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Exploring Preconditions for Effective Global Responses to Climate Change

Webb, Jeremy Winston; (2021) Exploring Preconditions for Effective Global Responses to Climate Change. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

The global response to climate change depends on you… and everyone else. The decisions we make, for better or worse, contribute to the global response. This study explores decision making, climate change signals and responses, actors and interests, and the “conditions” under which we might limit climate change and related impacts. Twenty-seven experts from around the world were asked to provide scenarios where the global response succeeds or fails to limit climate change and related impacts (i.e. the UNFCCC objective). From their responses, 175 scenarios were compiled forming a “searchable sample of possible futures”. Themes included social change and behaviour, political will and policy, business and economic activity. For these themes, multiple “pathways” were mapped. The study focused on pathways towards effective global responses (i.e. fulfilling the UNFCCC objective) and understanding the most important elements of the response system. The study finds there is a “crisis of response” that risks becoming a “crisis of impacts”. The signal that drives effective responses (i.e. impacts on people, property and livelihoods) was undetectable, is detectable now, and is rapidly strengthening. As such, timely global responses at scale are essential. Other preconditions include a mix of ambition and serendipity. From the analysis of effective response scenarios, serendipitous preconditions include the scale of climate change and related impacts being limited and reversible meanwhile unexpected events help limit climate change or related impacts. Ambition driven preconditions include global responses being timely with adaptation, mitigation and atmospheric GHG removals at scale, and having contingencies available in case of extreme climate change or other unexpected events. The transformative scale of required responses means social permissions and leadership are essential, as are coalitions of actors with the capacity to apply technologies and practices (policies included) and power to ensure each of us are contributing towards effective global responses.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Exploring Preconditions for Effective Global Responses to Climate Change
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2021. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > STEaPP
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10120531
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