Friday, January 11, 2013

Climate Change, Life Expectancy and Human Development for the Next Century

Exploring future impacts of environmental constraints on human development(37 page pdf, Barry B. Hughes, Mohammod T. Irfan, Jonathan D. Moyer, Dale S. Rothman and José R. Solórzano, Sustainability, May 10, 2012)

Today we review a look at the long term impact of climate change on human development for the next century where the policy choices made to deal with climate change on the one hand (example carbon taxes applied globally) are combined in a model with varying degrees of possible environmental scenarios. Not surprisingly, the results do not produce a future or futures with a lot of hope and the road to global disaster “has a low probability”. The impacts on the economy, well-being and the environment, particularly for developing countries could be very useful in preparing the world for what lies ahead. intnl futures and linkagesfuture scenarios and env  
Key Quotes:

 “describe three possible futures for the world (a base line scenario, an environmental challenge scenario, and an environmental disaster scenario) and their potential impact on the indicators of the Human Development Index (HDI)”  

Base Case scenario:
  • ”Incomes continue to rise, driven in part by technological advances and diffusion globally. *Education and health levels rise as incomes improve and reinforce economic growth.
  • Advances in infrastructure and improved governance further drive productivity gains.
  • Policy orientations and technological advances generally reflect those of recent decades.
  • does not build in carbon taxes or other significant shifts in global governance policy.”
Environmental Challenge scenario:
  • ”increases the driving values for a number of known environmental risks that the Base Case already represents, but that could prove to be worse than we anticipate.
  • represents environmental risks at the household (indoor solid fuel use), local (water and sanitation), urban and regional (outdoor air pollution), and global levels (especially increasing impacts of global warming on agricultural production)."
Environmental Disaster scenario:
  • "Overuse of fossil water and falling water tables, changing run-off patterns from glacial melting, progressive deforestation and land degradation, species loss and dramatic declines in biodiversity, accelerated incidence of extreme weather events, peaking production of oil and gas
  • “environmental constraints could indeed greatly slow progress and even, in disastrous conditions, begin to reverse it. Least developed countries are most vulnerable in relative terms, while middle-income countries can suffer the greatest absolute impact of constraints, and more developed countries are most resilient"

“The Environmental Challenge scenario still allows the HDI to rise globally and across all income categories, which is good news, but dramatically reduces the size of the gains and very significantly slows the movement towards global equity. The Environmental Disaster scenario almost stops progress on the index everywhere.”

“the Environmental Disaster scenario explored here did not lead to a Malthusian or Limits to
Growth-like collapse in IFs forecasts, but rather to a dramatic slowdown in the advancement of human well-being”

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