New study finds options for climate change policy are well characterized

October 24, 2014

WASHINGTON - October 24, 2014 - Policy options for climate change risk management are straightforward and have well understood strengths and weaknesses, according to a new study by the American Meteorological Society (AMS) Policy Program.

"Large gaps remain in society's consideration of climate policy," said Paul Higgins, the author of the study. "This study can help in the development of a comprehensive strategy for climate change risk management because it explores a much larger set of policy options."

The study identifies four categories of climate change risk management: 1) mitigation - efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; 2) adaptation - increasing society's capacity to cope with changes in climate; 3) geoengineering or climate engineering - additional, deliberate manipulation of the earth system that is intended to counteract at least some of the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions; and 4) knowledge-base expansion - efforts to learn and understand more about the climate system, which can help support proactive risk management.

"As a policy challenge, climate change boils down to four issues," according to Higgins. "Climate is changing; people are causing climate to change; the societal consequences of climate change are highly uncertain but include the potential for serious impacts; but there is a wide range of responses that can meaningfully help reduce the risks of climate change."

The full report is available at the American Meteorological Society Policy Program web site at
About the AMS Policy Program

The American Meteorological Society's Policy Program advances information and services relating to weather, water, and climate for the benefit of all people everywhere. Our goal is to help the nation, and the world, avoid risks and realize opportunities associated with the earth system. To learn more, visit

About AMS

Founded in 1919, AMS is a leading voice in promoting and advancing the atmospheric and related oceanic and hydrologic sciences. We are committed to supporting and strengthening the weather, water, and climate community to ensure society fully benefits from scientific education, research, and understanding.

Headquartered in Boston, with an office in Washington DC, AMS has more than 13,000 members, including researchers, scientists, broadcasters, educators, and other professionals, as well as students and weather enthusiasts. AMS publishes books, textbooks, and monographs as well as more than 2,000 articles annually across eleven peer-reviewed scientific journals. AMS set the standard for broadcast meteorologist certification in 1957, and today more than 1,500 broadcasters and consultants are AMS certified. Each year, AMS holds 8 to 12 specialty meetings and an Annual Meeting that draws more than 3,500 attendees. AMS helps educate Congress through letters and Capitol Hill briefings and also promotes Earth Science literacy through initiatives for K-12 teachers and undergraduate institutions across the country.

American Meteorological Society

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