601 E Kirkwood Ave
Learn more about this lecture:
Humanity is accustomed to highly variable weather but climate, the average weather over the long term (for example, a human lifetime), was quite predictable. In the US, we established institutions like the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Flood Insurance Program to cushion the shock of those rare extreme events, like landfall of a category 5 hurricane, a once-per-century flood of a major river system, or a severe multiyear drought, but as far as the climate went, we didn’t need to think ahead because it wasn’t changing. Now, those days are gone and we face a continuously evolving climate for decades to come. The most challenging aspect is that those formerly rare events are becoming commonplace, each having the potential to compound the damage from the last. Are our institutions up to the task of dealing with the increasing frequency of hazardous events? Is human psychology capable of the forward planning required to limit the damages? Can our political system provide adequate incentives to policy makers to think and act ahead?