Should we be worried about “black swan” events?

The rapid and at times unprecedented changes happening now, and likely to continue well into the future, makes planning for climate risks difficult. Climate models, advancements in science and research on the links between climate change and social pressures, and foresight exercises can help to set the stage for most likely scenarios. However, low probability events happen all the time, and these must be planned for as well. Abrupt climatic changes, as well as gradual climatic changes that instigate abrupt shifts in food, water and energy security, could potentially have serious destabilizing consequences. Changes in the jet stream, increased rates of sea level rise and glacial melt, and cascading disasters like simultaneous shocks to major grain producing nations, are just a few potentially abrupt consequences. Though we have good predictive models for climate change, there remain a number of unknowns. Building governance institutions, including institutions of international security, that are climate-resilient, will be critical for enhancing the ability of nations and populations to absorb these rapid changes.

Read more:

2014: The Next Black Swan: Rapid Changes in Context, Mehmet Burk
2013: Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change: Anticipating Surprises, National Research Council.
2013: National Intelligence Council Report: “Natural Resources in 2020, 2030, and 2040: Implications for the United States.” (July 25)
2012: National Intelligence Council: “Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds”
2012: Climate and Social Stress: Implications for Security Analysis, John D. Steinbruner; Paul C. Stern; Jo L. Husbands.
2009: Environmental Security, Abrupt Climate Change and Strategic Intelligence. Briggs, C., U.S. Department of Energy
2003: An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and Its Implications for United States National Security: Pentagon Office of Net Assessments