An international scientific research project known as the Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project (ISI-MIP), run by 30 teams from 12 countries, has attempted to understand the severity and scale of global impacts of climate change. The project compares model projections on water scarcity, crop yields, disease, floods among other issues to see how they could interact.

The series of papers published by the Proceedings for the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) shows that policymakers might be underestimating the social and economic consequences of climate change due to insufficient attention on how different climate risks are interconnected.

Europe, North America at risk

One paper whose lead author is Franziska Piontek of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research explores impacts related to ‘water, agriculture, ecosystems, and malaria at different levels of global warming.’ The study concludes that:

‘… uncertainty arising from the impact models is considerable, and larger than that from the climate models. In a low probability-high impact worst-case assessment, almost the whole inhabited world is at risk for multisectoral pressures.’

The uncertainties in the model are large enough that they may ‘mask’ the risk of a ‘worst case’ scenario of ‘multisectoral hotspots,’ where impacts affecting ‘water, agriculture, ecosystems, and health’ […]

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