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Social and Economic Impacts of Climate Change

  • By: Thomas J. Wilbanks
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Climate change is mainly concerned with the impacts on people, beyond narrow interests in natural science. For instance, the tundra may be thawing in the polar regions, which can be of scientific interest in its own right. But the more important question is what difference it makes for economies, societies, governance, and human well-being. This question is growing in salience as the knowledge base about climate change improves. About whether climate change is happening, there is now a very broad consensus that global warming is a reality. About why it is happening, the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports persuasive evidence that human activities are an important cause. The remaining issue is “So what?” Humanity has been adaptable throughout ...

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