GCAP Blog

Controlling climate change

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Two longstanding champions, Bert Metz and Hartmut Grassl, have re-visited "Climate change: science and the precautionary principle" that analyses the interplay between science and politics on climate change over the last 25 years. Do take a look, a sobering reflection as the pace of scientific evidence has vastly outstripped real action.

Details on Bert's paper:

  • Part of the European Environment Agency's major publication "Late lessons from early warnings: science, precaution, innovation" (EEA, Copenhagen, 2013)
  • Our scientific understanding of the causes and effects of climate change and ways to adapt to it or mitigate it has increased enormously since the late eighties. The scientific assessment reports of the Intergovernmental on Climate Change (IPCC) have played a major role in helping politicians understand the ramifications of this understanding.
  • Nevertheless political action to fight climate change has been slow and inadequate.
  • This obviously contradicts with a precautionary approach. The precautionary principle was relevant when the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change was agreed in 1992, but it rapidly lost its significance thereafter. The role of risk perception, risk management and the perceived tension between economic growth and environmental protection has become much more important in understanding the science-politics nexus. 
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