Optimism on Climate Change


Al Gore has three questions about climate change and our future.
First: Do we have to change? Each day, global-warming pollution traps as much heat energy as would be released by 400,000 Hiroshima-class atomic bombs. This trapped heat is leading to stronger storms and more extreme floods, he says: “Every night on the TV news now is like a nature hike through the Book of Revelation.”
Second: Can we change? We’ve already started.
Third and big question: Will we change? In this challenging, inspiring talk, Gore says yes. “When any great moral challenge is ultimately resolved into a binary choice between what is right and what is wrong, the outcome is foreordained because of who we are as human beings,” he says. “That is why we’re going to win this.”

Kiribati country will be Underwater Soon – Unless We Work Together


For the people of Kiribati, climate change isn’t something to be debated, denied or legislated against — it’s an everyday reality. The low-lying Pacific island nation may soon be underwater, thanks to rising sea levels.
In a personal conversation with TED Curator Chris Anderson, Kiribati President Anote Tong discusses his country’s present climate catastrophe and its imperiled future. “In order to deal with climate change, there’s got to be sacrifice. There’s got to be commitment,” he says. “We’ve got to tell people that the world has changed.”

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What Has Science Ever Done for Us? The Knowledge Wars Reviewed


Many people ask the same question of science. Since the 16th century science has given us electricity and anaesthetics, the internet and statins, the jumbo jet, vaccines and good anti-cancer drugs, the washing machine and the automobile. But what has it done for us lately?

In fact, for many people, what science has done for us lately hasn’t been dancin’ till one thought one would lose one’s breath. Rather, it has delivered emotionally-charged fights over issues such asvaccination, whether everyone should be taking statins, anthropogenic climate change, genetically modified foods, wind farms and high-tension power lines.

Indeed, while most of us are happy with most of the products of science — not least our iPods, white goods and light bulbs — when it comes to some of the more contentious issues of science we’re not such a happy bunch.

You only have to look at comment threads on articles about these topics to see just such unhappiness and disgruntlement. In such discussions, science isn’t a benign tool for understanding the natural world, but a villain intent on unleashing industries and technologies we don’t want, or forcing us to give up our SUVs or eat our broccoli.

In this sort of world you can understand why, when considering the state of things, many scientists have taken on slightly exasperated air.
We’ve all heard lines about “global conspiracies of scientists.” Yet no one who has a passing understanding of how science works could imagine getting a global community to agree on anything remotely doubtful.

At times The Knowledge Wars feels like a Wikipedia binge, ranging widely and wildly through invention and events of the last 500 years (although, to be fair, that’s often how I spend my Saturday nights). And, perhaps more fundamentally, it sorely misses a nuanced take on the economic sociology and history underpinning that period. For example, although central to much of scientific and social history of the last half millennium, “capitalism” doesn’t make it to the index.

But the bigger lament I have after reading The Knowledge Wars is one perhaps I share with Doherty. Modern science began with the birth of Renaissance men; with individuals who understood that wise governance requires an embrace of statecraft as well as high art and the latest advances in science.

Yet now, the very idea of Renaissance men and women seems anathema, a foolish dream that could never happen in this crazy mixed up world we now live in. But is that really so foolish?

The Future: Climate Change, Adaptation and Scenario Planning


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The gales of climate change blow the future open and closed. In response, we are having to learn to live with a renewed notion of limits and a novel level of uncertainty. One emerging governance response is a turn to scenario planning, which generates narratives about multiple futures refracted out from the present. Like climate change itself, scenario planning, and the broader field of futures studies it is part of, is historically and socially positioned, belying its application as a mere method or tool.

via Opening and closing the future: climate change, adaptation, and scenario planning – Open Research Online.

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5 Scary Things Scientists And Economists Think Could Happen By 2050


Great innovations and progress are coming for humanity, but so too are threats of unprecedented magnitude: Climate change. Cyber terror. Hunger.

Though such terms frequently appear in discussions about the future, the reality of these problems is often lost on us. Unfortunately, scientists and economists agree that we cannot keep distancing ourselves forever. If left unchecked, many of these problems will become global catastrophes by the year 2050.

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