The Impacts and Costs of Climate Change Page: 18
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The Impacts and Costs of Climate Change
Figure 1. The risks of adverse climate change impacts with the magnitude of climate change
' ,Reasons ftor (Concern
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Key to magnitude of negative impact and degree of risk
Neutral or small negative or positive impacts or risks
Negative impacts for some systems or low risks
Negative impacts or risks that are more widespread and/ or greater in magnitude.
Source: 'Climate Change 2001: Working Group II: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability' IPCC, Summary for Policy Makers
The IPCC reported that the assessment of impacts or risks takes into account only the magnitude of
change and not the rate of change. Global mean annual temperature change is used in the figure as an
approximation for the magnitude of climate change, but projected impacts will be a function of a
number of factors including the magnitude and rate of global and regional changes in mean climate,
extreme events and socio-economic conditions.
We have also reviewed the literature above and other studies to try and assess the potential impacts
from different stabilisation levels.
A paper by Parry and colleagues (Parry et al, 2001) has brought together results on the human impacts
of hunger and malaria as well as water shortage and flooding. The study estimated effects, assuming
that atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide are stabilized at 750 parts per million (ppmv) by
2250 and at 550 ppmv by 2150. The 750 ppmv target delays the damage but does not avoid it: by
2080, keeping to this target would halve the number at risk from hunger and flooding. The 750 ppmv
target reduces the population at risk of malaria by about a third and water shortage by about a quarter.
The authors estimate that to bring risk levels down from hundreds to tens of millions would require a
stabilization target of about 550 ppmv. They also indicated on the graph below (taken from the study),
the approximate locations of 450, 650 and 1000 ppmv stabilization pathways and their effects.
Although analyses have not yet been conducted for these stabilization levels, it appears that the 450
ppmv pathway would achieve very great reductions in millions at risk, although very high costs of
mitigation would be incurred.
AEA Technology Environment, August 2005
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Watkiss, Paul; Downing, Tom; Handley, Claire & Butterfield, Ruth. The Impacts and Costs of Climate Change, text, September 2005; Oxford, England. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29337/m1/29/: accessed March 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .