Matching Items (109)

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Risk Communication and Climate Justice Planning: A Case of Michigan’s Huron River Watershed

Description

Communicating climate risks is crucial when engaging the public to support climate action planning and addressing climate justice. How does evidence-based communication influence local residents’ risk perception and potential behavior

Communicating climate risks is crucial when engaging the public to support climate action planning and addressing climate justice. How does evidence-based communication influence local residents’ risk perception and potential behavior change in support of climate planning? Built upon our previous study of Climate Justice maps illustrating high scores of both social and ecological vulnerability in Michigan’s Huron River watershed, USA, a quasi-experiment was conducted to examine the effects of Climate Justice mapping intervention on residents’ perceptions and preparedness for climate change associated hazards in Michigan. Two groups were compared: residents in Climate Justice areas with high social and ecological vulnerability scores in the watershed (n=76) and residents in comparison areas in Michigan (n=69). Measurements for risk perception include perceived exposure, sensitivity, and adaptability to hazards. Results indicate that risk information has a significant effect on perceived sensitivity and level of preparedness for future climate extremes among participants living in Climate Justice areas. Findings highlight the value of integrating scientific risk assessment information in risk communication to align calculated and perceived risks. This study suggests effective risk communication can influence local support of climate action plans and implementation of strategies that address climate justice and achieve social sustainability in local communities.

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  • 2017-10-12

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Spatial Climate Justice and Green Infrastructure Assessment: A Case Study for the Huron River Watershed, Michigan, USA

Description

Green infrastructure serves as a critical no-regret strategy to address climate change mitigation and adaptation in climate action plans. Climate justice refers to the distribution of climate change-induced environmental hazards

Green infrastructure serves as a critical no-regret strategy to address climate change mitigation and adaptation in climate action plans. Climate justice refers to the distribution of climate change-induced environmental hazards (e.g., increased frequency and intensity of floods) among socially vulnerable groups. Yet no index has addressed both climate justice and green infrastructure planning jointly in the USA. This paper proposes a spatial climate justice and green infrastructure assessment framework to understand social-ecological vulnerability under the impacts of climate change. The Climate Justice Index ranks places based on their exposure to climate change-induced flooding, and water contamination aggravated by floods, through hydrological modelling, GIS spatial analysis and statistical methodologies. The Green Infrastructure Index ranks access to biophysical adaptive capacity for climate change. A case study for the Huron River watershed in Michigan, USA, illustrates that climate justice hotspots are concentrated in large cities; yet these communities have the least access to green infrastructure. This study demonstrates the value of using GIS to assess the spatial distribution of climate justice in green infrastructure planning and thereby to prioritize infrastructure investment while addressing equity in climate change adaptation.

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  • 2016-06-29

A Framework for Vulnerability Analysis Insustainability Science

Description

Global environmental change and sustainability science increasingly recognize the need to address the consequences of changes taking place in the structure and function of the biosphere. These changes raise questions

Global environmental change and sustainability science increasingly recognize the need to address the consequences of changes taking place in the structure and function of the biosphere. These changes raise questions such as: Who and what are vulnerable to the multiple environmental changes underway, and where? Research demonstrates that vulnerability is registered not by exposure to hazards (perturbations and stresses) alone but also resides in the sensitivity and resilience of the system experiencing such hazards. This recognition requires revisions and enlargements in the basic design of vulnerability assessments, including the capacity to treat coupled human–environment systems and those linkages within and without the systems that affect their vulnerability. A vulnerability framework for the assessment of coupled human–environment systems is presented.

Research on global environmental change has significantly improved our understanding of the structure and function of the biosphere and the human impress on both (1). The emergence of “sustainability science” (2–4) builds toward an understanding of the human–environment condition with the dual objectives of meeting the needs of society while sustaining the life support systems of the planet. These objectives, in turn, require improved dialogue between science and decision making (5–8). The vulnerability of coupled human–environment systems is one of the central elements of this dialogue and sustainability research (6, 9–11). It directs attention to such questions as: Who and what are vulnerable to the multiple environmental and human changes underway, and where? How are these changes and their consequences attenuated or amplified by different human and environmental conditions? What can be done to reduce vulnerability to change? How may more resilient and adaptive communities and societies be built?

Answers to these and related questions require conceptual frameworks that account for the vulnerability of coupled human–environment systems with diverse and complex linkages. Various expert communities have made considerable progress in pointing the way toward the design of these frameworks (10, 11). These advances are briefly reviewed here and, drawing on them, we present a conceptual framework of vulnerability developed by the Research and Assessment Systems for Sustainability Program (http://sust.harvard.edu) that produced the set of works in this Special Feature of PNAS. The framework aims to make vulnerability analysis consistent with the concerns of sustainability and global environmental change science. The case study by Turner et al. (12) in this issue of PNAS illustrates how the framework informs vulnerability assessments.

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  • 2003-03-07

Challenges Associated with Projecting Urbanization-Induced Heat-Related Mortality

Description

Maricopa County, Arizona, anchor to the fastest growing megapolitan area in the United States, is located in a hot desert climate where extreme temperatures are associated with elevated risk of

Maricopa County, Arizona, anchor to the fastest growing megapolitan area in the United States, is located in a hot desert climate where extreme temperatures are associated with elevated risk of mortality. Continued urbanization in the region will impact atmospheric temperatures and, as a result, potentially affect human health. We aimed to quantify the number of excess deaths attributable to heat in Maricopa County based on three future urbanization and adaptation scenarios and multiple exposure variables.

Two scenarios (low and high growth projections) represent the maximum possible uncertainty range associated with urbanization in central Arizona, and a third represents the adaptation of high-albedo cool roof technology. Using a Poisson regression model, we related temperature to mortality using data spanning 1983–2007. Regional climate model simulations based on 2050-projected urbanization scenarios for Maricopa County generated distributions of temperature change, and from these predicted changes future excess heat-related mortality was estimated. Subject to urbanization scenario and exposure variable utilized, projections of heat-related mortality ranged from a decrease of 46 deaths per year (− 95%) to an increase of 339 deaths per year (+ 359%).

Projections based on minimum temperature showed the greatest increase for all expansion and adaptation scenarios and were substantially higher than those for daily mean temperature. Projections based on maximum temperature were largely associated with declining mortality. Low-growth and adaptation scenarios led to the smallest increase in predicted heat-related mortality based on mean temperature projections. Use of only one exposure variable to project future heat-related deaths may therefore be misrepresentative in terms of direction of change and magnitude of effects. Because urbanization-induced impacts can vary across the diurnal cycle, projections of heat-related health outcomes that do not consider place-based, time-varying urban heat island effects are neglecting essential elements for policy relevant decision-making.

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  • 2014-04-28

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A Cross-cultural Analysis of the Emotional Effects of Climate Change

Description

Climate change presents a significant threat to human health, both mental and physical; as a result, it has become one of the most commonly discussed phenomena of the 21st century.

Climate change presents a significant threat to human health, both mental and physical; as a result, it has become one of the most commonly discussed phenomena of the 21st century. As many people are aware, a wide range of social and physical factors affects mental health. However, many people fail to realize that these increases global temperatures also have a significant impact on mental health as a result of increased vulnerability that is often manifested through one's emotions. By analyzing perceptions of people across the globe, in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Fiji, we were able to pinpoint these emotions and trace them individual's feelings of worry, distress, and hope that resulted from their perceived impacts on climate change. Overall, we found that people tend to have overall more negative emotional reaction when it comes to the perceived effects of climate change. Of the respondents, more men than women expressed concern regarding the various negative implications. Finally, those in the United Kingdom exhibited a stronger emotional response, followed by those in New Zealand and Fiji, respectively.

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Date Created
  • 2017-05

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Addressing International Implications of Adverse Climate Impacts in the Arctic: A Case Study Analysis on the Challenge of Hazardous Waste Reintroduction due to Ice Melt at Camp Century, Greenland

Description

Buried under ice and snow in Greenland, the abandoned Camp Century holds the remnants of a Danish-American Cold War-era operation left to achieve final disposal beneath a tomb of ice.

Buried under ice and snow in Greenland, the abandoned Camp Century holds the remnants of a Danish-American Cold War-era operation left to achieve final disposal beneath a tomb of ice. Nearly 50 years later, climate projections hypothesize that snowmelt will exceed snowfall in 2090—releasing the trapped hazardous wastes at Camp Century. This thesis examines the mechanisms through which the international community is able to remediate climate change impacts on Camp Century wastes. The wastes are characterized and examined as either a problem of transboundary pollution, as an issue of military accountability, or as an issue of climate change policy. As revealed, the wastes are unable to be classified as transboundary pollutants. Though classified as a point-source transboundary risk, they are neither a traded or public risk. Furthermore, no international or domestic transboundary pollution agreements incorporate provisions encompassing the specific attributes of Camp Century’s waste. Camp Century is also not an issue of military accountability as U.S. base cleanup laws and environmental regulations do not apply abroad and as the original bilateral agreement governing the site is insufficient in addressing potential ice melt. Finally, as examined through institutions such as the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement, Camp Century is, again, unable to be incorporated in current frameworks such as adaptation as adaption efforts are concentrated on developing nations. This thesis reveals the inability of current frameworks, institutions, and agreements to effectively remediate Camp Century wastes which is a case utilized as a microcosm through which to examine international capacity in addressing climate-change induced impacts.

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  • 2016-12

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Climate Change and Migration in Papua New Guinea

Description

Climate change is a global phenomenon that is disproportionately impacting people in developing countries. One coping mechanism that has been observed in response to climate change is migration. This paper

Climate change is a global phenomenon that is disproportionately impacting people in developing countries. One coping mechanism that has been observed in response to climate change is migration. This paper attempts to understand the role of climate change as a driver of migration in Papua New Guinea, a complex and under-researched country in Oceania. Past research suggests a complicated story, and that migration in response to climate change is not a simple concept. In order add to the existing literature, a variety of individual, household, and community-level variables are analyzed from a survey of households in rural Papua New Guinea. These variables are analyzed in conjunction with self-reported environmental shocks to determine the impact on migration across time. The results suggest that environmental shocks increase the probability of an individual migrating, with various socioeconomic factors acting as push and pull factors.

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  • 2020-05

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A Global Climate Crisis: Why is Arizona Behind The Renewable Energy Curve?

Description

Greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) continue to contribute heavily to global warming. It is estimated that the international community has only until 2050 to eliminate total carbon emissions or risk irreversible

Greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) continue to contribute heavily to global warming. It is estimated that the international community has only until 2050 to eliminate total carbon emissions or risk irreversible climate change. Arizona, despite its vast solar energy resources, is particularly behind in the global transition to carbon-free energy. This paper looks to explore issues that may be preventing Arizona from an efficient transition to carbon-free generation technologies. Identifiable factors include outdated state energy generation standards, lack of oversight and accountability of Arizona’s electricity industry regulatory body, and the ability for regulated utilities to take advantage of “dark money” campaign contributions. Various recommendations for mitigating the factors preventing Arizona from a carbon-free future are presented. Possibilities such as modernizing state energy generation standards, increasing oversight and accountability of Arizona’s electricity industry regulatory body, and potential market restructuring which would do away with the traditional regulated utility framework are explored. The goal is to inform readers of the issues plaguing the Arizona energy industry and recommend potential solutions moving forward.

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  • 2020-12

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Youth are the Present: An Analysis on the Different Experiences of Youth Climate Activists and Organizers in Arizona

Description

The goal of this paper is to serve as a case-study of the youth climate movement at the local level, focusing on how young activists and organizers in Arizona perceive

The goal of this paper is to serve as a case-study of the youth climate movement at the local level, focusing on how young activists and organizers in Arizona perceive their pathways, motivators, and barriers in the climate movement. In order to answer my research question of ‘What are the different experiences of Arizona youth activists’ involvement in climate action?’, I conducted a case-study of 15 interviews with participants between the ages of 18-25 that varied in racial and gender identity, as well as the duration of their involvement. While this paper does not present a comprehensive view of all experiences of youth climate activists and organizers in Arizona, these interviews highlight the upbringing, background, and the degree of involvement of young climate organizers and activists, ultimately revealing their similar yet unique experiences in the climate movement. Even though further research, discussion, and opportunities are needed to better understand the youth climate movement as well as other emerging social movements, these participants represent the heart of the movement here in Arizona. This case-study sheds light on lived-experiences and urges readers to consider young climate activists and organizers’ varying perspectives on how to support, amplify, and implement their requests for a livable, intersectional, diverse, and inclusive future.

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  • 2020-12

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Reducing Livestock-based Emissions in Argentina: Analyzing Climate Change Mitigation Strategies through Policy and Governance in the Agricultural Sector

Description

Intensive global animal agricultural practices have proved to be a cause for concern, resulting, in part, from consumer preferences and an increasing global demand for protein, especially meat. Countries like

Intensive global animal agricultural practices have proved to be a cause for concern, resulting, in part, from consumer preferences and an increasing global demand for protein, especially meat. Countries like Argentina, contribute to Greenhouse Gas emissions substantially through their livestock sector. Improved resource management can help to promote sustainable agriculture by reducing the amount of water and energy used to produce livestock, and improve livestock practices in order to reduce GHG emissions. The integration of resource management between food, energy, and water systems can help to decrease livestock-based emissions, through efficiency improvements targeted towards animal agricultural practices. This paper can act as a reference for other researchers studying the FEW nexus, to increase their understanding of how to improve coordination across water, energy, and agricultural sectors by using Argentina’s livestock sector as an example. Furthermore, policy and decision makers in Argentina can use information about FEW systems to make informed decisions about the allocation and prioritization of integrated management between food, energy, and water sectors, to help them implement integrated mitigation strategies within their livestock sector to help reduce GHG emissions.

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  • 2020-12