Chapter 2: Human-induced climate change and global action
Over the last few decades, scientists have drawn the attention of governments, politicians and civil society to anthropogenic changes in the earth's climate, as demonstrated by ample scientific evidence. Climate change is expected to increase the risk of natural catastrophes and threaten the global environment, resulting in considerable economic losses in a wide variety of sectors, including agriculture and tourism. Developing countries with poor infrastructure and a lack of financial and technological resources are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. The frightening prospect of climate change calls for immediate action on the part of the global community, nations, firms and individuals. There is, however, scientific uncertainty with respect to the timing, scale and regional patterns of climate change and, consequently, there is also uncertainty about the necessary policy response. The answer to the question what magnitude of action is required depends on the level of emission reduction to be achieved, which, in turn, depends on the maximum change in the climate system that would guarantee the preservation and safety of life on the planet. There is no definitive answer to the latter either. Scientists estimate that the worst impacts of climate change could be contained if GHG concentrations in the atmosphere were stabilized at between 450 and 550 ppm. These concentrations would keep global temperature increases at the allegedly safe level of around 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
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