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We’re Doomed, Now What? New report predicts 5 climate adaptation scenarios

Spoiler alert, all of them recognise a mounting existential threat to life on Earth.

a view of the earth from space

Developed by the Arthur D. Little [ADL] Blue Shift Institute, We’re Doomed, Now What? is an in-depth study of potential scenarios that will unfold in the coming decades, what this means for adaptation and how technologies can help. 

Extensive analysis, interviews with more than 40 international experts, business leader surveys, and work with the United Nation’s World Intellectual Property Organization all contributed to the research. The report works on a basis of a +3C temperature rise compared to pre-industrial levels by 2100, matching current projections by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 

‘When faced with prospective technology choices, executives often need to address three challenges: complexity, speed and cognition. Adaptation to climate change is no different,’ said Dr Albert Meige, Global Director of Blue Shift at Arthur D. Little.

‘It is complex because climate impacts are local, multifactorial and highly variable; and also because there is a myriad of adaptation technologies available,’ he continued. ‘By modeling potential scenarios we aim to cut through this complexity, providing CEOs with a clear guide to the potential technologies that their adaptation will require.’

The possible scenarios are: 

  • Green Communities: A resource-scarce world in which grassroots initiatives flourish, for lack of more ambitious projects; there is a pull towards greater decentralization, circularity, and frugality
  • Lonely at the top: Highly concentrated and competitive industries in which market leaders spearhead adaptation to build competitive advantage and keep satisfying consumers, while operating under increasing constraints
  • Wild Green West: A creative chaos in which private adaptation initiatives sprout everywhere, fueled by private capital and hype, with no overarching strategy or consistency
  • Don’t Look Up: A bleak future in which neither customers nor finance institutions have adjusted to the new climate reality, leaving nothing but quick fixes and crisis management
  • Adaptation Surge: A world in which adaptation is the norm and the new currency, resetting expectations, creating new markets and new needs for differentiation, and possibly overengineering

You can download the full report here

‘This report offers a refreshing new angle to climate action, namely that of businesses and their priorities for adapting to a challenging future. It provides the scenario-based context for the technologies outlined by WIPO GREEN, underscoring the essential role of innovation in forging a sustainable future,’ said Dr Peter Oksen, Senior Program Officer at the World Intellectual Property Organization [WIPO] GREEN.

‘By detailing the functional expectations and key technologies necessary for adaptation, it highlights the need to integrate technological advancements within our business, economic and policy frameworks to effectively combat climate change,’ he continued.

More on climate change: 

Reform, energy security and an end of Net Zero

Work begins on an international standard for net zero

NHS Trusts don’t measure carbon, Scottish healthcare ‘green sites’ under microscope

Image: Bhavya Pratap Singh

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