Should humans retreat from climate risk zones? The University of Miami’s Katherine Mach tells us what a managed retreat would look like.
A new draft report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change sounds the direst warnings yet about the impacts of a warming earth on human populations. The report was leaked to Agence-France-Presse in advance of this summer’s Glasgow climate talks. The draft warns that ecological tipping points — cascading environmental effects that cause irreversible and dramatic changes to the earth’s biotic systems — could come sooner than anticipated, possibly within the next 30 years. Rising sea levels, extended heat waves, wildfires, agricultural and ecological collapses all threaten human populations, especially in dense cities and especially near the coasts. Katharine Mach is an Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Policy at the University of Miami, who believes that relocating our settlements — engaging in what she calls a “managed retreat” may be necessary to save our cities from the coming climate onslaught.
Photo of Miami tidal flooding:
B137, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons