Our traditional economic models have already created substantial challenges. Atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide have been rising steadily since the industrial revolution, leading to global temperature rises that threaten the habitability of parts of the Earth. For some parts of the Earth, that could be catastrophic, leading to the collapse of farming, and significant water shortages. That raises the prospect of mass migration away from these regions. Urgent international attention is required to better understand, predict and plan for these mass movements.7,8
Mitigation policies could help, such as the development and commercialisation of heat-resistant crops and of efficient water management and purification systems based on technologies such as desalination. However, significant adaptation will also be necessary.9 Some economies will need to prepare for a future in which farming is no longer possible. When that happens, people will need alternative forms of work to pay for imported food. That will mean reskilling the workforce. Certain kinds of economic policies can avert severe climate change by introducing measures such as carbon pricing.