% solutions

Mitigation or adaptation? It’s usually an either/or choice: either we work on ways to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere or we find ways to adapt to new conditions created by climate change, including reducing society’s vulnerabilities and raising its resilience. Fighting to close a coal plant or developing green energy alternatives, for example, is a different job than translocating an imperiled species or planning for inevitable sea level rise. Same problem, separate responses. Different tribes. Mitigation and adaptation even have separate conferences!

Tweak or Transformation?

“There are no experts.” This was my biggest take-away message from the inaugural National Adaptation Forum, held in Denver recently. Although it was my second major climate change adaptation conference in three weeks, I wasn’t sure what to expect. In Europe, there’s no need to whisper the words “climate change” in large gatherings for fear of offending someone, but America is different. Would people even attend a three-day conference on adaptation? And what would the presenters talk about in the sessions? I jumped into a rental car and drove to Denver to find out.

The other job

This is a blog about carbon, and by extension climate change mitigation, but there’s another big job that’s rising fast on a lot of people’s To Do lists. It’s called adaptation, and suddenly everyone’s talking about it – for good reason as I learned last week. And the reason is this: the future is now. Climate-related changes are bearing down on us faster than many scientists expected, requiring action by individuals, communities, cities, and nations to reduce their effects. Inaction (like so much else connected to climate change) will only magnify the challenges, making them much harder to solve later. In other words, our collective To Do list just got a lot longer.