The tragic events that strike Everstate are instances of the various conditions presiding to Everstate’s destiny, considering what has been done, or not, globally, regionally and within Everstate. The same set of events will be used to stress test each scenario (respecting, of course, the logic of the scenario, in case it impacts the plausibility of the event), starting with the Mamominarch scenario. Keeping in mind the importance of design and delivery of product, two web-applications to present timelines have also been tested in this post (see pictures below, click or use embedded app – warning: the embedded app returns an error message on tablets and mobiles, sorry, just skip it until the text).*
A typical year
Pressures and events that could take place in the short to medium-term future (up to 10 years).
- In May, tornadoes, which, previously, had never occurred in Everstate, devastate for a few days some parts of the West. A few cities are badly hit. (1)
- Tornadoes are followed by a 6 months long heat wave and drought. (2)
- During the same summer, oil prices surge with some spikes even reaching 200$ a barrel. (3)
- Novcybio is a foreign international company developing new biotechnologies; an Everstatan company, Novcybio Everstate, has various commercial and industrial relations with Novcybio. In August, global media report that a terrorist group has infiltrated a Novcybio laboratory in its home country, stolen some deadly engineered pathogens and manipulated some of the genes experimented, altering and recombining the DNA sequence of some of the transgenic plants created. (4)
- In October, a new episode of the global financial crisis starts. (5)
- In November a war starts in the Middle East.
Ideally, up-to-date and available scientific knowledge should guide the choice of events and the design of their occurrence. The related variables in the initial model (e.g. ecological setting, natural new events/conditions/evolution, new external military threats, etc.), which are actually cluster variables, could themselves be developed as specific models for each issue. The different models could then be synthesised to obtain a better understanding and foresight capability. For example, what we know of sea level rise could be linked to the model developed here. Ideally, assuming sufficient resources, we should aim towards the creation of such synthesised models.
Most of the time, when impacts are envisioned, it tends to be done according to only one perspective; in the case of environmental changes, this means most of the time direct costs, sometimes with a larger economic perspective. Even current fashionable approaches through vulnerability and resilience tend not to be holistic enough, sometimes giving up on foresight and warning, most of the time oblivious of political and geopolitical dynamics. Such partial approaches are absolutely insufficient. Indeed, as we shall test with the three scenarios here, and as shown by the cases of Haiti and Japan, both ravaged by deadly earthquakes (2010 Haiti earthquake, 7Mw – 2011 Tohoku Earthquake, 9Mw), it is more than likely that polities in different political conditions will use different capabilities, in various terms, to face changes and duress. Likewise, what will result will probably differ. Only such multidisciplinary approaches can let us hope to reach resilience.
It follows that the timing of those events will generate different consequences. We are again faced with the same challenge as usual, timing (see research note and Evertime). Ideally again, considering different sets of likelihood and timing for each event should allow us combining different sets of events. Each should be tested against the conditions of the polity for this very specific timing. Adequate computing facilities would be necessary.
Anticipating other events
You can imagine other sets of events that could befall Everstate the same year, or the following years. Then, the method and the various posts can be used to develop other sets of narratives.
* For the first test, click on the image to open it in Tiki-Toki and experiment with the timeline. Only one free timeline can be created. For the second, Timeglider, the timeline can be embedded in a webpage with the free version, which is a great advantage. It is however best seen in full screen. Three free timelines can be created. Credits to photos will be given at the bottom of the post as they do not appear in Timeglider.
(2) See, for example, the European Drought Center; Global drought monitor at the Benfield Hazard Research Centre, Department of Space and Climate Physics, University College London; DESERT action of the EC Joint Research Centre, Institute for Environment and Sustainability; Professor Lena M. Tallaksen, in her keynote speech ”Drought and Low Flow in Europe: Observations and Multi-model simulations” (Abstract) for the 2012 International Symposium on Climate Impacts on Low Flows and Droughts, p.10: underlines that
“Observations suggest that drought in Europe has occurred more frequently in the latter part of the 20th century, however the scientific understanding of the driving forces behind largescale droughts is incomplete. Climate change projections for Europe further indicate that drought is likely to become more frequent and more severe due to warmer northern winters and a warmer and drier Mediterranean region…”
(3) Scenarios on oil prices related to a potential war with Iran and the closing of the Strait of Ormuz led to the following forecasts
By Pimco republished as ”Pimco’s 4 “Iran Invasion” Oil Price Scenarios: From $140 To “Doomsday” by Zerohedge on 29 November 2011:
“i) Scenario 1: Exports minimally effected. Concerns would drive initial price response; Oil could spike initially to $130 to $140 per barrel and then settle in a higher range, around $120 to $125; ii) Scenario 2: Iranian exports cut off for one month. In this case, we would expect prices could reach previous all-time highs of $145/bbl or even higher depending on issues with shipping; iii) Scenario 3: Iranian exports are lost for half a year. We think oil prices could probably rally and average $150 for the six months, with notable spikes above that level; iv) Scenario 4: Greater loss of production from around the region, either through subsequent Iranian response or due to lack of ability to move oil through Straits of Hormuz. This is the Armageddon scenario in which oil prices could soar, significantly constraining global growth…”
By Societe Generale: “SocGen Lays It Out: ‘EU Iran Embargo: Brent $125-150. Straits Of Hormuz Shut: $150-200‘”published by Zerohedge, 8 January 2012:
1) “Scenario 1: EU enacts a full ban on 0.6 Mb/d of imports of Iranian crude. In this scenario, we would expect Brent crude prices to surge into the $125-150 range.” 2) “Scenario 2: Iran shuts down the Straits of Hormuz, disrupting 15 Mb/d of crude flows. In this scenario, we would expect Brent prices to spike into the $150-200 range for a limited time period….”
(4) See, for example, National Research Council. Biotechnology Research in an Age of Terrorism. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2004, notably pp.22-24; Gigi Kwik, Joe Fitzgerald, Thomas V. Inglesby, And Tara O’toole, “Biosecurity: Responsible Stewardship of Bioscience in an Age of Catastrophic Terrorism,” Biosecurity And Bioterrorism: Biodefense Strategy, Practice, And Science, Volume 1, Number 1, 2003; Danny J. Llewellyn, M. Brown, Y. Cousins, L. Hartweck, D. Last, A. Mathews, F. Murray & J. Thistleton. CSIRO Division of Plant Industry P.O. Box 1600 Canberra City A.C.T 2601, “The Science Behind Transgenic Cotton Plants,” Proceedings of the 6th Australian Cotton Conference Broadbeach Qld August 1992; Glenda D. Webber, Office of Biotechnology, Iowa State University, “Insect-resistant crops through genetic engineering,” Biotechnology Information Series, 1995; K.S. Jayaraman, “India investigates Bt cotton claims Research council launches probe into how Monsanto gene ended up in its indigenous transgenic cotton.” Nature, March 2012, doi:10.1038/nature.2012.10015; B. M. Khadi, “Impact of Bt-cotton on Agriculture in India,” GMO Safety
(5) This renewed financial crisis would come from the assumption that nothing – beyond reducing state expenses – or not much has really been endeavoured in the word to tackle the financial crisis started in 2007. Thus the crisis regularly surges after temporary lulls. It would be worsened by the impact of oil prices’ increase and spikes on the real economy; read, for a recent paper on this latter point: Dr. Mingqi Li (associate professor of economics at the University of Utah), “Has the Global Economy Become Less Vulnerable to Oil Price Shocks?” The OilDrum, 14 March 2012.