IPCC’s New Special Report: Adapt to Extremes, but Prepare for the Presentation

November 21, 2011 · 1 comment

For a first reaction to the new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change special report, Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation, read William Hooke’s full post here, but keep in mind his take away message for now:

The world need not just this and the other IPCC reports themselves but also the body of diverse analysis and reaction the reports trigger. IPCC reports should and do stimulate thought and action. They don’t prescribe it.

What should you and I keep in mind as we read?

1. We should remember that the Earth does its business through extreme events and always has. Extremes are not suspensions of the normal order; they are its fulfillment.

2. Extremes leave no sphere of the natural or social or technological world unaffected and the disruptions in all those normally distinct spheres intereact with each other, compounding the challenge.

3. Social change matters more to what extreme events and disasters portend for our future than does climate change. .

4. We’ve got to get past reacting to the crisis of the moment

This will be good preparation not only for reading the full report when it’s available online in February 2012 (the summary is now available here) but also for discussions with Roger Pulwarty and colleagues when the present the reports findings on the first day of the upcoming AMS Annual Meeting in New Orleans (23 January, 11:30 a.m., Room 243). If you’re interested in hearing from the report authors now, check out the video from Friday’s press conference: