"Risk" is the word of the day. It occurs hundreds of times in the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) released today.
We now have a much clearer view of what climate change means to human life around the world. The picture is grim.
The "Summary for Policymakers" reads like a litany of human misery, and some of it has already arrived. Tallying the risks of climate change around the continents, it's all "Food shortage" - "Water stress" - "Heat waves" - "Flood damage" - "Disease spread". And, for some of us living in low-lying island states, "Loss of homeland". That's just the impact on humans. Then there's the worldwide tragedy of the unraveling ecosystems in our acidifying oceans, and the species extinction looming everywhere.
If there's a storm coming, we batten down the hatches. We need to batten down the hatches now.
We all deal with risk, all the time: That's why we pay for home insurance and car insurance. It may be a burden on the family budget. But we all pay it, because it will cover our sweet behinds in the - rare and no-to-be-hoped-for - event of some calamity like a house fire, a tree coming down on the roof, or a car accident.
Climate change mitigation IS home insurance. It may seem expensive. But if it preserves our home, our Earth, it will be amply worth it.
" Climate Change: the state of the science "