Will civilization, as we know it, end in the next 100 years? Will there be any work space left? These questions may sound like the stuff of dystopian fiction. But if about the recent headlines extreme weatherhandjob Climate change, ns ongoing pandemic And faltering global supply chain Are you asking them, you are not alone.
Now two British academics, Aled Jones, director of global sustainability institute at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, England, and her co-author, Nick King, think they have some answers. Their analysis, published in July in the journal Sustainability, aimed to identify places that are best positioned to move in or out when others are different. They call these lucky locations “nodes of constant complexity”.
Winner, Tech Billionaire Joe there are already bunkers It is New Zealand, would be happy to know. The runners-up are Tasmania, Ireland, Iceland, the UK, the United States and Canada.
The findings were greeted with skepticism by other academics who study topics such as climate change and the collapse of civilization. Some flat-out disagreed with the list, saying it placed too much emphasis on the islands’ advantages and failed to properly account for variables such as military power.
And some said the whole exercise was misguided: If climate change is allowed to disrupt civilization to such an extent, no country would have reason to celebrate.
Professor Jones, who has a Ph.D. In cosmology – the branch of astronomy focused on the origins of the universe – there is a broader interest in how to make global food systems and global finance systems more resilient. He says he is also surprised by the ways collapses in one part of the world, whether due to an extreme weather event or something else, can cause collapses in another.
He said he is not sure whether climate change will lead to the end of civilization, but it is on track to cause a “global shock”.
“We will be lucky if we can face it,” he said.
The underlying assumption of his model is that when multiple countries are collapsing at the same time, those that are the best setup for self-reliance are most likely to run.
For his studies, he built on the University of Notre Dame global adaptation initiative, which annually ranks 181 countries based on their readiness to successfully adapt to climate change. (Norway tops this initiative country index; New Zealand comes in second.)
He then added three additional measures: whether the country has enough land to grow food for its people; Does it have the energy potential to “keep the lights on”, as he said in an interview; And whether the country is isolated enough to prevent other people from moving across its borders as its neighbors are collapsing.
New Zealand comes out on top in Professor Jones’s analysis because it appears to be prepared for a change in climate resulting from climate change. It has enormous renewable energy potential, can generate its own food and is an island, which means it scores well on the isolation factor, he said.
Tasmania, an Australian island state located about 150 miles south of the mainland, emerged second, Professor Jones said, because it has the infrastructure to adapt to climate change and is agriculturally productive. Is.
Linda Shi, a professor in Cornell University’s Department of City and Regional Planning, which focuses on urban climate adaptation and social justice, said she appreciated that the study authors were thinking long-term and that they brought complex information into their analysis. Tried how countries can fare Once the temperature has increased by four degrees Celsius.
But she takes issue with many aspects of the list, starting with Tasmania. “If you’re going to include Tasmania but don’t care if the rest of Australia goes down, there’s definitely some part of a huge country like China that will find a way to protect its people,” she said.
Professor Xi is also concerned that the model’s underlying data set – the Notre Dame Global Adaptation Initiative – is so strongly correlated with per capita income. He is not convinced that just because a nation is rich will be resilient. Nor does he agree that physical isolation keeps the dangers out.
“Boats and nuclear weapons could make their way to New Zealand,” she said.
Professor Xi also suggested that any model that does not account for governance or military might is incomplete.
Ireland performed well mainly because of its agricultural and renewable energy potential and its isolation, Professor Jones said. Last week, headlines in the Irish press appeared to be Excited about the list.
Top-ranked countries should not celebrate, said Joseph Tanter, who wrote a seminal text on social collapse and is sometimes credit With giving rise to the academic sub-discipline.
Praising the study’s ambition, he said the authors had failed to properly account for the amount of fossil fuels needed for a nation to feed itself.
“Without fossil fuels, agriculture will revert to oxen and human labor,” Dr. Tanter said. “In a disruptive event”—when everything goes off the rails, the academic term—”90 percent of a country’s population will become farmers, as it did in the past.”
Rather than run at current levels of complexity, Dr. Tanter said that a country that survived would also be facing “social, economic and technological simplification”.
Iceland ranks well, Professor Jones said, due to its agricultural and renewable energy capabilities, as well as its isolation. Additionally, even climate change is not expected to force a major change in the way the country’s society functions.
Justin Mankin, a professor of geography at Dartmouth, disagreed.
“The spatial pattern of extreme weather and other threats due to global warming will undoubtedly profoundly affect places such as the UK, New Zealand, Iceland and Tasmania,” he said.
This surprised even Professor Jones.
“We always downplay the UK for not doing enough on climate change,” he said. But being an island greatly increased its ability to survive the apocalypse, he said.
He insisted that he was not biased simply because they live there.
United States and Canada
The United States and Canada tied for sixth place. One factor holding them back, Professor Jones said, is their shared land boundary. His model assumes that it will be more difficult for a country to maintain stability if hordes of desperate people can cross the border.
Professor Xi pointed out that this flawed premise ran the risk of fueling xenophobic impulses.
Professor Jones acknowledges that the idea that mass migration is bad for a country is “an overly simplistic idea”, but that it is a way of assessing whether it needs to have enough food as its neighbors struggle. Chances are.
Andrew Pershing, director of climate science climate centerInstead of focusing on how a country can best cope with a global collapse, scientists should focus on how to avoid that collapse, an organization of scientists and journalists focused on reporting climate change said. Go.
Yes, the global temperature has already risen by a little over a degree Celsius, he said. But the disastrous three-degree rise built around Mr. Jones’ model is not inevitable.
“We have the tools to limit warming to close to 1.5 degrees Celsius,” he said. “Instead of thinking about lifeboats, I’m more interested in what we can do to keep the ship from sinking.”
Professor Jones says people may misinterpret his intentions. He is not suggesting that people doing this should start buying bunkers in New Zealand or Iceland, he said. Instead, he wants other countries to study ways to improve their resilience.