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Uncertainty Around Climate Change is No Excuse for Inaction

The difficulty of developing sound strategies for responding to climate change, and of building public support for such strategies, stems in part from the inherent complexity of the issue. Some of this complexity relates to the physical science of climate change; but understanding and responding to climate change also raises many social, economic, ethical, and political challenges.
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Projecting future climate change requires understanding numerous linkages among human activities, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, changes in atmospheric composition, the response of the climate system, and impacts on human and natural systems. The basic links in this chain are well understood, but some elements (in particular, projecting specific impacts at specific times and places) are much less so. As a result, the outcomes of actions to reduce emissions or to reduce the vulnerabilities of human and natural systems must often be presented in probabilistic or qualitative terms, rather than as certain predictions. Lack of certainty about the details of future climate change is not, however, a justification for inaction. 

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