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date: 18 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter reviews our existing state of knowledge on the threshold behavior of Earth’s climate system, and examines fluctuations in weather system attributed to greenhouse-induced climate change. The chapter posits that the extreme perturbations observed in natural physical systems provide “weak indicators” of nontrivial losses from climate change. Even when conclusive scientific proof of the precise nature and extent of losses in the future may be patchy, and may fall short of providing the necessary conditions for justifying strong interventions, the “weak indicators” may provide the sufficient conditions for regulation. The notion of “precautionary principle” is invoked in this regard to argue that when probabilities of catastrophic losses are nonzero, no matter how small they are, it is sensible to err on the side of caution.

Keywords: climate thresholds, weather extremes, natural catastrophes, nontrivial losses, precautionary principle

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