At the XLII (42nd) MIT Global Change Forum on March 28-29, more than 100 attendees from industry, academia, government and NGOs gathered at the Samberg Conference Center on the MIT campus to explore how global change is creating challenges and opportunities in agriculture, finance, energy, weather extremes, Earth-system thresholds (tipping points), and security. Facilitated by the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change in an informal, “off-the-record” setting for independent assessment of studies and policy proposals, presentations and discussions examined impacts of global change in the broadest sense—not just from climate change but from a variety of causes.
“Since the inception of the Joint Program in 1991, we have always studied global change, but we focused largely on climate change in the early years,” said MIT Joint Program Co-Director Ronald Prinn, a professor at MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences. “But as we evolved, we realized many phenomena, once studied alone, are in fact closely linked—as illustrated in our 2018 Food, Water, Energy and Climate Outlook—and no doubt we’ll go further in that direction.”
Here we summarize key points that emerged in presentations and discussions at this year’s Forum.