, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 268-275
Date: 07 Sep 2008

Identification and categorization of climate change risks

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The scientific evidence that climate is changing due to greenhouse gas emission is now incontestable, which may put many social, biological, and geophysical systems in the world at risk. In this paper, we first identified main risks induced from or aggravated by climate change. Then we categorized them applying a new risk categorization system brought forward by Renn in a framework of International Risk Governance Council. We proposed that “uncertainty” could be treated as the classification criteria. Based on this, we established a quantitative method with fuzzy set theory, in which “confidence” and “likelihood”, the main quantitative terms for expressing uncertainties in IPCC, were used as the feature parameters to construct the fuzzy membership functions of four risk types. According to the maximum principle, most climate change risks identified were classified into the appropriate risk types. In the mean time, given that not all the quantitative terms are available, a qualitative approach was also adopted as a complementary classification method. Finally, we get the preliminary results of climate change risk categorization, which might lay the foundation for the future integrated risk management of climate change.

Foundation item: Under the auspices of National Science & Technology Pillar Program During the 11th Five-Year Plan Period (No. 2006BAD20B05)