David Flint, a UK management consultant, recently tried his hand at devising scenarios for the future of Global Climate Change. A pessimist might see his three scenarios as Dark, Darker, and Positively Darkest. Or not. Nonetheless, Flint's ideas are provocative if nothing else. Snippets:
Scenario 1: Lifeboat
In this scenario the nations do collaborate soon enough to restrain CO2 emissions and the increase is kept below two degrees.... The key assumption for this scenario is that the nations collaborate but this collaboration will not be easy. As with the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) there will be disputes and we will need a World Climate Authority (WCA), analogous to the World Trade Organisation, to deal with them.
Scenario 2: Police World
In scenario 2 the nations have begun to collaborate against climate change but not in time. By 2050 the temperature rise has already exceeded two degrees and major positive feedback effects are visible.... It’s clear that the Earth cannot support its current population and that existing human institutions cannot survive the huge population movements that these changes will provoke.
Scenario 3: New Dark Age
In this final scenario attempts to international collaboration have failed to prevent temperature rises and have broken down. As the value of those cold regions in which people will be able to survive becomes clear those nations with such regions will prepare their defences. The others will attempt to negotiate access to these regions. When this fails they will resort to war.
As Bob Horn and I point out in our White Paper on Wicked Problems, thinking about alternative futures (or Endstates) is just the beginning. The much more difficult questions concern what are the key Events or milestones leading to each possible outcome, what is the most desired outcome, and who will be responsible for taking action and at least trying to influence the course of future Events. Nonetheless, Flint deserves credit for trying to untangle the climate change Mess.