This list is an interpretation of the risks of climate change identified by the 4th Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007.
Note that the 4th Panel was based on science conducted up to 2005. The worst case scenarios projected for 2050 are now at the point of being reached in 2018. Ice at both poles is melting much faster than predicted, which is having many impacts including the release of methane from frozen tundra.
The Thirteen Risks
Risk 1: Danger to up to 118 million people losing their communities to the sea. (Note: Models in 2014 suggested the risk is faced by 600 million.)
Risk 2: Famine due to the threatening of crops through aridity, flood, altered growth cycles and pests.
Risk 3: A large increase in the range of diseases such as malaria
Risk 4: Ecosystem changes, in particular a growth of deserts and a reduction of forests. (Note that these ecosystem changes are also happening due to direct destruction e.g. logging and mining.)
Risk 5: More crowded living spaces
Risk 6: More coexistence of cultures and languages in habitable areas
Risk 7: A more nomadic lifestyle for many of us
Risk 8: More competition for food and goods
Risk 9: A greater and growing gap between rich and poor
Risk 10: A shorter life expectancy
Risk 11: A shift of public resources away from ‘inessentials’
Risk 12: Fundamental conflicts between those who respond with decadence and those with authoritarian moral stances
Risk 13: Greatly increased threats of nuclear war and terrorism.
How can your organisation respond to each of these 13 risks?
Share out the risks so that people are working in pairs on 1-3 risks each. Ask them to come up with ideas for action in response.
Here you will find a Google document with some response actions suggested. After brainstorming for themselves, people could look at these and decide which few ideas are most relevant and possible.
To extend: You might notice that some of the risks go against normal future predictions. For example, we are used to hearing that numbers of elderly people will grow, but Risk 10 is a ‘shorter life expectancy’. What surprises you about the list of risks? Does this list of risks throw new light on your mission and plans?
Next steps? You could pair this activity with the Precautionary Principle