UN Climate Change News, 11 January 2021 – In a virtual address at the ‘One Planet Summit’ for biodiversity hosted by the French government in cooperation with the United Nations and the World Bank, UN Secretary-General António Guterres declared 2021 as “the year to reconcile humanity with nature.”
He highlighted both the need to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and to provide adequate finance to adapt to the impacts of climate change, which include more frequent and more severe incidents of drought, flooding and fires.
Two years ago, an influential self-published paper entitled, “Deep Adaptation: A Map for Navigating the Climate Tragedy,” written by Jem Bendell, suggested that we were too late to save the world. Yet, in their rebuttal to Deep Adaptation, researchers Galen Hall and Tom Nicholas argue, “The fundamental battle in climate change right now is whether or not we can understand it as a primarily political struggle — rather than a scientific or natural struggle — and then win that struggle,” Mr. Hall said. “Deep Adaptation or fatalism in general is just one way of depoliticizing it because it puts everything up to inhuman forces.”
Spurious methods used in neoclassical economics have resulted in a gross underestimation of the potential economic harm caused by climate change. Correcting for such errors makes it feasible that the economic damages from climate change are at least an order of magnitude worse than forecast by economists, and may be so great as to threaten the survival of human civilization.
The Anthropocene is nothing if not disorienting. Things that once seemed immutable—polar ice caps, songbird migration routes, even the onset of spring—are now on the move. So how do we think about our place in a geographically altered future? A map is a good place to start. We’re accustomed to looking at maps that depict the world as it is, but cartographers of the Anthropocene are beginning to illustrate what may be—in the near and distant future. As climate change scrambles geographies, they are asking: Which parts of the world will humans find habitable in 50 years? How will species’ ranges shift? How might we think about urbanization and globalization? With maps in hand, we boldly go.
As this article elaborates, the scientific literature paints an increasingly bleak picture of anthropogenic climate change, with impacts both broad and deep. There is no question that human societies will need to adapt to change at a scale heretofore never experienced, and will need new approaches and tools for doing so, which is what riskthinking.AI offers.