Climate Science Reports

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A major U.S. climate report, released on Black Friday, might help us sort our personal climate choices just by the way it’s organized. This Climate Science Special Report is in two separate volumes and can refine the five layers of climate change I proposed in a prior blog for sorting incoming news and possible actions.

Volume 1. Science and Causes

If you are interested in the underlying Causes of climate change, Volume I gives the detailed research on where global temperature rise is coming from. Even the graphs are pretty dense but it’s impressive to scan it. It concludes that more than half of the observed warming since 1951 was caused by humans, with greenhouse gas CO2 being the largest contributor (“high confidence (extremely likely)”).

Volume 2. Impacts, Risks and Adaptations

If you’re more interested in paying attention to what you can do to reduce the Impacts on you and yours, Volume 2 can guide you. It emphasizes infrastructure and economic losses, nationally and for each of 10 different regions of the country. For example, the Northwest chapter emphasizes that less snow = less hydroelectric power. Written and video summaries are available from PBS.

Choosing Your Angle

The complexity of climate change is clear just from scanning these documents. I’ve been suggesting that, as individual citizens, we can face our limits and choose just one of five layers for learning and taking action. The feds’ separation of Causes and Impacts adds a new angle to those layers. For example, if you wanted to take action on the common cold, coming at it from the angle of Causes would have washing your hands a lot more. If you came at it from the Impact angle, you’d improve ways to reduce fever and clear congestion.

How much energy do you have for slowing down climate change vs. trying to manage it? There’s plenty of work for all and no right or wrong answer here.

Add your Climate Layer

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When we look at five layers of where your life interacts with climate change, you can come at them from the angle of Cause or Impact. For example, focusing on how Food choices Cause climate change could lead toward finding food sources that produce less CO2. From the other angle of how climate Impacts your food, you could start growing your own to adapt to shortages from drought and fire. For me, my interest in local endangered Orca whales has focused on the Impact of their changing Habitats. There’s still lots of learning (and debate) about the Causes of these changes.l

Keep an eye out for more discussion of these recent reports showing up in the news. Please share any examples on how they spur ideas for sorting through your options. (No login is needed. Just add your thoughts below and then click “Comment as Guest.”)

#climate change choices