Spring 2018: Introduction to Mitigation and Adaptation Studies

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Class 11 (02/14/2018): Diagnosis (continued), Prognosis and Therapy

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Prognosis: Scenario-based simulations and risk assessments are methodologies to explore possible futures in support of the development of mitigation and adaptation actions that facilitate system trajectories towards desirable futures. Climate simulations for a range of emission scenarios provided a basis for mitigation policy developments that were used in the discussion of global climate change mitigation agreements. Global risk assessments show that environmental risks are increasingly likely with severe impacts on social and economic risks.

Therapy: The flows between a human or non-human community between the Earth's life-support system (ELSS) and this community determine the wellbeing and sustainability of the community. In all communities, basic needs determine the flows, and power and hierarchical structures impact the distribution of benefits associated with the flows. If the flows reach a level that exceeds the capacity of the ELSS to sustain the flows or that have detrimental impacts on the ELSS, then the community is challenged and may suffer scarcity, reduction in size, or extinction.

Unlike other communities, in human communities, basic needs are not the only factor determining the amount of flows. Ethical and moral rules determine the flows and the distribution of benefits associated with the flows. In modern human communities, the economic model introduced by Adam Smith in 1776 has an major impact on the level of the flows as well as the distribution of the benefits. Modern economy requires constant grows and acceleration of the flows to function, which is inhernently unstainable and the main cause of the degradation of the ELSS.

The therapy therefore has to start with revising the economic model fundamentally to allow for prosperity without growth and to enable economy to be the key agent safeguarding the ELSS.

Reading List

Griggs et al., 2013.

">World Watch Institute, 2013.

Look at the Sustainable Development Goals: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs.

UNRISD, 2016.

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