Friday, November 4, 2016

MEDEAS: the more we wait before acting, the more difficult the transition will be

Michael Green of the Sustainability Institute at Anglia Ruskin presents his models at the workshop of the MEDEAS EU project held in Barcelona on Nov 2-3 2016. Note in the image how waiting before acting requires more drastic measures than acting immediately, assuming that it is still possible to attain the goals of the Paris agreement.

The MEDEAS models are still being refined, but the main results are already robust. At the recent workshop that was held in Barcelona, it was clear that business as usual (BAU) is not taking us where we want to go, that is to attain the targets of the Paris agreement. Only drastic policy measures can do that. And the longer we wait, the harder it will be.

This is nothing new: we were already alerted long ago about the crisis that we would be facing. It was in 1972 that the "Limits to Growth" report was published, and its results were also robust. Relying on non-renewable resources would have brought the human civilization to a crisis that could be expected for somewhere during the first 2-3 decades of the 21st century. Today, the  models tell us that the crisis is here.

40 years ago, we could have acted decisively and with little pain to avoid the present crisis. Today, it is extremely difficult, although not yet impossible, but it takes pain and effort. But we can't wait much longer before taking drastic measures to boost renewable energy and phase out fossil fuels.


Ugo Bardi is a member of the Club of Rome, faculty member of the University of Florence, and the author of "Extracted" (Chelsea Green 2014), "The Seneca Effect" (Springer 2017), and Before the Collapse (Springer 2019)