Challenging Climate

Robert Lempert on climate impacts in the IPCC and deep uncertainty

March 08, 2022 Jesse Reynolds and Pete Irvine Episode 5
Challenging Climate
Robert Lempert on climate impacts in the IPCC and deep uncertainty
Show Notes Chapter Markers

Robert Lempert is a principal researcher at the RAND Corporation and director of the Center for Longer Range Global Policy and the Future Human Condition. His research focuses on risk management and decision-making under conditions of deep uncertainty. He was also a coordinating lead author on Chapter 1 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) latest report on climate impacts. We discuss how the IPCC works and how it has evolved in response to criticism, the key concepts needed to understand climate impacts, the challenges of adapting to climate change, decision-making under deep uncertainty, and the peculiar nature of climate scenarios.


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Welcome + Rob’s background, studying climate change and deep uncertainty
The IPCC as an “epistemic community” that builds a shared understanding of climate science and policy
Prof. Lempert's early work with the IPCC
How the IPCC was set up to advise governments and UNFCCC and What each of the working groups cover
The process that leads to IPCC reports and how governments co-produce the reports with scientists
The tensions between governments and scientists as the IPCC reports are revised
Climate risk is a product of hazard, exposure and vulnerability
The challenge of assessing impacts and how vulnerability can be reduced
Feasibility of adaptation measures and limits to adaptation
The climate risks to ecosystems and the role ecosystems can play in reducing climate impacts
The impacts of climate change have arrived and are worse than expected and while adaptation can help it isn’t keeping pace
How the IPCC has responded to criticism and how it continues to evolve
What is deep uncertainty and how should decision-makers respond to it?
What scenarios are and how they can facilitate analysis and expand worldviews
The peculiar circularity of climate scenarios and the importance of socio-economic change in climate impacts
The problems with current climate scenarios
There is no status quo either we transform society to meet this challenge or we will be transformed by it