Impacts and Responses
New Horizons in Regional Science series
Edited by Matthias Ruth, Kieran Donaghy and Paul Kirshen
Foreword by Joel Scheraga
Foreword Joel Scheraga Climate change is real. The climate has changed, is changing, and will continue to change, regardless of any human influence. But since the Industrial Revolution, human activities have begun to significantly affect the Earth’s atmosphere and climate, and the changes are expected to continue for the foreseeable future. Although the timing and magnitude of future climate change is uncertain, it will have consequences for human health, ecosystems, economic activity and social well-being. Some of the effects will be harmful, and some beneficial. The significance of the climate change issue was captured in the Joint G8 Statement, issued on 8 July 2005: Climate change is a serious and long-term challenge that has the potential to affect every part of the globe. We know that increased need and use of energy from fossil fuels, and other human activities, contribute in large part to increases in greenhouse gases associated with the warming of our Earth’s surface. While uncertainties remain in our understanding of climate science, we know enough to act now to put ourselves on a path to slow and, as the science justifies, stop and then reverse the growth of greenhouse gases. There are two approaches for dealing with climate change. One strategy is to mitigate the emission of gases that contribute to warming – the so-called ‘greenhouse gases’ (GHGs). Since the Industrial Revolution, human activities, particularly the burning of fossil fuels, have contributed to increases in the atmospheric concentrations of CO2, one of the more significant and long-lived greenhouse...