Measures set in one sector can have negative consequences in another – such consequences can even multiply in self-reinforcing feedback loops. Human history knows many cautionary tales of attempts to solve a problem which ended up in much more severe consequences. Hence, especially given the narrow time frame in which we have to act, and which hardly allows any wrong turns that need to be reversed, we have to anticipate the potential consequences of our chosen measures as much as possible to select and combine them in the most effective way.
In the area of #transport, for example, the main focus lies on shifting away from #fossilfuels towards electric vehicles and other alternatives. However, this puts a lot of pressure on the #energysector, as massive investment in new facilities for the generation of renewable energy must first be made, increasing their emissions. At the same time, studies have shown that driving “emission-free” vehicles invites people to drive even more, which is further contributing to the need for more car infrastructure that needs to be constructed and increases the sealing of valuable ground which no longer is available for other purposes – even “merely” for the reason to be available as an infiltration area for heavy rainfall events to mitigate flooding.
Build up social infrastructure
Above all, we need to understand what effect climate impacts and measures will have on us. During a deadly #heatwave in Chicago in 1995 the death toll was particularly high in poor places where social interaction was difficult and loneliness a problem. With heat waves becoming more of the norm in the coming years, we should make sure not only to invest in physical infrastructure, but also in social infrastructure to reduce vulnerability.
#KNOWING discloses such unanticipated effects and the interrelation of consequences across sectors. By understanding and modelling response risks, but also unexpected co-benefits, unwanted effects can be avoided or at least reduced, and actionable pathways will be identified.