We Can Make a Difference – The Climate Model

This is a summary of the last several weeks’ blog posts dedicated to getting people to care, act, and adapt to human-caused conditions of climate change.

Imagine owning property on the North Carolina coast and knowing it will be underwater in 15 years. Insurance companies will not insure the property as current projections show that this occurrence is of near certainty.

Additionally, consider the air quality index (AQI). The AQI is a number used by government agencies to communicate how polluted the air currently is or will be. As the AQI increases, a large percentage of the population is likely to experience adverse health effects. An AQI of 100 is considered high in the USA. China has experienced up to a 700 on this index. As a result, the air has caused and will continue to cause respiratory impacts for healthy people, and serious or near fatal health impacts on people with lung or heart disease.

Do you think these events are random? Are humans able to take control of these situations? I think they are related and we can do something about them.

These blogs are based on scientific analyses of climate, the study of large systems and how they operate, as well as on human behavior and thinking.

As uncovered in this blog series, people do not act for various reasons. I’ll cover human decision-making and the decision errors individuals make when faced with facts. These errors are deviations from what would be rationale in a situation. Couple these errors with biases and emotion and we can explain why people do not act and do not agree on facts. I’ll also add social biases, information deficits, and lack of incentives into the mix. 

I had two goals in mind when writing this blog series:

  1. To encourage people to slow down the ill effects of climate change, and
  2. In doing so, lower the impacts, especially on disadvantaged populations.

Climate change is a key societal challenge. It is large, complex, and no one can be an expert on all dimensions. Additionally, one approach will not fully address the challenge. 

This blog series was written to share the multiple approaches to achieve these two goals. I use an acronym, “CLIMATE” to suggest a suit of actions I believe will make a difference in our world:

C:  Collective Action. This post explains how we can change the processes and ways in which we address the collective action challenge.

L:  Legal and Public Policy. In this post, I discuss my views on what public policies will have the most impact.

I:  Information Disclosure. This approach advocates for pricing natural capital to make it more visible. I suggest mandatory disclosures and one report for public companies.

M:  Motivation and Incentives. This post explores the use of the capital markets and various ways to consider financial, social, and environmental outcomes.

A:  Affiliate. By affiliating, we can create social capital and smart networks such as communities of practices to address important issues in our society and environment. 

T:  Technology and Human-Centered Design. Ultimately, we need new ways of livingHow do we decide on which technologies we should use and how to increase the rate of technology adoption? How can we design our world for better social and environmental outcomes? 

E:  Education and capacity building. This last post suggests ways to educate the public and public officials so that they can take action.

All in all, the CLIMATE model encapsulates the major actions we can take to address the two climate action goals.  


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