Connecting Causes and Impacts of Climate Change

By CIRCulator Editorial Staff

Reprinted from: The Climate CIRCulator

The figure above from the Synthesis Report links cumulative emissions, temperature change, impacts and near-term emissions changes. In sum: The more we emit, the more challenges emerge.
The figure above from the Synthesis Report links cumulative emissions, temperature change, impacts and near-term emissions changes. In sum: The more we emit, the more challenges emerge.

HERE’S WHAT WE know about climate change in a nutshell:

  • Human influence on the climate system is clear
  • Recent climate changes have had widespread impacts on human and natural systems
  • Continued emission of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system, increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.
  • These are the conclusions of the latest assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, summarized in the Synthesis Report released a few weeks ago. The Synthesis Report ties together themes from three earlier Working Group reports. The report is organized into four topics, summarized as follows:

These are the conclusions of the latest assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, summarized in the Synthesis Report released a few weeks ago. The Synthesis Report ties together themes from three earlier Working Group reports. The report is organized into four topics, summarized as follows:

Human influence on the climate system is clear, and recent anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are the highest in history. Recent climate changes have had widespread impacts on human and natural systems.

Continued emission of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system, increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems. Limiting climate change would require substantial and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, which, together with adaptation, can limit climate change risks.

Adaptation and mitigation are complementary strategies for reducing and managing the risks of climate change. Substantial emissions reductions over the next few decades can reduce climate risks in the 21st century and beyond, increase prospects for effective adaptation, reduce the costs and challenges of mitigation in the longer term, and contribute to climate-resilient pathways for sustainable development.

Many adaptation and mitigation options can help address climate change, but no single option is sufficient by itself. Effective implementation depends on policies and cooperation at all scales, and can be enhanced through integrated responses that link adaptation and mitigation with other societal objectives.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2014) Climate Change 2014 Synthesis Report.

A version of this story originally appeared in the November/December issue of The Climate CIRCulator.