I have about 20 drafts of Futures Friday topics I have been thinking about for today — but really, none of that matters. I think it is time we address the real issue, so this will be short. Can we stop the effects of climate change?
With the The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26, stating this weekend, I think it is time we shift the conversation. We can talk about all the ways we could reduce carbon emissions and all the possible geoengineering projects to hold off the effects, but the real question is, “Is it plausible to assume that we will actually reduce carbon enough to not suffer dramatic effects?”
Keep in mind, we actually have the ability to do it today. We would have to change substantially, but it is technically achievable. People and governments being what they are however, is it plausible?
I do not have an answer to this question, but if I had to bet I would say no. Regardless of the answer I think we should continue our efforts are carbon reduction and sustainable living, but if we recognize that we are not going to come close to achieving our goals now, maybe we have time to at least mitigate some of the effects. And here is where there is some hope. While most cities and regions can do little to affect global climate change, they can do a lot to affect regional mitigation.
What are the things we should be working on now? Any sort of large infrastructure projects (i.e., dams, tidal protections, land buyback programs, etc.) will take time and we need to get started now. If we wait to see if we will meet our environmental goals it will be too late.
Other topics should also be on every city’s list, coastal or not, such as environmental refugees, supply chain disruptions, and a reduction of dependance on fossil fuels. Tied into all of this is equality. Climate change impacts will hit those economically and socially stressed the most.
What do you think? What do we need to start planning today to mitigate the effects of climate change tomorrow?