In August, as wildfires crept close to the historic Lick Observatory near San Jose, California, Claire Max watched as live webcams showed flames edging toward observatory buildings and several telescopes. In the end, firefighters kept the flames at bay. Although two unused buildings were destroyed and several houses were damaged, the working telescopes only had a bit of ash on the mirrors. “We really lucked out,” says Max, director of the University of California Observatories, which runs Lick. Coastal California has always experienced cycles of drought and fire, she says. “But it’s perfectly plausible for people to say global warming didn’t make it any better.”
Society has over invested in fossil fuels and unsustainable practices which create enormous externalities under the guise of misunderstanding the risks and by exploiting the ‘returns’ of the natural world. So how do we fix this gregarious exploitation?
We must quantify the financial risk related to climate change and internalize the physical and transition costs of creating an environmentally sustainable economy- that is precisely what Riskthinking.Ai helps decision-makers do.
Risks related to climate change are some of the most significant threats facing the global economy, according to the World Economic Forum, which recently released its Global Risks Report 2018. In a report that scans a spectrum of economic, environmental, geopolitical, societal, and technological risks, extreme weather events, natural disasters, and failure to mitigate climate change took three of the Top 5 risks likely to have an impact on the global economy in the short term.
…the Electoral College also undermines the fight against climate change. If every additional vote in California, Oregon, and Washington—which between them boast roughly 50 million people—mattered as much as every additional vote in a swing state, Biden might have spent the past few weeks touring the West Coast and explaining how his plans can save its residents from a climate apocalypse that threatens to make their home unliveable. But the Electoral College rules that out. Biden has no incentive to run up his margin in three reliably blue states. Instead, he’s singularly focused on purple ones in the Midwest. So far this month, he’s visited Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, and he’s headed to Minnesota next week. Conventional wisdom holds that in a Midwest built on fossil fuels and heavy industry, focusing on climate change is politically risky.
Since 1980, the U.S. has sustained 273 weather and climate disasters exceeding $1 billion in damages. Yet Americans still overwhelmingly consider climate change an “environmental issue” and a largely distant, future risk rather than a here-and-now problem. According to the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, only 45% of Americans think people in the U.S. are being harmed by global warming “right now.”
In the age of social media, climate change communication has been plagued by misinformation and disinformation, which has not only slowed much needed action on the climate emergency, but impacted the “overall intellectual well-being of society.”
Climate scientists use mathematical models to project the Earth’s future under a warming world, but a group of the latest models have included unexpectedly high values for a measure called “climate sensitivity.”
Shell and other Dutch multinationals donated over a million guilders – close to half a million Euros – to prominent Dutch climate science denier Frits Böttcher during the 1990s, documents from his personal archives reveal. Böttcher’s explicit objective: to question human responsibility for global warming. Denialism still permeates popular media causing distraction and seeding confusion, which stalls much need action. Riskthinking.AI’s methodology and tools harness the wisdom of leading climatologists and evidence-based climate science to inform timely decision-making.