Introduction to Climate Change

Introduction and Overview
Now that we have learned about present climate change and mechanisms of the climate system, what we like to know is how the climate will change in the future and how this will affect living conditions where we have our homes (or our fields). We also want to know whether anything can or should be done about it, and if so, how we are going to go about doing it. Let's take these questions one at a time:

The main obstacle toward the task of doing anything regarding climate change is that the risks of doing nothing (that is, continuing on the present path), the benefits of doing something (that is, reducing carbon emissions), and the costs of the action (more expensive energy), are poorly defined and are by no means balanced in the same fashion between the various participants of the global community. The next most important obstacle is explosive population growth combined with the desire for a better standard of living. Yet another roadblock is that fact that the science of climate change still gives rather fuzzy answers to important questions, thus lending support to an approach of maximum convenience that insists we need to know more before we should act.