News

Global Risk Report 2018: environmental and technological risks on the lead

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Often we feel our planet is at risk, but we have some difficulties in identifying these risks. So let’s ask ourselves: 1) What is the most likely risk? 2) What is the most impactful risk? To these questions the World Economic Forum gives an answer with the Global Risk Report. It is notable that before 2011 economic risks were the ones which dominated the global landscape. Then things have changed. Except for 2015, in each year at least two environmental risks have appeared among the top 5 Global Risks in Terms of Likelihood and the Top 5 Global Risks in Terms of Impact. They, together with technological risks, have dominated the landscape in 2018. Have the environmental risks become a reality?

ARCTIC MELTING: in December, Arctic sea ice extent 1,000,000 square kilometres below the 1981-2010 average

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ARCTIC MELTING: According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), ice lost goes on in both poles … Arctic sea ice extent for December 2017 was the 2nd lowest extent for the month in the satellite record. In 2017 it was August the month in which the biggest lost was recorded (1.77 million square kilometers below the long term average). Low ice extent is not just about Arctic, but also the Antarctic sea ice extent is registering daily record lows (the fourth lowest in the satellite record).

CO2 CONCENTRATION IN THE ATMOSPHERE: will we reach the point of no return by 2070?

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An interesting subject when talking about geological eras concerns their specific climatic conditions. Today we live in the Holocene, a geological era particularly favorable to life on Earth. It started about 12,000 years ago and is characterized by mild and stable temperatures, with not too much extreme weather phenomena, suitable for agriculture and that allow billions of humans to settle on the most scattered places on earth. According to various scholars, these favorable conditions could last for at least another 50,000 years (in the absence of disturbing elements). However, according to some scientists we have recently moved into a new era: the Anthropocene (when for the first time mankind is able to shape the planet). There is therefore clear danger of getting out of the favorable conditions of the Holocene. Just look at CO2 concentration in the atmosphere, whose increase causes an increase in temperature. According to many scientists, should we exceed the threshold of 500 ppm (now we are at around 410 ppm and are growing at a rate of 2.7 ppm more per year) there would be severe climate changes that could make our dear Planet an inhospitable one.

Spectre E Meltdown – Protecting Data Is In Our Own Hands…

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Recently I wrote an article in which I drew attention to the fact that today 'the outcome of our activities' is much more vulnerable compared to the past: much of it is made of information/relationships that we create in a space (internet) that is not under our own control ("The digital era: how safe is our digital property?"). At the time, I recommended maximum caution and constant back-ups. Now, few months after that article, a new warning has been launched by computer experts. It takes the name of Spectre and Meltdown. Let's see what they are and how we can defend ourselves from them...

Going Beyond the Paris Agreement...

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Many of us wonder what are the results of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change (COP21 - 2015). News around the world are highlighting the failure of the agreement after two years it took place (This especially happened while COP23 was being held in Bonn). UNEP’s Report 2016 (United Nations Environmental Program) argues that even if the Paris agreement would be 'fully implemented', according to current temperature projections, such an agreement won’t work: http://www.dw.com/.../unep-paris-agreement.../a-36250321.  In addition, considering the recent American decision to get out of it, this agreement is difficult to implement... However, the issue goes beyond the American decision: we want to tackle a problem (Climate Change) within an economic (myopic) system that favors this problem... In an article published on The Ecologist in 2014, Charles Eisenstein, 'Challenges our obsession with climate change at the expense of other values', emphasizes how focusing on Climate Change rather than on the more comprehensive ecological and social crisis can be very restrictive in the search for a sustainable society...