Defining and experiencing dangerous climate change

TitleDefining and experiencing dangerous climate change
Publication TypeTyndall Working Paper
SeriesTyndall Centre Working Papers
Tyndall Consortium Institution


Secondary TitleTyndall Centre Working Paper 28
AuthorsDessai, S., M. Hulme, Rachel Warren, J. Turnpenny, W. N. Adger, and J. Kohler
Year of Publication2003

Understanding what constitutes dangerous climate change is of increasing importance for scientific analysis and for policy debate. Both activities have thus far focused almost exclusively on "external" definitions of dangerous climate change that are based on risk analysis of system characteristics of the physical or social world. This paper argues for an "internal" definition of dangerous climate change that is based on people's experience or perception of danger in terms of their insecurity or lack of safety. The paper suggests it is not possible to make progress on defining dangerous climate change or in developing sustainable responses without recognising the central role played by perceptions of danger. A robust policy response must appreciate both external and internal definitions of danger. NOTE: In February/March 2003, the Tyndall Centre hosted an online discussion on "Dangerous Climate Change" at the Tyndall Forum at Background to this discussion was provided by this working paper. The discussion is now closed.

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