Recommended Reading – The Hartwell Paper

As posted on my son’s weblog today, there is a proposal to reform how climate policy is conducted. His post is titled The Hartwell Paper.

There is a Nature post on this important new contribution at

New, ‘relentlessly pragmatic’ approach to climate change needed?

The Hartwell Paper can be viewed at http://www.lse.ac.uk/collections/mackinderProgramme/theHartwellPaper/.

The concepts presented are similar to what we recommend in our article

Pielke Sr., R., K. Beven, G. Brasseur, J. Calvert, M. Chahine, R. Dickerson, D. Entekhabi, E. Foufoula-Georgiou, H. Gupta, V. Gupta, W. Krajewski, E. Philip Krider, W. K.M. Lau, J. McDonnell,  W. Rossow,  J. Schaake, J. Smith, S. Sorooshian,  and E. Wood, 2009: Climate change: The need to consider human forcings besides greenhouse gases. Eos, Vol. 90, No. 45, 10 November 2009, 413. Copyright (2009) American Geophysical Union

where we wrote

“….the cost- benefit analyses regarding the mitigation of CO2 and other greenhouse gases need to be considered along with the other human climate forcings in a broader environmental context, as well as with respect to their role in the climate system……. policies focused on controlling the emissions of greenhouse gases must necessarily be supported by complementary policies focused on other first-order climate forcings. The issues that society faces related to these other forcings include the increasing demands of the human population, urbanization, changes in the natural landscape and land management, long- term weather variability and change, animal and insect dynamics, industrial and vehicular emissions, and so forth. All of these issues interact with and feed back upon each other. The impact on water quality and water quantity, for example, is a critically important societal concern……..

If communities are to become more resilient to the entire spectrum of possible environmental and social variability and change [Vörösmarty et al., 2000], scientists must properly assess the vulnerabilities and risks associated with the choices made by modern society and anticipate the demands for resources several decades into the future…..

We therefore propose that one should not rely solely on prediction as the primary policy approach to assess the potential impact of future regional and global climate variability and change. Instead, we suggest that integrated assessments within the framework of vulnerability, with an emphasis on risk assessment and disaster prevention, offer a complementary approach [Kabat et al., 2004]. This should be conducted in parallel with attempts to improve skill in predicting regional and global climate on multidecadal time scales. This leads to a practical and sensible way forward that will permit a more effective climate policy by focusing on the assessment of adaptation and mitigation strategies that can reduce the vulnerability of all of our important societal and environmental resources (involving water, food, energy, and human and ecosystem health) to both natural and human- caused climate variability and change.”

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