As the Earth continues to warm, climate disasters are getting more extreme. In 2020, the impact was on vivid display with record-shattering wildfires in the western U.S. and the historic Atlantic hurricane season.
Just because the United States has re-joined the Paris Agreement doesn’t mean that the world is on a path to a better climate future. The 2015 agreement, in which signatories pledged to collectively cap global warming at “well below” 2°C above pre-industrial levels, is only the first step. Member nations still have to adopt ambitious carbon emission reduction plans, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), and with the current level of commitments the world is on track for a global temperature rise of more than 2.5°C.
Valuing health impacts- which accrue over long time horizons (centuries) and are likely to be unevenly experienced throughout the world- is a key challenge in climate policy. These features raise a number of important economic and ethical issues including how to value human life in different countries at different levels of development, how to value future people, and how much priority to give the poor and disadvantaged. In this article we review each of these issues, describe different approaches for addressing them in quantitative climate policy analysis, and show how their treatment can dramatically change what should be done about climate change.
The success of responses to COVID-19, and other global threats for that matter, hinges on the ability of humans to rapidly learn and change their behaviour. Riskthinking.ai’s forward-looking scenarios tools help decision-makers better understand the risks, and related costs, they face when it comes to threats like a global pandemic, and identify the kinds of behaviours and supportive policies that will have the biggest positive impact.
A virus a thousand times smaller than a dust mote has humbled and humiliated the planet’s most powerful nation. America has failed to protect its people, leaving them with illness and financial ruin. It has lost its status as a global leader. It has careened between inaction and ineptitude. The breadth and magnitude of its errors are difficult, in the moment, to truly fathom. It’s what happens in the complete absence of risk thinking.
We agree with Dr. Goodall that social and ecological systems are inextricably entwined. If humanity is to avoid future pandemics and an escalation of climate chaos, human systems that are negatively impacting the natural world must change