A new paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) — boasting 14(!) co-authors — explores how to trigger social tipping points as the only hope for the climate….
“It constructs a framework for understanding social tipping points, the systems where they might do the most good on climate, and the kinds of interventions that might trigger them.
“The researchers conclude with a call for “both social and natural sciences to engage more intensively in collaborative interdisciplinary research to understand rapid social transformations, STEs [social tipping elements], and their interactions with tipping elements in the Earth system.”
“Hallelujah. The more help concerned people can get in focusing their efforts where they might do the most good, the better. Insofar as science can help identify those areas — and this paper is a good start — it is to everyone’s benefit.
“But we probably don’t have the brain or computing power to understand the logic of the collective behavior of 7 billion semi-rational people, or even the collective behavior of the US’s half-billion. There have never been 7 billion people in the world, or half a billion people in the US, before. Everything humanity is doing now is happening for the first time, in unprecedented conditions. Every decade from here on out will be the warmest humanity has ever experienced and the coolest it is ever likely to experience again. Again, history is of little help.
“Ultimately, there’s an element of the miraculous to social tipping points, of intrinsic unpredictability. They can be hoped for, strived toward, but they cannot be planned, scheduled, or relied on. There’s nothing anyone can really do with the knowledge that they might be out there except … keep working.”
Read the full story by David Roberts….
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