- The benefits of strong, early action on climate change outweigh the costs.
- The scientific evidence points to increasing risks of serious, irreversible impacts from climate change associated with business-as-usual (BAU) paths for emissions.
- Climate change threatens the basic elements of life for people around the world — access to water, food production, health, and use of land and the environment.
- The impacts of climate change are not evenly distributed — the poorest countries and people will suffer earliest and most. And if and when the damages appear it will be too late to reverse the process. Thus we are forced to look a long way ahead.
- Climate change may initially have small positive effects for a few developed countries, but it is likely to be very damaging for the much higher temperature increases expected by mid-to-late century under BAU scenarios.
- Integrated assessment modelling provides a tool for estimating the total impact on the economy; our estimates suggest that this is likely to be higher than previously suggested.
- Emissions have been, and continue to be, driven by economic growth; yet stabilisation of greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere is feasible and consistent with continued growth.
- Central estimates of the annual costs of achieving stabilisation between 500 and 550ppm CO2e are around 1% of global GDP, if we start to take strong action now. [...] It would already be very difficult and costly to aim to stabilise at 450ppm CO2e. If we delay, the opportunity to stabilise at 500-550ppm CO2e may slip away.'
- The transition to a low-carbon economy will bring challenges for competitiveness but also opportunities for growth. Policies to support the development of a range of low-carbon and high-efficiency technologies are required urgently.
- Establishing a carbon price, through tax, trading or regulation, is an essential foundation for climate change policy. Creating a broadly similar carbon price signal around the world, and using carbon finance to accelerate action in developing countries, are urgent priorities for international cooperation.
- Adaptation policy is crucial for dealing with the unavoidable impacts of climate change, but it has been under-emphasised in many countries.
- An effective response to climate change will depend on creating the conditions for international collective action.
- There is still time to avoid the worst impacts of climate change if strong collective action starts now.
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Five years later:
- The GOP has managed to block significant action toward mitigating climate change here in the US. Hopefully the courts will not block the EPA from taking strong action regulating CO2 emissions. Globally it still looks like BAU.
- People are suffering and dying daily due to the effects of climate change and weird weather.
- Dr. Hansen has made a convincing argument that we need to return to 350 ppm or less in the next few decades.
- World leaders bicker
The chaos caused by the blizzards, floods and droughts will have a profound effect on the economy, making it more difficult to address climate change mitigation and adaptation.
For the US, getting our government to stand up to this challenge requires voters to stand up and take notice.
Voters are our only hope.