How to Prepare for Climate Change
If we are to survive the upcoming global climate catastrophe, we must plan ahead for the next several decades. We must implement drastic conservation measures, shut down much of our energy infrastructure, and retool our economies. A recent Nature paper estimates that by 2100, the carbon emissions from existing global infrastructure will exceed the "allowance," the maximum amount of carbon that we can release without causing catastrophe. At the same time, thousands of new energy and transportation projects are already planned or under construction, and a top-down intervention is required.
Preparing for extreme weather
Although the risk of extreme weather is not new, the severity and frequency of events are expected to increase as global temperatures rise. Extreme weather events are already a threat to the economy and lives of American families and businesses, and climate change will only make such impacts more frequent and intense. According to a Washington Post analysis, nearly a third of the population lives in a county where a major natural disaster struck, and two-thirds of Americans experienced at least one multiday heat wave.
Recent studies have shown that many natural disasters have become more severe because of climate change. A recent report by the Carbon Brief analyzed 355 extreme weather events and found that more than half had been made more likely by climate change. These events included floods, earthquakes, typhoons, and wildfires. Although climate change is already affecting these types of events, there is no way to know how climate change will affect them.
In contrast, the term "climate change" is met with much lower support from conservatives than does the term "extreme weather" when referring to the impact of climate change. But, when framed in terms of extreme weather, however, climate change is more likely to get support from conservatives, making it more politically feasible to advocate for climate preparedness policies. The term "climate change" is also more likely to attract conservative support than extreme weather, so using it as a means of attracting conservatives to climate preparedness policies is much safer.
Among the most critical aspects of preparing for climate change is educating ourselves on what to do in case of a severe weather event. People who are most affected by extreme weather events are those who live in low-income communities, or those who are the victims of systemic racism. These people are often the ones who are least prepared for such events. It is imperative that we prepare for this reality by taking a few simple steps to minimize the damage.
Canadians are interested in climate change. COVID-19 has changed national conversation and public perceptions, perhaps by focusing on the benefits of preparedness and the harm of underinvestment. The Environics Climate and Energy Survey has tracked Canadian attitudes since 2007, and this latest survey highlights a shift in Canadian thinking. As the climate is expected to continue to rise, the importance of planning ahead for climate change cannot be underestimated. If we want to ensure a stable, secure future for our communities and planet, we must work to plan ahead for climate change.
Adapting to climate change will require planning and monitoring strategies that are adaptive and flexible. While uncertainty is a challenge, planners are trained to manage it. They should consider multiple climate change scenarios and identify sources of uncertainty. This is accomplished through adaptive management, a flexible governance approach that constantly adjusts based on new information gathered through system monitoring. The key is to adopt robust, low-regret strategies that will benefit communities regardless of what the climate changes will do to them in the future.
Adapting to climate change requires breakthroughs in science and technology, entrepreneurs who will pilot new solutions, and strong public policies. These challenges are all present in the West, and local officials must be able to address them. Students at MIT and other universities are already leading the way in this regard. By becoming aware of climate change, young people can shape the future of our cities and countries. They can be the change agents of a better, sustainable future.
Funding is an ongoing challenge, but cities can find ways to address these issues through innovative applications of existing financing instruments. Using a special tax on waterfront property, for example, can create revenue. Resilience fees can signal to developers to avoid high-risk neighborhoods and to adapt to risks associated with climate change. Finally, cities must evaluate the effectiveness of their plans to ensure that they are making the most impact possible. This requires a detailed evaluation method, and it should include responsible parties and reporting requirements. However, these evaluation strategies are still controversial and require careful research.
How to prepare for climate change is a question that must be answered now more than ever. The planet is changing rapidly, and that change is going to impact our decisions of others. To make our lives easier, we must start by learning about climate change and preparing ourselves for the changes. David Pogue has written a book about this topic, "How to Prepare for Climate Change." It is reprinted by arrangement with Simon & Schuster and has copyright through 2021.
The book is a must-read for anyone concerned about climate change. It is also a companion volume to The Uninhabitable Earth and The Sixth Extinction. Author David Pogue has hosted twenty science specials on PBS NOVA and is a five-time Emmy Award-winning technology correspondent. He also authored the New York Times bestseller The Long Emergency Plan. The book is available on Amazon and in the Next Big Idea App.
To make sure that you have everything you need in case of a natural disaster, consider making a "grab and go" kit. It contains supplies you will need for a day or two outside your home. Gather with a friend or family member so you can stay with them while the first responders work to help you. Also, make sure you check on your neighbours during heat waves and other extreme weather events. By taking steps now, you will minimize the impact of climate shocks on your life.
One of the biggest problems with climate change is the cost. Many people will be left without enough money to adapt to the changes. The poorest and most vulnerable will be affected the most by the changes. Climate scientists predict that at four degrees Celsius the world will experience a complete economic meltdown. As a result, countries will have to drastically change their lifestyle and shift to industries that require less energy. This means that they need to shift away from energy-intensive activities and focus on saving on food and water.
Another problem with climate change is that it increases the number of extreme precipitation events. Increasing rainfall amounts in the heaviest one percent of storms has increased by twenty percent nationally since 1958. The increased rains mean increased flood risk. The increase in heat-trapping gases will lead to more warming in the coming decades, and these effects will be magnified even more. To help you prepare for climate change, UCS has created a framework and principles for science-based adaptation.
The successful adaptation of a region or community to climate change is directly related to the ability to preserve its ecosystems and basic human rights. In this context, adaptation policies and programs must integrate efforts to protect ecosystems, promote human rights, and preserve biodiversity. The role of ecosystems in climate change adaptation is recognized at the international level, under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.
Adaptation research should take into account both fundamental principles of science and the practical implications of those discoveries. It should also encourage research that moves beyond conventional boundaries and into broader areas. This way, the science of adaptation can accommodate both purist and non-traditional views of the problem. This would lead to a more nuanced understanding of how adaptation is practiced and advanced. But what does this mean? What are the benefits of focusing on the science of adaptation?
In addition to addressing these challenges, scientists also need to consider social factors that influence adaptation. This knowledge can be based on social impact analysis, which considers societal effects of climate change. Adaptation research is often based on a participatory approach, but is not limited to this method. Instead, it often involves stakeholders in decision-making, and is increasingly co-funded by local governments and private actors. If climate change adaptation research focuses on the social aspects of adaptation, it can improve understanding of what makes for a successful adaptation project.
Adaptation to climate change occurs by modifying plastic responses. For example, divergence may target environmentally responsive genes, whereas adaptation should enhance the expression plasticity of environmental responses. Thus, studies of the capacity of a population to adapt to climate change should take into account these factors and make it possible for a region to respond to the challenges posed by climate change. A recent report from the World Bank found that adaptation to climate change has led to higher levels of human health and welfare, despite its complexities.
Research on adaptation to climate change should also address social and political factors. These factors, in turn, should influence adaptation policies and practices. Consequently, a science of adaptation should be based on the science of adaptation. In other words, adaptation science should include questions that are not immediately relevant to society but are necessary for meaningful adaptation. So, how do we advance adaptation science? Let us discuss. What is adaptation science? What is its role in society?
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