Climate Change Is Inevitable. Here’s How We Must Adapt

It was eighty years ago that the United States government started the monumental scientific task of designing fully-operational nuclear weapons. Manhattan Project was a peak employment project that employed over 130,000 workers. Its total cost reached $2 billion, which is approximately $23 billion today. The global effort to reduce climate change is growing at an ever greater pace. The pledges of governments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by zero by 2050 are being made.70% of the funding required for electricity generation in new areas is now being invested into renewable energy.6) of all early-stage VC funding is devoted to climate technology. Projects that use geo-engineering to modify our atmosphere in response to solar radiation and alter our oceans’ biological composition to store and capture carbon may be possible.
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These are the new Manhattan Projects—aimed at mitigatingClimate change and its effects. However, as essential as these are they are they still are not sufficient. You can adaptWe must be aware of the climate shocks that are already occurring. Environment is an intricate system that changes in unexpected directions. We cannot expect to return to old patterns from the past. It will not adapt to us—we will have to adapt to it.

The case against adaptation

A sea-change has occurred in the commitments made to mitigate climate change. The Paris Climate Agreement of 2016 and the recent COP-26 conference in Glasgow are examples. 191 countries have committed to making all possible efforts to limit global temperatures rising to below 2 degrees Celsius. More than $100 billion was pledged for developing country assistance. Still, the fact remains that climate conditions will get worse before they get better—if they ever recover at all.

According to the most recent IPCC Report, we’re on pace to surpass 1.5 degrees by 2040, or sooner. Extreme weather events such as heat waves and cyclones are already becoming mass casualty. The impending collapse of crucial oceanic currents coupled with irreversible sea level rise are a stark warning that there are effects from our past behavior already baked into our future irrespective of today’s mitigation efforts.

Politicians are being too focused on strategies to mitigate the effects of flooding, which will be difficult for decades. The construction of wind farms in America or Europe is not going to make flood victims in Mississippi and Henan better. Closing coal plants in China doesn’t stop sea level rise in the Bay of Bengal. Many people around the globe need some kind of adaptation policy, and not only after we reduce emissions.

Climate adaptation—efforts to build defenses against climate effects in our infrastructure, or to relocate populations to climate resilient areas—cannot remain the neglected sibling of climate mitigation any longer. Current estimates put the figure at 5-6%. To be effective in climate policy, one must acknowledge that climate change is real and urgently need for adaptation.

What is (and isn’t) being done?

Investments in climate mitigation do not need to be costly to prove effective. High albedo surfaces have been shown to reduce temperatures on the roads and buildings. New York City has 9.2 million square foot of roofs that have been painted white, in an effort to reflect more light and decrease temperature rise. Almeira in Spain is a greenhouse-saturated town. This is due to the high levels of sunlight reflection. Knauf, along with other companies, have developed insulation products that can be used to heat homes or offices in winter as well as summer. In 2020, the U.K government proposed a program to offer energy-efficient insulation. £2 billion in grants to low-income households to re-insulate their homes.

Matt Rourke—APJames Peterson from Bio Neighbors applied Acrymax to the roof at a Philadelphia row house in August 2010. Many believe that painting white roofs is a popular social trend.

The latest battery cell technology can not only harness renewable sun and wind energy for local power production but also provide reliable power lines that can be used to cool the poor. RedT Energy and Vizn pioneered Vanadium flow battery technology. They last about 4-5 times longer that solid state batteries making them great for storage of grid energy. These projects are suitable for both large and small scale projects. Global Himalayan Expeditions, a social impact tourism firm, has electrified 22 villages in India’s Himalayas. They established 95 microgrids that harness solar energy and store it in batteries. This allows them to supply electricity for 5,130 Himalayan residents.

Megadroughts, dry rivers and other severe weather conditions are common in the American Southwest and much of the Middle East. Water desalination is a crucial technology that allows for adaptation to these extreme conditions.There are countless people. Together with the UAE’s utility DEWA, MIT is leading a drive to develop renewable powered water desalination that can create long-term, sustainable water supplies. Labourie, a small village in St. Lucia, implemented the Eastern Caribbean’s first mobile solar-powered desalination plant, successfully stabilising the island’s water supply. These panels can be used to generate water from smaller solar-powered atmospheres. However, they are not yet commercially accessible.R scale. Jalimudi is a 600-person village in Andhra Pradesh. It has been supplied with drinking water for more than 12 years using atmospheric water generation. Before this, water was not available to the villager.

A new Green Revolution could be created. Vertical farming, hydro and aquaponic agriculture, and plant and cell-based protein are fast-growing industries that allow for far more localized and “circular” food production rather than our far-flung agricultural supply chains that currently account for nearly 15 percent of global emissions. The vertical farming system allows for up to 10 times greater crop growth and 14 times longer growth cycles than traditional agriculture. AeroFarms is an indoor farming company in New Jersey that has developed aeroponics. This cutting-edge technique uses mists of nutrients to feed the roots. This technique can reduce water consumption by 98% and fertilizer usage by 60%. It could also eliminate pesticides by 100%. Cultured meats will reduce energy consumption by up to 45 percent and 99 percent respectively over the next ten years. This allows us to be more in control of our food production and removes us from being affected by the weather. Even though farmers are still subject to weather volatility, genetically engineered seeds that can produce crops in water stressed conditions may be able to help them through difficult growing seasons.

Continue reading:We are here in 2050. Although we avoided the worst effects of climate change, everything is different

Around 2.4 Billion people live within 100km of A shoreline with three times the density of non-coastal areas is an important adaptation measure. Investing in coast defenses makes it necessary to make greater investments. Designating floodplains as areas that can absorb rising tides and allowing mangrove forests to grow again is a good idea. In Senegal, the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development has made funds available for the reforestation of mangroves in the country’s Fatick region. This project has three benefits: mangroves provide protection against coastal flooding and stop soil erosion, making these areas inhospitable. They also promote development of marine communities.

The Netherlands’ Delta Works and 9-kilometer long Eastern Scheldt storm surge barrier have been called the eighth wonder of the world, while South Korea’s Saemangeum Seawall protects residents of Gunsan City while also expanding fertile land. Despite the returns on investment from adequate coastal protection, iconic cities such as Venice have made only sub-par efforts such as the floating barrier called MOSE which has failed to prevent significant flooding of St. Mark’s Square. Miami is delaying serious investment in a seawall due to cosmetic concerns, even though this would help protect $145 billion of property currently at risk. The extreme scenario is represented by megacities such as Indonesia’s Jakarta, which plans to relocate itself as the country’s capital to the island Borneo. Sir David King, chairman of the U.K.’s Climate Crisis Advisory Group, believes that London will have to relocate as well.

Migration is adaptation

We can surely move people if we are able to move cities. My new book argues this.Large-scale resettlement of large numbers to areas that are climate resilient is the best climate adaptation strategy. A total of 150,000 people are killed each year by climate-related events. 30.7 million of the 40.5million new displacements in 2020 were caused by natural disasters. Only 9.8 million were due to conflict or violence.

The World Bank’s series of “Groundswell” reports, as well as estimates from the WHO, suggests that more than 700 million people will be internally displaced due to climate phenomena by 2040.Scientists predict one degree of temperature increase for every one degree. Billion people are displaced from the optimal “climate niche” of latitudes to which we have become acclimated.

However, very few countries are serious about climate migration. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), together with the Department of Housing and Urban Development, began looking at large-scale resettlement programmes such as those described in the following: Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities program (BRIC).. Larger resettlement grants to individual families can help to offset the collapse in property values in affected areas, but people can also be relocated to climate resilient states such as Michigan that have become more affordable as they’ve become more depopulated.

We can either adapt quickly or react reactively. The recent floods in Germany, causing €2 billion Euros of property damage, 196 deaths, and thousands of displaced people, prove this point. Although the German government is unable to prevent further flooding from happening, they can make adaptations such as moving people to higher ground, and strengthening flood defences in order to protect them if this happens.

China’s comprehensive resettlement program for fragile areas, such as Guizhou Province, has been in place since 2012. It has assisted 2 million individuals to relocate between 2012 and 2020. Skills training programs are helping to restore social mobility, even though climate migrants in China face immediate challenges like higher unemployment and short-term problems. People are more likely to move if they have a better chance of surviving than if they stay put.

Migration is not a key solution to climate change. It’s the most effective and obvious measure that we have at the moment, but it will not be found anywhere on the COP 26 agenda. This is of course because sovereign governments don’t want to see their borders overwhelmed by climate refugees. But the world’s two largest countries by landmass—Canada and Russia—would both benefit from having more migrants reinforce their ailing demographics and efforts at economic diversification. Canada already does this by bringing in an average of 400,000 people each year and plans to increase that number to 100 million over the next decade. Canada will have more people than Russia if Russia doesn’t do the same.

It is a cruel irony that some of the world’s most rapidly depopulating countries have become our greatest agricultural breadbaskets. As of this year, Russia is the world’s largest wheat producer. The vast area of Russia’s land is more easily livable, even though it has less predictability as the temperatures increase. If gradually undertaken and well-managed, Russia and the world would benefit from the country learning from Canada’s example.

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There are many other “climate oasis” zones in the world. From the Great Lakes and eastern Turkey to Japan, the Upper Mekong is to Japan, there are plenty of climate resilient areas on Earth that can be used to relocate the 2 to 3 billion people in need during this turbulent time.

Although the UN has committed to mobilise $100 million of climate financing for developing countries, this is not enough to help them jumpfrog the transition from hydrocarbon-powered industries to renewable energy. It does however address the urgent need for equivalent support for social resilience.According to a recent World Bank study, $1.8 trillion could be spent on adaptive measures over the next ten years and yield $7.1 trillion in benefits.This ignores important measures that can increase costs for nations by approximately $70-$100 billion per year by 2050.Therefore, adaptation is an excellent investment.

Future climate agreements must include adaptation measures. These will help create progress metrics and provide a place for best practices to protect vulnerable populations. It is dangerous to not focus on climate adaptation. This could lead to millions of deaths in the next century. Although it may be too late for many of our industries and infrastructure to be protected from the effects of climate change in the future, we still have options.

Adapted from Parag Khanna’s new book, Move: The Forces Uprooting Us


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