Climate in 2040

Thanks to all the Community members who recommended subdomains for climate change! Your suggestions were joined with the insights we gleaned from the Climate Brain Trust to come up with the following vision for 2040:

  • Renewables are used in unexpected ways that have disrupted fossil fuels.
  • Advanced technologies to enhance climate resilience are readily available everywhere.
  • Natural disasters are forecasted well in advance and catastrophic damages are avoided.
  • Sophisticated, open-source simulations of downstream impacts advance policy choices, technological innovations, and everyday decisions.
  • Natural ecosystems are a net sink of greenhouse gas emissions rather than source.
  • Environmental and climate issues are acknowledged as national security priorities, budgets are channeled on par with defense.
  • Global and regional pollution (air, water, noise, etc.) has been significantly reduced, towards a zero-waste world.
  • Biodiversity loss has been halted and some ecosystems and species have even been restored.
  • Natural capital and comprehensive climate externalities are fully accounted for in the global financial economy.
  • Circular economies are the norm. The prevalent economic model is built on restoration, regeneration, and preservation of natural capital.

What’s next:

  • The vision will keep evolving during the Global Visioneering process. Please share your feedback and suggestions here!
  • We want to substantiate the vision with concrete goals where possible. For example, when we write that pollution has been “significantly reduced” by 2040, by how much?
  • The vision will help us prioritize barriers, which in turn inform breakthroughs and prize ideas in climate change.
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One point for discussion: should we consider natural ecosystems a “sink” of greenhouse gas emissions, or should the focus be on restoring ecosystems to their previous, natural role?

If the latter, how do we decide what the “natural” role of ecosystems we have interfered with for centuries even is?

Or what should be a natural ecosystem as climate has changed.

@RebeccaChesney, @bridgetcroke - you may have thoughts on the “circular economy becoming the norm by 2040” part of our vision for the climate domain. I wonder if you could help us substantiate that. What does “the norm” mean? Could we put a data point on that?

This vision will guide the design of the next XPRIZE competitions in climate change.