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Three eras of climate change

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Author:
S. Huq
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In this paper, the authors briefly outline a chronology of climate change over the last few decades. They argue that the different eras of climate change are characterised by the scientific evidence, public perceptions, responses and engagement of different groups to address the problem. Three distinct eras are identified:first era from late 1980 to 2000: climate change as an ‘environmental’ problem with adverse effects for the future (within the next 50-100 years). Reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases was seen as a mitigation strategysecond era the turn of the millennium: unavoidable impacts from climate change will occur in the near term (over the next couple of decades). Both adaptation and mitigation are requiredthird era about to begin: it is expected that the trend will change from tackling an environment or development problem to a question of ‘global justice’. This will engage a wider audience than previous eras