Adapting to our Climate of Tomorrow Requires Imaging that Climate Today

william smith
4 min readSep 5, 2018

History shapes the current conditions of societies and thus informs their ability to adapt to climate change.” — Christian Parents, — Tropic of Chaos

Most of us remember this picture from back in In December 2015 when nearly every nation in the world — 195 in all — agreed to the first global pact aimed at reducing emissions of planet-warming greenhouse gases. All that hand-clasping and hugging was proclaiming a landmark diplomatic achievement. That was back in December 2015 in the glitter of Paris pageantry.

Things have not quite worked-out according to the plan.
Under the Paris deal, each country put forward a pledge to curtail its greenhouse-gas emissions between now and 2030. However, no major industrialized nation is currently on track to fulfill its pledge, according to new data from the Climate Action Tracker. The following graphic illustrates what the nations of the world:

  • “need to do” (-20 gt ),
  • “pledged to do” (-5 gt ) and
  • “are actually doing” (-3 gt )

In terms of reducing emissions by billions of metric tons (gt) of CO2. to keep the world’s temperature from rising by more than 2 degrees celsius. Needless to say all of that hand-clasping and back slapping may have been a bit premature. The nations of the world may be off meeting their pledges by as much as 40% and off what they are doing and need to do by as much as 500%.

In addition to these disappointments the trump administration has vowed to withdraw the U.S. from it’s commitment to the Paris agreement by 2020. That ’s 5.5 billion metric tons of CO2 that will be withdrawn from the Paris commitments. While emissions from the United States power sector are falling rapidly — as hundreds of coal plants retire in favor of cleaner natural gas, wind and solar — other sectors, like transportation and heavy industry, have proven harder to clean up.

None of these developments should really surprise us because as Dr. Jane McGonigal, senior researcher at the Institute for the…