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The Science of Climate Change

Climate change is no longer a distant threat or just a possibility, it is now a reality for all of us. In this pathway, Kevin Trenberth, a renowned climatologist, delves into the science behind climate change. He first introduces the climate system, its main components and forces.

Tackling the Plastic Crisis

Plastic pollution is by far the biggest threat to our oceans and this remains an incredibly tough problem to solve. Plastic credits could potentially serve as one of the much needed solutions for this crisis.

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The Scale of the Net Zero Challenge

The price of meeting net zero is estimated to be between $100-150 trillion over the next 30 years. Regardless of this cost, we need to reach net zero before climate change does irreversible damage to the environment and the economy.

ESG, Sustainability and Impact Jargon Buster

ESG, sustainability, impact… they all just mean green, right? Not quite. Despite being used often interchangeably, there are distinct differences between these terms.

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Featured Pathways

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The Science of Climate Change

Climate change is no longer a distant threat or just a possibility, it is now a reality for all of us. In this pathway, Kevin Trenberth, a renowned climatologist, delves into the science behind climate change. He first introduces the climate system, its main components and forces.

Tackling the Plastic Crisis

Plastic pollution is by far the biggest threat to our oceans and this remains an incredibly tough problem to solve. Plastic credits could potentially serve as one of the much needed solutions for this crisis.

More pathways

Ready to get started?

PLANS & MEMBERSHIP

Our Platform

Expert led content

+1,000 expert presented, on-demand video modules

Learning analytics

Keep track of learning progress with our comprehensive data

Interactive learning

Engage with our video hotspots and knowledge check-ins

Testing & certification

Gain CPD / CPE credits and professional certification

Managed learning

Build, scale and manage your organisation’s learning

Integrations

Connect Sustainability Unlocked to your current platform

Featured Content

More featured content

The Scale of the Net Zero Challenge

The price of meeting net zero is estimated to be between $100-150 trillion over the next 30 years. Regardless of this cost, we need to reach net zero before climate change does irreversible damage to the environment and the economy.

ESG, Sustainability and Impact Jargon Buster

ESG, sustainability, impact… they all just mean green, right? Not quite. Despite being used often interchangeably, there are distinct differences between these terms.

More featured content

Ready to get started?

Ready to get started?

Five Classic Causes of Unintended Consequences

Five Classic Causes of Unintended Consequences

Paul Orlando

25 years: Systems specialist

In this video, Paul talks about Robert Merton's mention of the five causes of unintended consequences, which are error, basic values, short-term vs. long-term interests, ignorance, and the self-defeating prophecy.

In this video, Paul talks about Robert Merton's mention of the five causes of unintended consequences, which are error, basic values, short-term vs. long-term interests, ignorance, and the self-defeating prophecy.

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Five Classic Causes of Unintended Consequences

13 mins 53 secs

Overview

In the paper he wrote in the 1930's, Robert Merton mentioned the five causes of unintended consequences. The five causes are error, basic values, short-term vs long-term interests, ignorance, and the self-defeating prophecy.

Key learning objectives:

  • Learn about Robert Merton’s five causes of unintended consequences

  • Learn about the different types of error

  • Understand what are basic values

  • Learn the types of Short-term vs Long-term interests

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Summary

What are the five causes of unintended consequences mentioned by Robert Mertion in his paper?

  • Error
  • Ignorance
  • Basic values
  • Short - term vs long - term interest
  • Self defeating prophecy

What are the types of errors?

  • Systematic errors
  • Random errors
  • Blunders
  • Incentives
  • P-hacking

What are basic values and their types?

Basic values are long-standing beliefs or ideals about what is good or bad, shared by members of a group. There are both stated (or believed) and practiced basic values. They spring from ideals, culture, history, and more and aren't necessarily ranked in order of goodness or badness.

What are the types of short term and long term interests?

  • Physiological needs - This is where we choose what feels good in the short term even when there are known long-term consequences
  • Classical economics - This is where individuals act in their own best interest without considering the whole system and end up producing other outcomes for society which were outside of anyone’s inten
  • Psychological generator of emotional bias - We do things that feel good now rather than things that might be better later
  • Trade-offs - Short-term interests have near-term pay-offs
  • Connectedness - Change one thing and the effect ripples out elsewhere

What are the forms of ignorance?

  • Ignorance by unawareness
  • Ignorance from lack of usefulness
  • Ability ignorance

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Paul Orlando

Paul Orlando

Paul's writing on "unintended consequences" comes from his work delving into the systems that he works to impact. He is the founder of Startups Unplugged, a consulting firm devoted to helping large organizations execute with the speed of startups. To do this, Paul often builds startup accelerators and incubators, helping organizations generate more revenue and enabling communities to attract new businesses. He is adjunct professor at the University of Southern California, running the institution's Incubator and in the past built other innovation programmes globally including AcceleratorHK in Hong Kong and the Laudato Si startup incubator in Rome. Paul graduated from Cornell University and Columbia Business School.

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