A common sense approach to carbon dioxide emissions.
The release of the Productivity Commission’s draft report into climate adaptation at the end of last month could have been a spark that changed the debate in Australia.
That’s because it implicitly suggested that adapting to climate change – regardless of whether its origin is anthropogenic, ‘natural’, or whatever – is now the main game.
A copy of that report is here. Berg continues:
In a 2009 paper published in the journal Atmospheric Sciences, Robert L Wilby and Suraje Dessai characterise this as the difference between top-down and bottom-up approaches.
The IPCC looks top-down. This view is purpose-built for mitigation, but no good for adaptation. The IPCC struggles to assess climate change risks on a continental scale, let alone regional scale.
As Wilby and Dessai point out, the IPCC records a low level of scientific agreement even about the direction of rainfall change in much of Asia, Africa, and South America. That degree of uncertainty offers no guide for practical action.
By contrast, a bottom-up approach focuses on how communities adapt to local pressures, not global ones. After all, it isn’t the United Nations that will adapt to climate change. It is individuals. This approach is less flashy, but then, why should climate policy be flashy?