Q&A: Seven Questions about Climate Change

Author:Rabah Arezki - Akito Matsumoto
Volume 16, Number 4 December 2015
Seven Questions about
Climate Change1
Rabah Arezki and Akito Matsumoto
Climate change is at the top of the agenda of
policymakers as they gather in Paris for the
United Nations Climate Change Conference,
COP21. Climate change is a threat to the very
survival of humanity. Notwithstanding the
severity of the threat, actions to halt climate
change have been scant and uneven across countries. This Q&A article provides
brief answers to seven questions about climate change, its consequences, and the
coordination for developing mitigation strategies.
Question 1. What is climate change?
Climate change refers to changes i n the patterns of the overall climate of t he Earth.
It can refer to changes in the Ea rth’s average temperature and precipitation
patterns. Among them, t he gradual increase in the average temperatu re of
the Eart h’s atmosphere and its oceans is oen referred to as global war ming
(see Figure 1), and the potential causes and consequences f rom global warming
have been the main focus of ma ny discussions.
Some causes of climate change a re natural. ese include changes in
the Eart h’s orbit and in the amount of energy comi ng from the sun.
Volcanic eruptions are also natura l causes of climate change. ere is,
however, a consensus among scientists that recent global wa rming cannot
be explai ned by nature alone.
1 We are grateful to Mau ry Obstfeld for insightf ul comments and suggest ions.
In This Issue
1 Q&A: Seven Questions
about Climate Change
6 Winning the Oil Lottery:
The Impact of Natural
Resource Extraction
on Growth
9 Malaysia: Achieving
High-Income Status
through Resilience and
Inclusive Growth
14 IMF Working Papers
17 Recommended Readings
from the IMF Bookstore
18 IMF Economic Review
18 Conference Call
for Papers
19 Staff Discussion Notes
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1880 1900 1920 1940 1960 1980 2000
Annual Mean
5-year Running Mean
Figure 1. Global Land-Ocean Temperature Index
Temperature Anomaly (Celsius)
Source: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

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