Emergent Behaviours are the result of a small number of individual agents acting on their own to produce a small part of a bigger “emergent behaviour”. Clear examples are: Ant Hills are an emergent behaviour of a large number of ants working together in a complex manner and snowflakes, where one by one falling in a pile, they can produce an avalanche which has a much greater net effect than the individual flakes on their own.
Wrong If: You use your appliances more because you can afford to, turn the heating up higher now it is cheaper to heat your home, leave the lights on for longer because they are cheaper to run and drive further as you are less worried about the fuel consumption of your car.
Sir Crispin Tickell is a career diplomat whose posts include British Ambassador to Mexico (1981-83), Permanent Secretary of the Overseas Development Administration (1984-87) and British Permanent Representative to the United Nations (1987-90). He is also Chairman of the UK Government Panel on Sustainable Development, Chairman of the Climate Institute of Washington DC and is a senior visiting fellow at the Harvard University Center for the Environment.
Ongoing research into Climate Change, in particular the all-too-real possibility that the whole earth system is being triggered by anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions into positive feedback and consequent accelerated runaway global heating.
Michael Totten is Senior Director for Climate and Water at the Center for Environmental Leadership in Business, based in Washington DC. He co-founded the Center for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technology and was instrumental in drafting the Global Warming Prevention Act of 1989.
John Schellnhuber is the German government’s Chief Advisor on climate change. He is also the founding Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impacts Research and a former Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research in England. In 2004 he received an honorary CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in recognition of his accomplishments in advancing a cross-disciplinary understanding of climate change.
Another feature of Complex Systems, is that they are often “path-dependent”, that is to say that decisions taken in the systems ‘past’ can have a dramatic effect on the behaviour of the system in the future.
Path Dependence We make decisions about the technologies we use to generate our energy, how we deal with our waste, how we build our homes. E.t.c If we accept path-dependence, then the decisions we take now about the technologies and societal structures we choose to implement may affect our future options for change.