Scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal.- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is extremely likely (greater than 95 percent probability) to be the result of human activity since the mid-20th century and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented over decades to millennia.
Earth-orbiting satellites and other technological advances have enabled scientists to see the big picture, collecting many different types of information about our planet and its climate on a global scale. This body of data, collected over many years, reveals the signals of a changing climate.
The heat-trapping nature of carbon dioxide and other gases was demonstrated in the mid-19th century. Their ability to affect the transfer of infrared energy through the atmosphere is the scientific basis of many instruments flown by NASA. There is no question that increased levels of greenhouse gases must cause the Earth to warm in response.
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Professors Rebecca M. Henderson and Sophus A. Reinert, Polina Dekhtyar (MBA 2016), and Case Researcher Amram Migdal (Case Research &
Writing Group) prepared this note as the basis for class discussion.
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AM R AM M I G D AL
Climate Change in 2018: Implications for Business
[The Department of Defense] recognizes the reality of climate change and the significant risk it poses to U.S.
interests globally. The National Security Strategy, issued in February 2015, is clear that climate change is an
urgent and growing threat to our national security, contributing to increased natural disasters, refugee flows,
and conflicts over basic resources such as food and water. These impacts are already occurring, and the scope,
scale, and intensity of these impacts are projected to increase over time.
— United States Department of Defense, July 20151
The risk of large-scale climate change is one of the central issues facing the world. There is
widespread consensus among the scientific community that the Earth is warming, that this warming
is caused by human emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs), and that the consequences of continued
warming are likely to be severe. There is also global concern about the issue: in a recent Pew poll,
majorities in all 40 nations polled said that climate change was a serious problem, and a global median
of 54% said that it was a very serious problem.
But there is widespread disagreement about what—if anything—should be done in response. Wh