Last week, we talked about the latest report from the U.N. IPCC describing the impacts that have already been seen from climate change and some projections of what we might expect in the future. The report found that, “Climate change poses the greatest risks to the most vulnerable populations within all nations, and a potentially existential risk to poorer countries already struggling with food insecurity and civil conflict, as well as low-lying small island states.”
But most of us are not in that group, so we’re okay, right?
Not necessarily. The report “recognizes that risks of climate change will vary across regions and populations, through space and time, dependent on myriad factors including the extent of mitigation and adaptation.”
In other words, there is a great deal of uncertainty in predicting specific risks, and the results depend a great deal on the actions we take or don’t take.
Another report came out last month, this one by a cross-disciplinary group at NASA, based on the Human and Nature Dynamical (HANDY) model. The model was created by a team of natural and social scientists led by mathematician Safa Motesharrei of the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, which is funded by the National Science Foundation. The study has been accepted for publication by the peer-reviewed journal Ecological Economics.
The study states that in the past a number of highly sophisticated, complex civilizations such as the Roman, Han, Mauryan and Gupta Empires, along with numerous Mesopotamian Empires, have collapsed, and it draws parallels among the conditions that made each of these susceptible.
Considering the growing awareness of our own vulnerability, we would be well advised to pay attention to these results. Click to continue reading »
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