With a shutdown or slowdown of the oceanic thermohaline circulation, which acts as a conveyor belt that transports warmer waters northwards to the maritime regions of Western Europe, many parts of Europe could face abrupt decreases in temperature, with potentially serious social and economic consequences. What do we know about the potential impacts and society's vulnerability to them, how can we best prepare, and what is the cost of action likely to be? How well prepared are we for abrupt and extreme climate change? This paper reflects on five essays, each looking at the issue through a different lens: legal, institutional, sectoral, multi-sectoral, and economic. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.
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