US Secretary of State John Kerry is a man with things on his mind: Putin’s bad attitude, genocide in Syria, a ticking clock for a Palestinian and Israeli peace deal. Yet with all this, he knows that the climate system needs to be at the top or near the top of his priority list. His reaction to the new report on Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability from the IPCC is clear: “The costs of inaction are catastrophic.” His statement yesterday reminds us that we are on very thin ice and we can hear it starting to crack. Continue reading
Getting a jump on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s release this week of the first installment of the Fifth Assessment Report, the new Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, had its kickoff yesterday morning. This blue ribbon group is being led by Felipe Calderón, until last year the President of Mexico. He is well versed in the issue, as he also, among other things, led the climate negotiations in Cancún in 2010. The director of the project is Jeremy Oppenheim, on leave from McKinsey where for the past five years he has run their Sustainability and Resource Productivity Practice. These are two highly seasoned and smart guys. The focus of the commission’s work in the first year will be researching and production of a report giving “comprehensive evidence on whether and how climate policy can be made compatible with strong economic performance.”
Back in 2006, Lord Nicholas Stern and his team produced the first comprehensive look at the economic impacts of climate change. The Stern Review was a serious clarion call to policy makers that climate change was a threat where nearly everyone feels it most: in the pocketbook. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has also considered these impacts from the time of their first assessment report in 1990 through to their report this year on extreme events and disasters.