Could climate change feel 'solved' by 2030? A tempting idea - though in current climes it might seem firmly on the loopy side of optimistic.
But have a look at 'Efficiency First', one of our 'Climate Futures' scenarios. Strong market incentives and rapid hi-tech innovation lead to a breakthrough in low carbon technology, though it comes at a price: inequality and collapsing ecosystems.
There are five scenarios in 'Climate Futures', all exploring very different responses we could see to climate change by 2030. They’re based on interviews with a wide range of thinkers from across the world and a series of workshops that we conducted with Hewlett Packard Labs.
The work differs from a lot of climate change research as it looks at the human responses – political, economic, social and psychological – rather than the environmental impacts. This is an important difference. It's not enough just to plan for the direct impacts of climate change. Climate change will affect everything, so we need to take a more systemic view.
Of the many ideas surfacing in Climate Futures, perhaps the most important is that the scope for action on climate change narrows dramatically as time goes on. We still have the freedom to choose what sort of future we want, but this is not a luxury we will have forever. Delay, and we could face draconian state interventions down the line, or even a ‘Protectionist World’ scenario in which globalisation begins to break down in violence.
HP Labs will be using the scenarios for planning and strategy and so will we. They’re also available for anyone to download and use, and the report includes some suggestions for how to do this. We hope you’ll take a look.