There is strong recognition today that current models and practices of development are suboptimal for most people. Children born now will bear ever increasing economic, social and environmental debts. The newly proposed Anthropocene epoch characterized by high human footprint over vital planetary subsystems does not yet bring wealth / health / well-being to all, let alone abundance.
If even by exploiting Earth’s resources to their limits we fail to satisfy fundamental needs, our development model is obviously broken. Of exceptional concern are the tipping points beyond which no amount of capital (human, social or financial) would bring back the natural dynamic equilibrium necessary for humanity to thrive. According to a recent Guardian article: “Recent research found that just five more years of carbon dioxide emissions at current levels will virtually wipe out any chance of restraining temperatures to a 1.5°C increase and avoid runaway climate change.”
Our sustainability awareness seems, from a collective operational perspective, to remain too often at the level of “old” 3R thinking: as if “Reduce – Reuse – Recycle” sufficed. While these remain necessary, they are insufficient to shield us from the increasing multi-dimensional threat of disasters such as parching droughts, rampaging floods, raging fires, destructive hurricanes and typhoons, all supercharged by climate change. Why not upgrade to a “new” 3R set of guiding principles such as “Regeneration in the Environmental sphere ~ Respect in the Social sphere ~ Resilience in the Economic sphere”?
Humanity’s $100 trillion question becomes: “What do we need to consistently do differently / disrupt, to stop current trends and avoid crossing planetary boundaries beyond which “charged-up” climate disruption becomes unmanageable for human society?”
Failing to act effectively and in a timely manner means strong upheaval, since climate change is a threat multiplier, a poverty magnifier, jeopardising the ability of institutions to peacefully protect human rights and democracy.
To jump-start the process, we reason that notwithstanding other innovative initiatives, a “Sane World 2100” vision i.e. an uninterruptedly suitable terrestrial habitat for humanity, means reliably yet speedily transitioning to a post-carbon society. The Paris Agreement signals that all nations officially recognize that we cannot afford inaction, which brings us closer to civilisation-crippling climatic tipping points. All States thus recognize that human society has to stop saturating the biosphere with lithospheric carbon.
The resulting strong decarbonisation sustainability effort requires peacefully re-engineering all carbon-emitting sectors of society in less than two generations. How can this be done?
The “Sane World 2100” mission, answering to the corresponding vision, calls for the concept of “Post-Carbon Engineering”:
1. to be defined in an inclusive participatory way to ensure large buy-in, and
2. to be systematically yet flexibly implemented in an incentivized,
The first point ensures defining guiding principles, trade-off criteria and indicators for success in a way that builds trust and resilient approaches.
The second point ensures fostering the means to success, i.e. making sure we avoid the “Too Little Too Late” syndrome so that we can make sensible choices before biophysical climatic constraints become overwhelmingly large, thus restricting our options.
Post-Carbon Engineering Project GOALS
[2016-2019 – before Paris Agreement enters into force]:
1. to foster an understanding in the engineering community and civil society about the vital role of “Post-Carbon Engineering” in helping to peacefully build a “post-carbon” society within two generations [years 1-2-3] ;
2. to publish & maintain a definition / guiding principles / strategic guidelines website, an online sharing community, an online database about evolving / innovative practices of “Post-Carbon Engineering” [with COP22+ global events as dissemination catalysts]; [years 1-2-3];
3. to study & report on the impact “Post-Carbon Engineering” practices has on helping attain Nationally Determined Contributions (Paris Agreement target objectives) by 2050; to pre-empt a “Slow Start ending in Death March” syndrome that makes extreme engineering (e.g. geo-engineering) more palatable [years 2-3];
4. to foster change in the engineering curriculum in universities [in Canada and worldwide] so that undergraduate engineering projects refocus on fast, fair and strongly effective decarbonisation [years 1-2-3];
5. to study and report on how cities may nimbly and effectively attain their sustainability goals by spearheading the transition to a “post-carbon” society, contributing to their smart city and urban energy / water efficiency strategies [years 2-3];
6. to launch and operate a “Strategic Innovation/Change Lab” using the Living Lab methodology to pilot experimental initiatives, convening public, private and institutional spheres [years 2-3];
7. to involve local and global engineering communities to invite them to support “Post-Carbon Engineering”, evolve it and use it as a best practice [years 1-2-3].
Contact: Kim G.F. Davis, President –
Montreal Professional Chapter, Engineers Without Borders Canada
– If your are interested by the initiative you can press the ‘follow group’ button here below
– If you want to see the whole initiative press ‘initiative’ in the menu bar below this text, this will show : https://fsm2016.org/es/groupes/future-proofing-society-with-post-carbon-engineering/initiatives/”
– URL of the activity related to the initiative on WSF 2016 web site
Arthur Kanegis following the group Future-Proofing Society with Post-Carbon Engineering 3 years, 7 months ago
AL KASUINI following the group Future-Proofing Society with Post-Carbon Engineering 3 years, 7 months ago
Dominique Clark following the group Future-Proofing Society with Post-Carbon Engineering 3 years, 7 months ago
Kim G.F. Davis following the group Future-Proofing Society with Post-Carbon Engineering 3 years, 8 months ago