Federal Coordinating Lead Author:
Jeremy Martinich, U.S Environmental Protection Agency
Chapter Lead:
Jeremy Martinich, U.S Environmental Protection Agency
Chapter Authors:
Benjamin DeAngelo, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Delavane Diaz, Electric Power Research Institute
Brenda Ekwurzel, Union of Concerned Scientists
Guido Franco, California Energy Commission
Carla Frisch, U.S. Department of Energy
James McFarland, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Brian O'Neill, University of Denver (National Center for Atmospheric Research through June 2018)
Review Editor:
Andrew Light, George Mason University
USGCRP Coordinators:
David Reidmiller, Director
Christopher W. Avery, Senior Manager

Reducing Risks Through Emissions Mitigation

This chapter assesses recent advances in climate science and impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability research that have improved understanding of how potential mitigation pathways can avoid or reduce the long-term risks of climate change within the United States. This chapter does not evaluate technology options, costs, or the adequacy of existing or planned mitigation efforts relative to meeting specific policy targets, as those topics have been the subject of domestic (e.g., Executive Office of the President 2016, CCSP 2007, DeAngelo et al. 2017, NRC 20157,8,9,10) and international analyses (e.g., Fawcett et al. 2015, Clarke et al. 201411,12). Also, this chapter does not assess the potential roles for carbon sinks (or storage) in mitigation, which are discussed in Chapter 5: Land Changes, and in the Second State of the Carbon Cycle Report.13 Further, it is beyond the scope of this chapter and this assessment to evaluate or recommend policy options.

USGCRP defines risk as threats to life, health and safety, the environment, economic well-being, and other things of value. Risks are often evaluated in terms of how likely they are to occur (probability) and the damages that would result if they did happen (consequences).

Both mitigation and adaptation responses to climate change are likely to occur as part of an iterative risk management strategy in which initial actions are modified over time as learning occurs (Ch. 28: Adaptation). This chapter focuses primarily on the early stages of this iterative process in which risks and vulnerabilities are identified and the potential climate impacts of emissions scenarios are assessed.

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