IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007
Climate Change 2007: Working Group II: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability

19.3.2 Global social systems

The term ‘social systems’ is used here in a broad sense to describe human systems, and includes both market systems and social systems. Market systems typically involve the provision and sale of goods and services in formal or informal markets. Valuation of non-market impacts (e.g., losses of human life, species lost, distributional inequity, etc.) involves a series of normative judgements that limit the degree of consensus and confidence commanded by different studies (see Section 19.1.2). The importance of non-market impacts and equity weighting is suggested by Stern (2007) but, in the absence of likelihood and confidence assessments, it is difficult to apply to any risk-management framework calculations.

We first discuss impacts on major market systems, followed by a discussion of impacts on major aspects of social systems. Such impacts are often considered to be important in the context of sustainable development.