CSH Talk by Keith Smith & Marc Wiedermann: “Concern and anticipation of sea-level rise provide grounds for social tipping towards climate action”

Nov 03, 2021 | 15:0016:00

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This talk will be presented by Keith Smith, ETH Zurich, and Marc Wiedermann, Robert Koch Institute. The event will take place at the Complexity Science Hub on November 3rd, 2021, at 3pm.


If you would like to attend, please send an e-mail to office@csh.ac.at.


Title: Concern and anticipation of sea-level rise provide grounds for social tipping towards climate action




Effective climate change mitigation necessitates swift societal transformations. Social tipping processes, where small triggers initiate qualitative systemic shifts, are potential key mechanisms instigating societal change. With large shares of the world’s population coastally concentrated, sea-level rise is among the most severe impacts of climate change.


Here we explore novel modelling approaches to understanding the potential for social tipping processes in 61 countries. We combine future sea-level rise estimates, social survey data and a social activation model to exemplify a transformative pathway where climate change concern increases the social tipping potential, and extended anticipation time horizons for future sea-level rise shift the system towards an alternative sustainable state of climate action.


We find that in many countries, climate change concern is sufficient, such that opportunities for social activation towards this tipped state already exist. Accordingly increased anticipation time horizons lowers the required size for critical interventions, such as social movements or the sudden salience of political issues, which can kick the system into a more sustainable state.



Nov 03, 2021


Complexity Science Hub Vienna