Conclusions

We really need to keep in mind that climate change has critical implications for society. For this reason, it is essential that we keep on gathering more information, pursuing research programs, conducting assessments and convening regional study groups, always focusing on looking at all aspects of climate and related issues and the potential for changes over the decades ahead. We need to expand and improve our analyses, getting beyond simple cost-benefit approaches to consider the full range of implications for the near and distant future. Solutions will require participation of both the public and private sectors, both governments and business, and it is encouraging that some governments and industries are starting to take significant action.

I conclude with four ideas for communicating climate change that I believe can help to promote the needed movement to address the climate change issue:

1. We need a top-down as well as a bottom-up approach. This means that there needs to be full public communication on the significance of the issue, including the introduction of climate change into the school curriculum.

2. It is important to choose the right vocabulary when communicating with policy makers. Politicians, scientists and economists need to come together so that they can at least talk in the same language.

3. We need to insist upon interdisciplinarity. All the interrelated environmental issues mentioned above need to be seen within the framework of the climate change discussion.

4. We need to make sure that the most important reports are sent to the right addresses. We must make sure that the key people understand the importance of this issue.

Finally, we should always remember that we cannot rely on our survival as a species. Life on Earth, from the bottom of the seas to the top of the atmosphere, is so robust that the human experience could easily become no more than a short, but peculiar, episode in the history of life on Earth.

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