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Page 659

Individual Statement by a Member of the Adaptation Panel

JANE LUBCHENCO

Panel member Jane Lubchenco believes that "the report [of the Adaptation Panel] does not adequately address the potential environmental and global consequences of the different adaptation strategies it recommends, nor does it adequately acknowledge that these consequences must be taken into consideration. The report does address the most obvious and immediate financial costs of some of the adaptations, but does not really consider other costs. Of particular concern are indirect costs, i.e., those emerging as consequences of interactions among the individual sectors considered in the report or as consequences of adaptation measures. The implicit message of the report is that humans can adapt to the predicted climate changes without worrying about these other costs.

"This complacent tone is unwarranted in light of (a) the uncertainties about responses of natural systems to climate change, (b) the reliance of human systems on these natural systems (i.e., interactions among the different sectors considered in the report), (c) the unexamined environmental consequences of recommended adaptations, and (d) the substantial difficulties anticipated for developing nations to adapt to climate change. I concur that the adaptation strategies suggested in the report may be quite reasonable and should possibly be pursued. However, the limitations to and costs of these adaptations must be made explicit. The areas in which adaptations cannot be made, or at least, not easily made (for example those identified in the sections dealing with unmanaged ecosystems), are so fundamentally important to the global system that mitigation—not adaptation—becomes paramount.

"In summary, I disagree with the report's implicit message, that 'we can adapt with little or no problem.' I believe that even the incomplete analysis of the Adaptation Panel supports the recommendations of the Synthesis Panel to adopt effective but inexpensive actions to slow the onset of greenhouse warming."



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OCR for page 659
Page 659 Individual Statement by a Member of the Adaptation Panel JANE LUBCHENCO Panel member Jane Lubchenco believes that "the report [of the Adaptation Panel] does not adequately address the potential environmental and global consequences of the different adaptation strategies it recommends, nor does it adequately acknowledge that these consequences must be taken into consideration. The report does address the most obvious and immediate financial costs of some of the adaptations, but does not really consider other costs. Of particular concern are indirect costs, i.e., those emerging as consequences of interactions among the individual sectors considered in the report or as consequences of adaptation measures. The implicit message of the report is that humans can adapt to the predicted climate changes without worrying about these other costs. "This complacent tone is unwarranted in light of (a) the uncertainties about responses of natural systems to climate change, (b) the reliance of human systems on these natural systems (i.e., interactions among the different sectors considered in the report), (c) the unexamined environmental consequences of recommended adaptations, and (d) the substantial difficulties anticipated for developing nations to adapt to climate change. I concur that the adaptation strategies suggested in the report may be quite reasonable and should possibly be pursued. However, the limitations to and costs of these adaptations must be made explicit. The areas in which adaptations cannot be made, or at least, not easily made (for example those identified in the sections dealing with unmanaged ecosystems), are so fundamentally important to the global system that mitigation—not adaptation—becomes paramount. "In summary, I disagree with the report's implicit message, that 'we can adapt with little or no problem.' I believe that even the incomplete analysis of the Adaptation Panel supports the recommendations of the Synthesis Panel to adopt effective but inexpensive actions to slow the onset of greenhouse warming."

OCR for page 659