Tag Archives: climate change

Adaptation and resilience in the face of climate change: protecting the conditions of emergence through good governance

Super wicked problems such as global climate change (Levin et al. 2012) and the extensive subsequent changes to the environment, biodiversity and human economies cannot be tackled with the usual disciplinary approaches that have long been the basis for policy making. Problems in social and environmental planning tend to become wicked because their causes are complex and subject to different interpretations according cultural values and beliefs. Consequently there are no objectively definable solutions to wicked problems and disagreement on what might be done to address a problem may be profound. In the case of climate change, the problem is super wicked because of the urgent need for solutions, lack of a central decisionmaking authority, and those responsible for solving the problem are also creating it.

The concept of resilience in complex adaptive social-ecological systems (SES) provides a relatively novel way of thinking about change at all scale levels from the local to the global. It enables people to develop strategies that either enhances the resilience of an existing system, so that it can absorb and recover from disturbance like fire, floods and disease outbreaks, or deliberately transforms the system into a new state that is better able to meet long term human needs. A SES resilience perspective recognizes that change in all biological systems (including all forms of human organization) begin with the very small and grows upwards.

This brief describes resilience concepts and argues that they provide a foundation for the development of adaptation policies based on a relatively simple model of the drivers and feedbacks that define the change process at work in a system. It also makes some suggestions on how national policies might support the growth of resilience and adaptive capacity for coping with climate change.

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Pathways to Deep Decarbonization, a Problem Solving Approach for a 2°C Society

The Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)[IPCC, 2013 & 2014] underscores the dangers to human well-being of a business-as-usual scenario where average global temperatures rise by 4°C or more. Governments around the world have adopted the target of keeping the global rise in mean surface temperature below 2°C compared with the preindustrial average [UNFCCC,
2010]. This target translates into a limitation on global cumulative emissions of approximately 1,000 GtCO2 during the transition to a net-zero emission economy. Yet, current voluntary pledges – even if fully implemented – fall short of what is needed. According to the UNEP Emission Gap Report, existing commitments to reduce emissions are 8 to 10 GtCO2e below the minimum needed in 2020 to retain a 66% chance of staying within 2°C [UNEP, 2014].

As a benchmark for the transition to be implemented, global per capita emissions will need to fall to less than 2 tCO2e by 2050, where developed nations currently range from approximately 10 to 20 tCO2e per capita today [DDPP, 2014]. Realizing such a reduction in emissions requires unprecedented problem solving on all fronts: technological diffusion and innovation, infrastructure building, financing mechanisms, policy frameworks, institutional arrangements, business models, and consumer behavior. This problem solving is best organized around coherent visions of the required transformation, which take the form of deep decarbonization pathways (DDPs) to 2050.

To make a strong and convincing case for action at the national level, DDPs must be country-specific and developed by local experts. They need to fit within countries’ development strategies and align with their socioeconomic and environmental goals. They need to demonstrate that the short- and long-term challenges countries face, such as economic development, poverty eradication and job creation can be addressed in parallel to deep decarbonization. However, few countries have created such pathways. The Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) offers an approach to develop such analysis.

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Climate Change Responses: Mitigation and Adaptation for Whom?

This brief summarises some recent critiques of our responses to climate change and highlights the ways in which the global poor, who will suffer the most from climate change, are being further marginalised as a result of mitigation and adaptation responses, through hierarchies and social stratification at all scales. Understanding and responding to these
resulting “insults and injuries of intervention” (Marino & Ribot, 2012, p. 327) is an important new component in achieving sustainable development in a climate-changed world, along
with the ongoing need to understand root causes of vulnerability (Ribot, 2014), double exposure to climate change and globalisation (O’Brien & Leichenko, 2000) and the social basis
of disasters (Sen, 1981; Wisner et al, 2004).

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Estimations of the contribution of international shipping to greenhouse gas emissions

Maritime transport is the backbone of world trade and globalization. Twenty-four hours a day and all year round, ships carry cargoes to all corners of the globe. This role will continue to grow with the anticipated increase in world trade in the years to come as millions of people are expected to be lifted out of poverty through improved access to basic materials, goods and products. World trade and maritime transport are, therefore, fundamental to sustaining economic growth and spreading prosperity throughout the world, thereby fulfilling a critical social as well as an economic function.

Maritime transport will be indispensable in a sustainable future global economy, being the most energy efficient mode of mass cargo transport; in 2012 ships carried about 9.2 billion tonnes of cargo and over 2.1 billion passengers. Consequently, these environmental, social and economic dimensions of maritime transport are equally important and should be fully recognized in any strategy, policy, regulatory framework or action.

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Enhancing the quality of African climate change science by investing in peer review capacity

Globally, climate change will bring “harder rains in a hotter climate” (Berg, et al., 2013). For African farmers, it will bring more erratic rainfall, more frequent and severe droughts in dry lands and savanna areas, and shifts in weather patterns that will alter the timing and length of cropping seasons (Niang, et al., 2014). Building resilience, enhancing climate change preparedness, and mainstreaming climate sensitivity need to become integral components of all agricultural and sustainable development planning in Africa (Hassan, 2010). Science must play a greater role in guarding against expected food shortages in Africa; many calls to that effect have been made in international discussions, including those hosted by United Nations bodies (Pearson, 2004; Poliakoff, 2011). Put simply, African scientists need to act quickly to re-do much of the existing, as well as new science about crops and livestock, the environment, and livelihoods for changed climate scenarios. Science based solutions are only considered credible by intended users if these are properly peer reviewed for the scientific merit.

So far, most of the peer reviewed climate change science about and for Africa has been undertaken by research programs funded and led by affluent countries; the resulting papers have generally been published in acclaimed journals located in developed countries. Thousands of journals address climate-related issues relevant to Africa, developed countries. Thousands of journals address climate-related issues relevant to Africa, but far too few such publications are actually located in the countries being discussed. Even African scientists tend to publish their peer reviewed science in the journals located in or managed by developed countries. Of the 450 online African journals, more than two-thirds originate from two countries: Nigeria and South Africa (Figure 1). Only nine other countries in the continent publish more than five open-access journals. This typifies the ecosystem of climaterelated peer reviewed scientific expertise within Africa.

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能源与气候治理研究进展综述 (Review of research on energy and climate governance)

This brief is submitted in the Chinese language. The full brief could be accessed through the below link. Your comments could be in either English or Chinese.

摘 要
在变化的政治、经济、社会环境条件下,人们在探索“资源、环境、人口、发展”相协调的实践历程中不断总结出公 共资源与环境管理的基本规律和运行机制,以实现可持续发展。近年来,学术界在能源与气候变化治理的理论方面取得了显 著的成果和进展;与此同时,我国在能源管理与应对气候变化的实践领域中也开展了积极的探索和尝试,有力的促进了经 济、社会、环境的协调发展。本文梳理总结了近年我国能源与气候变化治理领域的研究进展。


基于 CGE 模型的碳交易机制技术效应和减排效应研究 (Assessing technological effect and mitigation effect of carbon trading using Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) model)

This brief is submitted in the Chinese language. The full brief could be accessed through the below link. Your comments could be in either English or Chinese.

摘 要
本文基于一般均衡理论,结合中国经济和能源市场特征,利用含有内生技术进步的 CGE(Computable General Equilibrium)模型分析了碳交易机制下的三种减排情境对技术进步的影响以及带来的 CO2减排效应,以期为中国减排政策的制定提供 科学的信息支持和决策参考。结果表明低减排目标、中等减排目标、高减排目标约束下:(1)技术进步相对于基准情景的变化率逐 年上升,减排初期为 0.13%、0.40%和 0.73%,到 2030 年达到 0.47%、1.60%和 3.35%;(2)碳价波动幅度较小,平均水平为 57.86 元 /吨、203.17 元/吨和 452.87 元/吨;(3)碳强度相对于 2005 年水平逐年下降,减排初期为 30.38%、35.34%和 42.38%,到 2030 年达 到 58.37%、61.38%和 65.66%;(4)减排量也呈现逐年上升趋势,初期为 0.74 亿吨、2.46 亿吨和 4.93 亿吨,到 2030 年到达 1.08 亿 吨、3.62 亿吨和 7.23 亿吨;(5)减排初期 GDP 相对于基准情景都出现不同程度的下降,分别为 0.02%,0.12% 和 0.37%,后期逐渐 转为正向,到 2030 年高于基准情景 0.03%,0.05% 和 0.02%;(6)研发投入相对于基准情景平均每年分别增加约 0.5%, 2% 和 3.5%。碳交易能够有效激励技术进步,实现二氧化碳减排,但现阶段对于经济增长有负面效应。因此,目前不适宜建立全国性的碳市 场。只有在科技水平达到一定程度,并且经济形势趋于稳定之后,碳交易才能实现减排和增长的“双重红利”。


Anthropological perspectives on climate change and sustainability: implications for policy and action

Natural science disciplines ranging from climatology to oceanography and from geophysics to biogeography have been involved in research on climate change and its implications for sustainability, but over the past few decades anthropologists have examined these same issues from a rather different perspective. Even earlier, physical anthropologists and archaeologists had begun examining the role of primarily natural climate change in the bio-cultural evolution of humans in Africa and their subsequent dispersal to Eurasia, Australia, and the Americas. Climate change appears to have played a prominent role in the formation of various civilizations, the occupation or abandonment of different regions over time, and the collapse of major civilizations and indigenous societies.

This brief focuses on the recent work of sociocultural anthropologists on anthropogenic climate change, a phenomenon that began with the Industrial Revolution and is characterized by heavy reliance on fossil fuels and emphasis on
persistently enduring economic growth. Particularly after World War II, the global economy began to promote and rely on relentless consumption of manufactured products. This economic model has diffused from the first industrialized countries to the developing world through trade, foreign investment, aid and development programs, and its sustainability implications are not confined to anthropogenic climate change….

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Green jobs in the era of changing climate

In many parts of the Global South, climate change will have substantial (negative) impacts on overall national development including country’s efforts to reduce poverty (Olsson et al., 2014). However, current climate adaptation efforts can be criticized for their limited incorporation of or focus on the “poverty reduction” aspect. These two concepts – poverty reduction and climate change adaptation – are often treated as two different issues among many scholars, policy makers, and practitioners, even though issues like poverty and inequality are the “most salient of the conditions that shape climate-related vulnerability” (Ribot, 2010:50). Therefore, climate adaptation efforts in developing countries can be criticized for not making meaningful and lasting impacts among the poor and marginalized citizens. Since poor and marginalized citizens are most vulnerable to climate impacts, it is critical for the developing nations in the Global South to have means to reduce their poverty along with meaningful climate adaptation efforts….

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Politicas de proteccion social en el contexto de politicas de desarrollo sostenible y cambio climatico

El presente artículo explica algunos de los aspectos más importantes, declaraciones y programas por país que permiten explicar la evolución e importancia global de las políticas que reconocen la integración de las políticas de protección social con las de desarrollo sostenible y lucha contra el cambio climático…


Social protection policies in the context of sustainable development policies and climate change

This brief examines some of the most important aspects, statements and country programs that explain the evolution and global importance of policies that integrate social protection policies with those oriented to promote sustainable development and responses to climate change….

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Environmental Solutions via Buoyant Flake Fertilization

An opportunity exists to combine three sustainable or waste materials, and to deploy the resulting product in such a way that it: increases sustainable fish stocks; reduces surface ocean acidity; sequesters carbon; and cools the globe profitably, effectively, quickly, and by means closely matching how Nature has done this safely for millennia.

Sustainable Development can come from solutions that replace fossil fuel consumption with sustainable resources, or from solutions that address environmental threats. Some solutions do both. One such prospective solution combines natural and waste materials to form ultra-slow release, buoyant flakes that provide the essential nutrients necessary to make the nutrient deficient half of ocean surface waters productive. In food production terms, this is nearly the equivalent of having another Earth, such is the productivity of nutrient-rich waters. At the same time, the flakes deliver four other key benefits: the dark blue of the less-productive high seas is replaced with the milky-green hue of productive seas, thereby cooling the world by reflecting more solar energy back into space; chemicals released by the additional microscopic phytoplankton contribute to marine cloud brightening, thereby also increasing global albedo (reflectiveness) fairly
evenly and hence reducing diverse regional effects; the additional photosynthetic phytoplankton offset ocean acidification by converting the carbon dioxide dissolved in the ocean surface waters (carbonic acid) into neutral biomass and oxygen; and part of this biomass sequesters carbon in the cold ocean depths and sediments when it sinks, leaving the surface waters able to take up more atmospheric carbon dioxide.

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Investing in sustainable development: A perspective on market-based approaches

Anomalies and risks associated with achieving growth suggest that humanity is heading for increasing instability and multipolar disasters. The question is: are there instruments for alleviating these problems? Should the relevant instruments be market-based, public-based, or both? This brief argues that an effective private sector model to leverage financing for global sustainable development exists. It assesses the comparative analysis of contingent valuation (CV) versus revealed preferences (RP) methods for environmental conservation to argue that an effective model of collaborative push -" i.e. insurance-based contractual savings" is in effect doable for economic, social and environmental sustainability as a quasipublic good between the public and private sectors.

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