Foreign Policy Blogs

Climate Risks

Climate Risks

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has produced four comprehensive Assessment Reports since 1990 detailing the science behind climate change, the impacts, ways to mitigate our radical forcing of the climate system, and ways to adapt to the clear, present, and intensifying dangers that this crisis engenders.  The IPCC has also produced some extremely useful complementary reports along the way such as the Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation, out this past May.  The IPCC shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for its work.  In accepting the prize on behalf of the IPCC, its chairman, Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, paid “…tribute to the thousands of experts and scientists who have contributed to the work of the Panel over almost two decades of exciting evolution and service to humanity.”  That critical work is ongoing.

The IPCC has just announced its newest product:  the Special Report for Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX).  The full report of nine chapters won’t be released until February, but the Summary for Policymakers sums up the work of the panel.  (More than 80 authors, 19 review editors, and more than 100 contributing authors from all over the world contributed to the preparation of SREX.)  Climate change means more frequent droughts and floods, U.N. panel says in report is the headline from the Washington Post.  The report covers a range of disaster risks and, as the WaPo notes:  “…the new analysis also speaks to a broader trend:  The world is facing a new reality of more extreme weather, and policymakers and business alike are beginning to adjust.”  Thankfully.

Go to the SREX website for more, including this fact sheet which enumerates a number of key themes, including that climate extremes have been well documented, along with various kinds of attendant weather anomalies, and that these are going to get worse.  See also this summary presentation from the SREX.

Dr. Heidi Cullen had a terrific book out last year, The Weather of the Future.  Its subtitle?  “Heat Waves, Extreme Storms, and Other Scenes from a Climate-Changed Planet.”  Here’s Dr. Cullen illustrating her perspective.



Bill Hewitt

Bill Hewitt has been an environmental activist and professional for nearly 25 years. He was deeply involved in the battle to curtail acid rain, and was also a Sierra Club leader in New York City. He spent 11 years in public affairs for the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation, and worked on environmental issues for two NYC mayoral campaigns and a presidential campaign. He is a writer and editor and is the principal of Hewitt Communications. He has an M.S. in international affairs, has taught political science at Pace University, and has graduate and continuing education classes on climate change, sustainability, and energy and the environment at The Center for Global Affairs at NYU. His book, "A Newer World - Politics, Money, Technology, and What’s Really Being Done to Solve the Climate Crisis," will be out from the University Press of New England in December.

Areas of Focus:
the policy, politics, science and economics of environmental protection, sustainability, energy and climate change