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Germany, Jan 28 (Canadian-Media): Six elements were identified, during a multi-faceted study by an international team of scientists and climate change experts, that drew upon workshopping, surveying, and an assessment of scientific and academic literature, which would most likely bring societal change towards climate stabilisation, planetary sustainability, and limit global warming by transitioning to a carbon-neutral state by 2050, media reports said.
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"From the energy sector to financial markets to our cities – we were able to pin down social tipping elements and identify concrete interventions that might activate contagious processes of rapidly spreading technologies, behavioural patterns, and social norms," says sociologist and economist Ilona M. Otto from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in Germany.
It was acknowledged by the researchers that these identified mechanisms are not a complete list, but, they said, these serve as a roadmap to achieve "rapid socio-economic transformation pathways and explore narratives for a decarbonised future in 2050," Otto says.
The social tipping interventions, according to the research, that could help achieve our climate goals would be: removing fossil-fuel subsidies; building carbon-neutral cities; divesting from assets linked to fossil fuels; revealing the moral implications of fossil fuels; strengthening climate education and engagement; and disclosing information on greenhouse gas emissions.
Although many of these mechanisms are already in process but whether these have as yet led to a rapid societal transformation is debatable.
Nonetheless, researchers feel the phenomenon of school students conducting climate strikes is a positive sign of development.
"The movement is causing 'irritations' in personal world views and thus might be changing peoples' norms and values and the ways of thinking and acting, possibly leading to changes in policies and regulations, infrastructure development, as well as individual consumption and lifestyle decisions," the authors write in their paper.
What is needed is a broader shifts in society, business, and governance, to reduce friction hindering adoption of carbon-neutral lifestyles.
"Awareness of global warming is high but social norms to fundamentally shift behaviour are not," says PIK's director, Johan Rockström.
"This is a mismatch that science alone cannot fix. For individuals to live a carbon-free lifestyle must be made easy… but on the longer term a new social equilibrium is needed in which climate protection is recognised as a social norm, otherwise shocks on the financial markets or economic crises could destroy progress in decarbonisation."
Our success depends on "contagious dynamics", that spread exponentially and simultaneously within society, politics, the economy, and it's something that needs to happen, the researchers said.