Build the City will cover climate change, because I believe that it is one of the largest threats humanity faces, and that city living is a significant way to mitigate climate change.
But not everyone agrees with me. Debate has raged, but much of it has not expressed a complete worldview of problems and solutions. I have summarized the logical categories of climate change views below, with the most common responses.
Category 3 – Climate change is real, primarily due to human activities.
3A: Climate change will be beneficial on average, or at least less damaging than preventing it. [UPDATE: The primary proponent of this view, Bjorn Lomberg, has now moved into Category 3C.]
3B: Reduction of carbon emissions is unlikely, so we need to adapt to climate change.
3C: Reduce our carbon emissions to prevent continued climate change.
3D: Geo-engineering to reverse the climate change trend.
The response to Category 1 is reasonable; if the climate is not expected to change, then we do not need to have a response. Yet there is a need to scientifically explain variations in temperature, glaciation, and atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations over past hundred years, which has been attempted more by isolated anecdote than with an all-encompassing theory.
Category 2 is more problematic; if you accept that the climate is changing or is likely to change in the future, you should propose some sort of response, such as those listed for Category 3. Yet I could find no evidence of these views online. Those who deny that climate change is caused by human actions generally also oppose any political efforts to respond to the changes, such as adaptation or geo-engineering.
Category 3 reflects the balance of opinion of the world’s governments, international organizations and scientists. Most online commentary focuses on responses 3B and 3C. Climate change appears to be accelerating, and political solutions (or easy technical solutions that do not require political change) have not yet materialized. More and more commentators are realizing that we need to proactively adapt to the changes that are already occurring and will continue to occur, even under the most optimistic carbon reduction scenarios.
The governmental, organizational and scientific communities are virtually united in their views on climate change. Those who deny climate change do not present a logical and consistent scenario that explains all the evidence and proposes a rational response. Yet public opinion is sharply divided, due to fear of change and aggressive FUD campaigns by those who see themselves as having something to lose. As I saw when developing the 60 Greatest Cities post, 7 of the 10 largest Fortune 500 Global corporations in the world are based on fossil fuels (oil, automobiles, electricity). They will not give up their cash cows without a fight. And therefore the fight continues.