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Episode Info: Climate change is here.On "Marketplace Tech," we’re launching ongoing coverage looking at how tech can help us adapt to that change. It’s a series we're calling "How We Survive."So far, much of the investment and energy around climate change has been about mitigation — that is, slowing carbon emissions, reducing temperature rise, perhaps even geo-engineering carbon out of the air or sequestering it in the ground in order to stop warming.But increasingly, climate scientists, investors and entrepreneurs are talking much more seriously about adaptation — that is, how do we harden our cities and water supplies and infrastructures against climate change? How do we engineer crops that can grow in places and temperatures they were never designed to grow? How do we make cities and states and countries and homes less dependent on centralized resources when the power goes out and give people the tools to save themselves if they need to?Adaptation isn’t a new part of the climate conversation, but as one climate advocate put it recently, it’s long been the “poor cousin” of climate change policy. That’s changing. And in coming months we'll look at the data, the engineering and the technology around this growing branch of study and investment.A United Nations special report from last year said we really only have about 12 years to staunch the worst effects of climate change, and that at the current rate of warming, we'll see $54 trillion worth of increasingly deadly damage. Researchers are starting to figure out where millions of future climate refugees might go. The UN reported last week that a million plant and animal species are on the verge of extinction, with warming only speeding that trend, and that human health and survival are at risk as a result.The trajectory is brutally unyielding.William Collins is a climate scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and has been an author on several UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessments.“Look, I could write six more IPCC assessments. They're all going to say the same thing,” Collins said. “They’re leading in a very straight line, and the challenge here is not to draw that line even further." He said many scientists are "eager to stop writing reports and start diving into creating solutions.”Last year Collins founded the the Environmental Resilience Accelerator as a joint project between the Lawrence Berkeley lab and University of California, Berkeley, to start researching solutions for adapting to climate change. One of its first projects involves a city block in Oakland, California, and installing solar panels, gray water technologies and heating systems that don’t rely on the electrical grid. The goal is to make the area more self-sufficient in an increasingly uncertain environment around resources.Collins said the real point is to start doing something.“You can lecture people all day long about what they should do,” he said. “I really ...
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