Among the top news of this week there are Professors Syukuro Manabe, Klaus Hasselmann, and Giorgio Parisi winning the 2021 Nobel Prize in Physics for their work about the Earth’s changing climate. Manabe and Hasselmann laid the foundation of our knowledge of climate and how humanity influences it, reliably predicting global warming. Parisi is rewarded for his revolutionary contributions to the theory of disordered materials and random processes, discovering the “hidden rules” behind climate changes.
Keeping climate up in the agenda is more necessary than ever. We are all confronted with extreme weather and related natural disasters, but this might just be the tip of the iceberg. In a recent Radio Davos podcast by World Economic Forum, scenario planner and futurist Peter Schwartz described the three most plausible scenarios we might face in the near future.
The worst-case scenario deals with the acceleration of climate changes and our inability to mitigate them. We would see rising average temperatures, more frequent and serious extreme weather, an irreversible impact on ecosystems and biodiversity. This is actually a catastrophic scenario.
If managing to mitigate global warming, the second scenario would open a window of hope. We would reduce CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions of human industry and society, have a little less climb in average temperatures, slow side effects down. This is an adaptability scenario, where we would still have significant climate change in effect, but we would make.it.
Is a best-case scenario possible? Yes. According to Schwartz, we might succeed in going negative on greenhouse gases and radically cut the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, while committing to the reforestation of the planet and sustainable development programs. In the long term, we would have the Earth back on a much more climate-friendly trajectory.
Walking the talk for this third scenario requires drastic, permanent measures at all levels, from governments to private companies, up to every single Earth inhabitant. It’s about energy production and the stop of fossil fuels, the conservation of natural resources, the smarter management of waste, the implementation of circular economy models, and more.
Cities have a huge role too, since they cover 3% of the Earth’s surface, but consume 78% of the world’s energy and produce more than 60% of GHG emissions. “We’re going to move toward much more walk-friendly cities […] We’re redesigning how we live to be much, much more environmentally benign,” said Peter Schwartz.
Advocating smart technologies for sustainable, climate-resilient Cities, Paradox Engineering signed the open letter to COP26 leaders promoted by Smart Cities World: Cities must be involved in any climate agreement!
Pledge your support and spotlight the critical role cities will play in delivering a sustainable future: sign the open letter today and make your voice heard!