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Leverage Points for Climate System Fixes

Applies Donella Meadows' leverage points to create a typology of fixes for climate change

Steve Easterbrook

on 7 March 2016

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Transcript of Leverage Points for Climate System Fixes

Change constants,
parameters numbers
Change size of stocks, buffers,
relative to their flows
Change structure of the
stocks and flows
Change the length of delays
relative to the rate of change
Increase the strength of
negative feedback loops
Reduce the gain around
positive feedback loops
Change the structure of
information flows
Change the rules of the system
(incentives, punishments, constraints)
Nurture the power to add, change
evolve, self-organise system structure
Change the goal
of the system
Change the mindset or paradigm
out of which the system arises
Use the power to
transcend paradigms
tighter pollution standards
new Kyoto targets
increase fuel taxes
vote for the other party
Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) schemes
plant more forests
ocean fertilization
artificial trees
carbon capture and storage
solar radiation management (SRM) schemes
speed up deployment of clean energy
speed up legislative process for climate policy
speed up new emissions standards
lengthen approval process for fossil fuel projects
slow down economic growth (steady state economy)
make prices reflect carbon footprint
remove subsidies (perverse incentives) for fossil fuel industry
introduce better monitoring for carbon fluxes
more transparent democracy
higher energy efficiency standards
green development mechanisms, standards
promotion of birth control choices
slower economic growth
get scientific assessments out to public quicker
get journalists in touch with climate scientists
label products with lifecycle carbon footprint info
publish details of all political donations
open access to data
require all lobby organisations to disclose funding sources
government grants for energy efficiency
free public transit
mandatory science tests for politicians
strict limits on ownership of media outlets
new ethics rules for journalists and advertisers
evidence-based policymaking
resilient communities
change to proportional representation
celebrate social diversity
greater access to political power for minorities
focus on eliminating fossil fuel dependency
focus on regional zero-carbon strategies
aim for sustainability rather than growth
measure GNH rather than GDP
challenge power-seeking behaviour of corporoations
shift from consumerism to ecological harmony
shift from material wealth to social connectedness
shift from individualism to community
apply systems thinking to see systems from multiple perspectives
realise how our perspectives shape our interactions with the system
Leverage Points for Climate Fixes
CO2 stays put for 10,000 years
Warming lags emissions by decades
Equilibrium Warming ≈ Transient Response x 2
Climate change irreversible on human timescales
Land surface & polar regions warm faster than the mean
Forcing ≈ 2 W/m x 5x10 = 10 W
Climate Sensitivity ≠ Earth System Sensitivity
Dynamics of the Climate System
Most feedbacks are positive
Approx 50 X total human energy consumption!
Glaciers, Permafrost impacted more than global ave temps
Full transcript