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PaulS's picture

Response to converging crises

Here are a few notes on Prof Thomas Homer-Dixon's presentation to the APPGOPO (All Party Parliamentary Group on Peak Oil and Gas).

The full presentation is here: http://appgopo.org.uk//index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=50
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How should we respond to the converging crises of the 21st Century?
Wednesday, 06 May 2009
Speaker: Prof. Thomas Homer-Dixon (author of 'The Upside of Down' and 'The Ingenuity Gap')

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CLIMATE

Positive feedbacks appear to be developing enormous force

Changes in the Arctic appear to be occurring far faster than expected

“Palaeoclimate data show that the Earth’s climate is remarkably sensitive to global forcings. Positive feedbacks predominate. This allows the entire planet to be whipsawed between climate states. . . . Recent greenhouse gas emissions place the Earth perilously close to dramatic climate change that could run out of our control, with great dangers for humans and other creatures.”

Hansen et al, Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A (2007).
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ENERGY

We are probably near peak global output of conventional oil

Energy costs will continue to rise relative to other costs in coming years

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Increase system resilience

RESILIENT people, institutions and societies . . .

have the capability to withstand shock without catastrophic failure

In a complex, tightly connected world exhibiting increasingly
frequent and severe system shock . . .

the balance of economic and social investment should
shift away from efficiency towards resilience.

(could have been taken straight from Transition!)
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FIVE PERCEPTUAL SHIFTS
to achieve the Prospective Mind

Systems: From MECHANICAL to COMPLEX

Self: From CONSUMER to PROBLEM SOLVER

Values: From UTILITARIAN to MORAL and EXISTENTIAL

Knowledge: From DISCIPLINARY to INTEGRATED

Community: From NATIONAL, ETHNIC and CULTURAL to GLOBAL