Global Environmental Change

Published by Elsevier
Online ISSN: 0959-3780
Publications
Article
Cities are key sites where climate change is being addressed. Previous research has largely overlooked the multiplicity of climate change responses emerging outside formal contexts of decision-making and led by actors other than municipal governments. Moreover, existing research has largely focused on case studies of climate change mitigation in developed economies. The objective of this paper is to uncover the heterogeneous mix of actors, settings, governance arrangements and technologies involved in the governance of climate change in cities in different parts of the world. The paper focuses on urban climate change governance as a process of experimentation. Climate change experiments are presented here as interventions to try out new ideas and methods in the context of future uncertainties. They serve to understand how interventions work in practice, in new contexts where they are thought of as innovative. To study experimentation, the paper presents evidence from the analysis of a database of 627 urban climate change experiments in a sample of 100 global cities. The analysis suggests that, since 2005, experimentation is a feature of urban responses to climate change across different world regions and multiple sectors. Although experimentation does not appear to be related to particular kinds of urban economic and social conditions, some of its core features are visible. For example, experimentation tends to focus on energy. Also, both social and technical forms of experimentation are visible, but technical experimentation is more common in urban infrastructure systems. While municipal governments have a critical role in climate change experimentation, they often act alongside other actors and in a variety of forms of partnership. These findings point at experimentation as a key tool to open up new political spaces for governing climate change in the city.
 
Article
Women are thought to have a multiplicity of roles as agents, victims and saviours in relation to environmental change. This paper takes an innovative approach to the study of gender and the environment by utilizing women's time use as a surrogate measure of changes in gender roles under conditions of environmental stress. Case studies are drawn from dryland areas of Sri Lanka, Burkina Faso, Ghana, the Sudan and the Caribbean. There is considerable evidence that women have shorter hours of rest than men, that gender roles are becoming more flexible and that environmental degradation increases women's workload.
 
Article
Soil degradation is widely considered to be a key factor undermining agricultural livelihoods in the developing world and contributing to rural out-migration. To date, however, few quantitative studies have examined the effects of soil characteristics on human migration or other social outcomes for potentially vulnerable households. This study takes advantage of a unique longitudinal survey dataset from Kenya and Uganda containing information on household-level soil properties to investigate the effects of soil quality on population mobility. Random effects multinomial logit models are used to test for effects of soil quality on both temporary and permanent migration while accounting for a variety of potential confounders. The analysis reveals that soil quality significantly reduces migration in Kenya, particularly for temporary labor migration, but marginally increases migration in Uganda. These findings are consistent with several previous studies in showing that adverse environmental conditions tend to increase migration but not universally, contrary to common assumptions about environmentally-induced migration.
 
Article
In 1972, the Club of Rome's infamous report “The Limits to Growth” [Meadows, D.H., Meadows, D.L., Randers, J., Behrens_III, W. W. (1972). The Limits to Growth: A Report for the Club of Rome's Project on the Predicament of Mankind. Universe Books, New York] presented some challenging scenarios for global sustainability, based on a system dynamics computer model to simulate the interactions of five global economic subsystems, namely: population, food production, industrial production, pollution, and consumption of non-renewable natural resources. Contrary to popular belief, The Limits to Growth scenarios by the team of analysts from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology did not predict world collapse by the end of the 20th century. This paper focuses on a comparison of recently collated historical data for 1970–2000 with scenarios presented in the Limits to Growth. The analysis shows that 30 years of historical data compare favorably with key features of a business-as-usual scenario called the “standard run” scenario, which results in collapse of the global system midway through the 21st century. The data do not compare well with other scenarios involving comprehensive use of technology or stabilizing behaviour and policies. The results indicate the particular importance of understanding and controlling global pollution.
 
Article
This paper describes an analysis of long-term rainfall trends in central mountainous region of Sri Lanka. A 30-year 60 rain gauge data set is analyzed to identify the trends in annual and seasonal rainfall. Inter-annual as well as intra-annual rainfall trends are investigated to understand the adverse impacts on water resources, floods and land degradation. It is found that there is a decrease in the annual rainfall in the region, while different seasons show mixed results. The March–April 1st inter-monsoon period shows the highest decrease in rainfall where almost all the rain gauges have recorded decreasing rainfall. In addition to the decreasing rainfall trend, the numbers of rainy days have reduced giving rise to an increasing rain intensity trend. In order to understand better the changes to rain intensity-frequency relation, a universal multifractal analysis was carried out where multifractal models calibrated to first and last decades of the rain series are used to estimate the intensity–frequency relations in the rainfall series. The results show that there is a decrease of inter-monsoon rainfall, while the intensities and return period of extreme events appear to become shorter. These changes could be associated with regional climate changes, and are consistent with projections related to Asia Brown Cloud phenomena.
 
Article
The phosphorus (P) cycle has been significantly altered by human activities. For this paper, we explored the sustainability of current P flows in terms of resource depletion and the ultimate fate of these flows. The analysis shows that rapid depletion of extractable phosphate rock is not very likely, in the near term. Under best estimates, depletion would be around 20–35%. In worst case scenarios, about 40–60% of the current resource base would be extracted by 2100. At the same time, production will concentrate in Asia, Africa and West Asia, and production costs will likely have increased. As there are no substitutes for phosphorus plant nutrients in agriculture, arguably even partial depletion of P resources may in the long run be relevant for the sustainability of agriculture. Consumption trends lead to large flows of phosphorus to surface water and a considerable build-up of phosphorus in agricultural soils in arable lands. This may allow a reduction in future P fertiliser application rates in crop production. Results also indicate a global depletion of P pools in soils under grassland, which may be a threat to ruminant production.
 
Article
The African Sahel provides the most dramatic example of multi-decadal climate variability that has been quantitatively and directly measured. Annual rainfall across this region fell by between 20 and 30 per cent between the decades leading up to political independence for the Sahelian nations (1930s to 1950s) and the decades since (1970s to 1990s). Climatic perspectives on the nature and causes of this period of desiccation have changed and, in some cases, matured as the years — and the drought — continued. This paper reviews these changing perspectives and reflects on three central questions: How unique an occurrence has been this desiccation in the recent human history of the Sahel? Can we find an adequate explanation for this desiccation in the natural forces that shape the climate system, or do we have to implicate human interventions in the system? Is our understanding of climate variability sufficient to allow us to develop seasonal rainfall forecasting capabilities for the region?
 
Article
China's energy consumption doubled within the first 25 years of economic reforms initiated at the end of the 1970s, and doubled again in the past 5 years. It has resulted of a threefold CO2 emissions increase since early of 1980s. China's heavy reliance on coal will make it the largest emitter of CO2 in the world. By combining structural decomposition and input–output analysis we seek to assess the driving forces of China's CO2 emissions from 1980 to 2030. In our reference scenario, production-related CO2 emissions will increase another three times by 2030. Household consumption, capital investment and growth in exports will largely drive the increase in CO2 emissions. Efficiency gains will be partially offset the projected increases in consumption, but our scenarios show that this will not be sufficient if China's consumption patterns converge to current US levels. Relying on efficiency improvements alone will not stabilize China's future emissions. Our scenarios show that even extremely optimistic assumptions of widespread installation of carbon dioxide capture and storage will only slow the increase in CO2 emissions.
 
Global and Chilean salmon production ( Source : SalmonChile, 2007; Revista Aqua, 2007). 
Rising globalised engagement in Chilean aquaculture. 
Map of the Region de los Lagos ( Source : Authors). 
Issues and research agenda in aquaculture. 
Mapping of stakeholder engagement. 
Article
Through the case of the salmon aquaculture sector in Chile, the risks involved in the development of a non-traditional export sector are reviewed, in order to point to failings (lessons not learned) and opportunities (lessons learned, new plans), and the changing scales of stakeholder interactions. In particular the paper highlights the ways in which sustainability considerations have gained ground in terms of evaluating sectoral development and what is expected from this development. These considerations have emerged as a result of the increasing globalisation of the sector, through investment, exports and international ‘attention’ from an increasingly diverse set of stakeholders. These sustainability considerations have generated a range of conflicts linked to these diverse actors. The actors are local, national and global, operating through alliances to bring pressure on others. The conflicts relate to environmental quality, foreign direct investment (FDI), local socio-economic development, regional development, national economic strategies, and new globalised issues relating to the production and consumption of foodstuffs. The contemporary panorama in the sector is significantly different from the early origins in the 1980s under the dictatorship – the period of ‘the socio-ecological silence’ – also different from the 1990s period of economic expansion – ‘the economic imperative’. Over the past twenty-five years, the Chilean aquaculture sector has evolved from experimental production to a major global industry. Regulatory frameworks and civil society awareness and mobilisation have struggled to ‘catch up’ with the dynamism of the sector, however the gap has reduced and the future of the sector within the contemporary context of ‘glocal’ sustainability is now under the microscope: the ‘sustainable globalisation perspective’. The collapse of the sector during the period 2008–2010 as a consequence of the ISA virus is a key moment with production severely diminished. The way out of the crisis, via new legislation and inspection regimes, will create a new structure of aquaculture governance. Nevertheless, the crisis marks a turning point in the industry, revealing the weaknesses built into the former productive system.
 
Freshwater resources of the Nile. 
Average annual total virtual water crop and livestock 'trade' between Nile Basin states and the rest of the world, imports and exports, 1998–2004 (Mm 3 /y). The figure shows that the Southern Nile states as well as Ethiopia and Eritrea actually 'export' more virtual water (crops and livestock) than they import. Egypt and Sudan are net 'importers' (significant figures shown do not reflect accuracy in findings – all values approximate).  
Virtual water content for select crops – irrigated component (m 3 /metric tonne). 
Select details of virtual water crop 'trade' (main trade items only, average values 1998–2004, Mm 3 /y): (a) within the Nile Basin and (b) between Nile Basin states and the rest of the world. 
Egyptian virtual water 'imports' in crops from (a) outside of the basin, and (b) other Nile Basin states. For a comprehensive set of figures for each state, please refer to the original FAO/LWRG Report.  
Article
This paper interprets an initial approximation of the ‘trade’ in virtual water of Nile Basin states in terms of national water security. The virtual water content (on the basis of weight) of select recorded crop and livestock trade between 1998 and 2004 is provided, and analysed for each state separately, for the Southern Nile and Eastern Nile states as groups, and for the basin states as a whole. To the extent that the datasets allow, the distinction between rainfed and irrigated production is maintained. During the period under study, Nile Basin states ‘exported’ about 14,000 Mm3 of primarily rainfed-derived virtual water outside of the basin annually and ‘imported’ roughly 41,000 Mm3/y. The ‘imports’ are considered to have played a key role in filling the freshwater deficits of Egypt and Sudan, and represent a third of the flow of the Nile River itself. Analysis of food trade within the basin shows that the equivalent of small rivers of water used to raise coffee and tea ‘flow’ from the highlands around Lake Victoria to Egypt and Sudan. Because the bulk of these ‘flows’ derive from rainfed agriculture, the virtual water ‘traded’ annually between the Nile Basin states is not considered to represent a significant demand on the water resources of the basin, nor to significantly remedy the freshwater deficits of the arid basin states. The importance of soil water and rainfed farming is in improving water security is highlighted. The limitations and merits of the inter-state basin-wide approach are also discussed. By highlighting the magnitude of water leaving and entering states in its virtual form, the approach obliges policy-makers to think beyond the basin and reconsider the concept of water security within broader political, environmental, social and economic forces.
 
Article
Evironmental citizenship is a nationally-and-internationally stated objective. The interacting components which comprise the environmental citizen are generally not in dispute; it is the relationships between them and their relative importance that are poorly understood. A model of environmental citizenship was developed and tested via a public questionnaire-based survey. Multiple regression-and-correlation analyses indicate that participation in environmental education and training is the most important predictor of environmental behaviour followed by emotionality. However, the complexity of interactions which determine behaviour illustrates that environmental citizens are not produced merely by programmes of education, but by a whole range of factors with which education may interact. The model also demonstrates that the combination of the solutions subscale of sense of personal responsibility and the others subscale of locus of control exert a strong influence on behaviour, indicating the importance of a philosophy that recognizes the value of the individual in solving environmental problems. An internal locus of control is an important pre-requisite of environmental citizenship, as is a combination of both abstract and concrete knowledge. These results are generally comparable with other, largely US-based studies. It is therefore possible to conclude that the inter-relationships between environmental citizenship components are usually constant and that the model of environmental citizenship developed here is transferable.
 
Article
Media discourses about drought impacts on lakes and reservoirs in Arizona and New Mexico between 2002 and 2004 are compared to show how discursive contexts shape the framing of drought in temporal and spatial scales. Discursive contexts in the two states are shaped by their cultural and political histories and the differential development of water delivery infrastructures. Quantitative mapping of keywords in the states’ main newspapers shows how New Mexico experienced more conflict and Arizona more surprise about the drought. Qualitative case studies link these patterns to variation in framing between the states. In particular, the shorter temporal scale in New Mexico is linked to a greater sense of emergency, while the longer temporal scale in Arizona reflects the buffering of urban populations from drought through water delivery infrastructure. The finer spatial scale in Arizona, focusing on urban concerns, reflects an established infrastructure of reservoirs while the broader spatial scale in New Mexico, incorporating both rural and urban concerns, reflects a less developed physical infrastructure and greater prevalence of water rights conflicts. This study illustrates the usefulness of a multifaceted approach to the study of media discourse.
 
Article
Accumulating evidence suggests that agricultural production could be greatly affected by climate change, but there remains little quantitative understanding of how these agricultural impacts would affect economic livelihoods in poor countries. Here we consider three scenarios of agricultural impacts of climate change by 2030 (impacts resulting in low, medium, or high productivity) and evaluate the resulting changes in global commodity prices, national economic welfare, and the incidence of poverty in a set of 15 developing countries. Although the small price changes under the medium scenario are consistent with previous findings, we find the potential for much larger food price changes than reported in recent studies which have largely focused on the most likely outcomes. In our low productivity scenario, prices for major staples rise 10-60% by 2030. The poverty impacts of these price changes depend as much on where impoverished households earn their income as on the agricultural impacts themselves, with poverty rates in some non-agricultural household groups rising by 20-50% in parts of Africa and Asia under these price changes, and falling by equal amounts for agriculture-specialized households elsewhere in Asia and Latin America. The potential for such large distributional effects within and across countries emphasizes the importance of looking beyond central case climate shocks and beyond a simple focus on yields - or highly aggregated poverty impacts.
 
Article
Increased understanding of the substantial threat climate change poses to agriculture has not been met with a similarly improved understanding of how best to respond. Here we examine likely shifts in crop climates in Sub-Saharan Africa under climate change to 2050, and explore the implications for agricultural adaptation, with particular focus on identifying priorities in crop breeding and the conservation of crop genetic resources. We find that for three of Africa's primary cereal crops – maize, millet, and sorghum – expected changes in growing season temperature are considerable and dwarf changes projected for precipitation, with the warmest recent temperatures on average cooler than almost 9 out of 10 expected observations by 2050. For the “novel” crop climates currently unrepresented in each country but likely extant there in 2050, we identify current analogs across the continent. The majority of African countries will have novel climates over at least half of their current crop area by 2050. Of these countries, 75% will have novel climates with analogs in the current climate of at least five other countries, suggesting that international movement of germplasm will be necessary for adaptation. A more troubling set of countries – largely the hotter Sahelian countries – will have climates with few analogs for any crop. Finally, we identify countries, such as Sudan, Cameroon, and Nigeria, whose current crop areas are analogs to many future climates but that are poorly represented in major genebanks – promising locations in which to focus future genetic resource conservation efforts.
 
Article
The impacts of climate change on agriculture may add significantly to the development challenges of ensuring food security and reducing poverty. We show the possible impacts on maize production in Africa and Latin America to 2055, using high-resolution methods to generate characteristic daily weather data for driving a detailed simulation model of the maize crop. Although the results indicate an overall reduction of only 10% in maize production to 2055, equivalent to losses of $2 billion per year, the aggregate results hide enormous variability: areas can be identified where maize yields may change substantially. Climate change urgently needs to be assessed at the level of the household, so that poor and vulnerable people dependent on agriculture can be appropriately targeted in research and development activities whose object is poverty alleviation.
 
Article
The rich biodiversity of southern Africa has to date been relatively unimpacted by the activities of modern society, but to what degree will this situation persist into the 21st century? We use a leading global environmental assessment model (IMAGE) to explore future land use and climate change in southern Africa under the scenarios developed by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. We assess the impacts on terrestrial biodiversity using the Biodiversity Intactness Index, which gives the average change in population size relative to the pre-modern state, across all terrestrial species of plants and vertebrates. Over the coming century, we project absolute declines in the average population sizes of these taxa that are two to three times greater than the reductions that have occurred since circa 1700. Our results highlight the immense challenges faced by efforts to reduce rates of biodiversity loss in southern Africa, even under relatively optimistic scenarios. These results stress the urgent need for better aligning biodiversity conservation and development priorities in the region. Furthermore, we suggest that context-sensitive conservation targets that account for the development imperatives in different parts of the region are needed.
 
Article
The conditional probabilistic scenario analysis combines statistical methods of uncertainty analysis at parameter level with storylines which recognize the deep uncertainty that exists for several underlying trends. The model calculations indicate that cumulative 21st century emissions could range from 800 to 2500 GtC in the absence of climate policy. This range originates partly from the underlying storylines, and partly from the probabilistic analysis. Among the most important parameters contributing to the uncertainty range are uncertainty in income growth, population growth, parameters determining energy demand, oil resources and fuel preferences. The contribution of these factors is also scenario-dependent.
 
Projected warming for 2055 (A1FI—upper; B1—middle) after averaging the five AOGCM. There is a clear latitudinal warming pattern from arctic and boreal mountains to tropical mountains in both scenarios. Bottom map shows the difference between the two most divergent scenarios (A1FI and B1) showing also a longitudinal pattern in the exposure of global mountain systems to warming because of the emission scenario. 
list of AOGCM used by Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia to develop climate change scenarios used herein (0.51 of spatial resolution) to assess the future climate change in mountain environments
Article
We provide an assessment of surface temperature changes in mountainous areas of the world using a set of climate projections at a 0.5° resolution for two 30-year periods (2040–2069 and 2070–2099), using four Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) emission scenarios and five AOGCM. Projected average temperature changes varied between +3.2 °C (+0.4 °C/per decade) and +2.1 °C (+0.26 °C/per decade) for 2055 and +5.3 °C (+0.48 °C/per decade) and +2.8 °C for 2085 (+0.25 °C/per decade). The temperature is expected to rise by a greater amount in higher northern latitude mountains than in mountains located in temperate and tropical zones. The rate of warming in mountain systems is projected to be two to three times higher than that recorded during the 20th century. The tendency for a greater projected warming in northern latitude mountain systems is consistent across scenarios and is in agreement with observed trends. In light of these projections, warming is considered likely to affect biodiversity (e.g., species extinctions, changes in the composition of assemblages), water resources (e.g., a reduction in the extent of glaciated areas and snow pack), and natural hazards (e.g., floods). Accurate estimate of the effects of climate change in mountain systems is difficult because of uncertainties associated with the climate scenarios and the existence of non-linear feedbacks between impacts.
 
Article
This paper considers the implications of a range of global-mean sea-level rise and socio-economic scenarios on: (1) changes in flooding by storm surges; and (2) potential losses of coastal wetlands through the 21st century. These scenarios are derived from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES). Four different storylines are analysed: the A1FI, A2, B1 and B2 ‘worlds’. The climate scenarios are derived from the HadCM3 climate model driven by the SRES emission scenarios. The SRES scenarios for global-mean sea-level rise range from 22 cm (B1 world) to 34 cm (A1FI world) by the 2080s, relative to 1990. All other climate factors, including storm characteristics, are assumed to remain constant in the long term. Population and GDP scenarios are downscaled from the SRES regional analyses supplemented with other relevant scenarios for each impact analysis.
 
Article
Any discussion of the benefits of greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation measures should take into consideration the full range of possible climate change outcomes, including impacts that remain highly uncertain, like surprises and other climate irreversibilities. Real-world coupling between complex systems can cause them to exhibit new collective behaviours that are not clearly demonstrable by models that do not include such coupling. Through examples from ocean circulation and atmosphere–biosphere interactions, this paper demonstrates that external forcings such as increases in GHG concentrations can push complex systems from one equilibrium state to another, with non-linear abrupt change as a possible consequence. Furthermore, the harder and faster a system is perturbed, the higher the likelihood of such surprises—a conclusion that has significant bearing on the assessment of the potential benefits of the timing and stringency of GHG abatement measures. The paper concludes with a perspective on how to better incorporate uncertainty and surprise into integrated assessment models of climate change.
 
Article
The countries wishing to join the EU have a high potential for low cost greenhouse gas emission reduction. As they cannot join the "bubble" agreement for the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, project-based Joint Implementation (JI) could be a powerful strategy to integrate accession countries into an overall EU climate policy strategy. An important question in this context is whether the "acquis communautaire" will be used to define the baseline for the calculation of emission reductions from JI projects. A problem is that the grace periods for several environmental sectors, e.g. for application of the IPPC directive, differ considerably among countries. The EU should help accession countries to establish a predictable legal framework on which to base JI preventing in this way the current legal uncertainty regarding procedures of JI. Moreover, it should aim at an early implementation of the monitoring guideline and couple it with technical assistance. This would allow to build strong inventory systems in the accession countries and thus avoid the risk that JI is restricted to the second, strongly supervised track. In den Ländern, die der EU in den nächsten Jahren beitreten wollen, gibt es ein erhebliches Potenzial kostengünstiger Maßnahmen zur Treibhausgasverringerung. Da die Beitrittsländer der EU-Zielgemeinschaft für die 1. Verpflichtungsperiode des Kyoto- Protokolls nicht beitreten können, könnte projektbasierte Joint Implementation (JI) eine wichtige Strategie zur Integration dieser Länder in eine EU-weite Klimapolitikstrategie sein. Eine wichtige Frage ist in diesem Zusammenhang, ob der "Acquis Communautaire" die Referenzfälle für die Berechnung der Emissionsverringerung aus JI-Projekten bestimmt. Problematisch hierbei ist, dass sich die Übergangsperioden für verschiedene Sektoren, z.B. für die Anwendung der IVU-Richtlinie, zwischen den Ländern erheblich unterscheiden. Die
 
Article
The authors begin with the premise that it would be instructive to examine the record of different international environmental agreements in order to highlight general lessons of possible relevance to a greenhouse gas accord. They review three different international agreements (or sets of agreements) on the environment: the 1987 Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer and its 1990 amendment; a set of multilateral agreements to reduce acid rain in Europe; and the 1982 Law of the Sea Treaty. Their analysis sheds light on five factors that are important in achieving effective international agreement on environmental issues: the role of scientific and other knowledge in building consensus; the degree of flexibility provided in meeting obligations to the agreement; the role of incentives (both positive and negative) for widespread participation; the process of negotiation itself; and the role of public perception in influencing political action.
 
Article
Two integrated assessment models, one for climate change on a global scale (IMAGE 2) and another for the regional analysis of the impacts of acidifying deposition (RAINS), have been linked to assess the impacts of reducing sulphur emission on ecosystems in Asia and Europe. While such reductions have the beneficial effect of reducing the deposition of acidifying compounds and thus the exceedance of critical loads of ecosystems, they also reduce the global level of sulphate aerosols and thus enhance the impact of increased emissions of greenhouse gases, and consequently increase the risk of potential vegetation changes. The calculations indicate that about 70% of the ecosystems in Asia would be affected by either acid deposition or climate change in the year 2100 (up from 20% in 1990) for both sulphur emission scenarios (controlled and uncontrolled), whereas in Europe the impacted area would remain at a level of about 50%, with a dip early next century. More generally, the effects of reducing sulphur emissions and thus enhancing climate change would about balance for the Asian region, whereas for Europe the desirable impact of sulphur emission reductions would greatly outweigh its undesirable effects.
 
Article
This paper is concerned with environmental governance and policy formation in the area of climate change. Specifically, it examines a decision by the UK Government in 2003 to adopt a demanding, long-term CO2 emissions reduction target, following the advice of one of its longest standing environmental advisory bodies, the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution. It explores the origins of the Commission's recommendation and the reasons for its relatively rapid uptake in public policy. It argues that in both cases, a complex mix of structural and contingent, cognitive and non-cognitive factors can be identified, operating at different levels of governance. Finally, the paper reflects on what we might learn from this particular case about policy processes and the role of knowledge and expert advice within them.
 
Article
While climate change is obviously a global environmental problem, there is nevertheless potential for policy initiatives at the local level. Although the competences of local authorities vary between countries, they all have some responsibilities in the crucial areas of energy and transport policy. This paper examines local competences in Sweden and the UK and looks at the responses to the climate change issue by six local authorities, focussing on energy related developments. The points of departure are very different in the two countries. Swedish local authorities are much more independent than UK ones, especially through the ownership of local energy companies. Yet, UK local authorities are relatively active in the climate change domain, at least in terms of drawing up response strategies, which they see as an opportunity for reasserting their role, after a long period of erosion of their powers. Furthermore, there is more scope for action in the UK, as in Sweden many potential measures, especially in the energy efficiency field, have already been taken. However, in both countries climate change is only a relatively marginal area of local environmental policy making and the political will, as well as the financial resources, for more radical measures are often absent.
 
Article
The effectiveness of forest governance practices has consequences that range from the local to the global level. In general, the study of community forest governance relies heavily on case-study materials. The strength of single case and small-N comparative studies is related to the ability to uncover the nuances of time and place specific particularities. A recognized weakness of this approach relates to the fact that results cannot easily be extrapolated. For my analysis, I use a large-N, cross-national dataset instead. What constitutes an effective local forest governance regime? I show that especially monitoring – and to a lesser extent, maintenance – is correlated with improving forest conditions. When are effective governance regimes likely to emerge? I show that social capital, organization, leadership and autonomy contribute to the development of institutions for collective action. How does competition between forest users affect governance? I provide empirical evidence that two-level collective action dilemmas hinder the emergence of effective governance regimes.
 
Article
The reconciliation of national development plans with global priority to mitigate environmental change remains an intractable policy controversy. In Africa, its resolution requires integrating local knowledge into impact assessments without compromising the scientific integrity of the assessment process. This requires better understanding of the communication pathways involved in progressing from frame construction to political action on various environmental issues. The impacts of environmental factors on human health are a common concern in Africa, and it is examined here as a platform for negotiating controversies surrounding the arrogation of global support for local assessments of vulnerability and mitigation. The study focused on the particularities of projected impacts of climate change, and specifically on considerations of the health sector within the context of multivalent international agreements to conduct and use environmental assessments. The analysis addresses limitations of cross-scale communication nodes that are embedded in boundary institutions such as the Country Study Program which is hosted by industrialized nations. The translation of rhetoric into action frames through dynamic vulnerability assessments and critical frame reflection can equally engage indigenous and aided capacity for adapting to environmental change.
 
Article
Invasions by non-indigenous species are amongst the greatest threats to global biodiversity, causing substantial disruption to, and sometimes local extinction of, individual species and community assemblages which, in turn, can affect ecosystem structure and function. The terrestrial environment of Antarctica consists of many isolated ‘islands’ of ice-free ground. Prolonged isolation makes Antarctic biodiversity vulnerable to human-mediated impacts, in particular (1) the introduction of non-indigenous species from outside Antarctica, and (2) the redistribution of indigenous Antarctic species between biologically distinct areas within the continent. The Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty, the primary instrument through which environmental management is addressed within the Antarctic Treaty System, says little about unintentional introduction of non-indigenous species to Antarctica, and nothing specifically about human-mediated transfer of native species from one area to another. We review the effectiveness of the Antarctic protected area system, the primary means through which area-specific environmental protection is achieved under the Antarctic Treaty System. This reveals that the measures described in most Antarctic Specially Protected Area (ASPA) and Antarctic Specially Managed Area (ASMA) Management Plans, by themselves, may not be sufficient to (1) minimise the possibility of introduction of plants, animals and microbes not native to the protected area or (2) adequately protect the many unusual assemblages of species, type localities or only known habitats of certain species found in Antarctica. We discuss issues that should be considered in the development of a more effective system, including the implementation of appropriate biosecurity measures across different spatial scales and applied to different biological groups.
 
Article
Cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum L), an exotic annual, is a common, and often dominant, species in both the shadscale and sagebrush-steppe communities of the Great Basin Desert. Approximately 20% of the sagebrush-steppe vegetation zone is dominated by cheatgrass to the point where the establishment of native perennial species is nearly Impossible. This paper discusses the historical factors that led to the establishment and dissemination of cheatgrass in the Great Basin, examines the processes that further cheatgrass dominance, provides examples of subsequent influences of the grass to human activities, and links the ecological history with range condition models.Evidence suggests that cheatgrass was introduced accidentally to the Great Basin as a grain contaminant at the end of the 19th century at the same time that largescale domestic grazing was occurring. Imported from Mediterranean Europe and central and south-western Asia, seeds of cheatgrass exploited an ecological niche, as no native annual was dominant in the Great Basin. Cattle, sheep, and feral horses facilitated establishment, for they spread the seeds in the same areas that they disturbed. Once established, cheatgrass promoted the likelihood of fire to the detriment of the native species. in addition, other factors, such as the effects of the lack of vesicular arbuscular mycorrhizae and selective lagomorph grazing have worked in concert to further establish cheatgrass dominance.The ecological consequences of cheatgrass establishment have been an increase in fire frequency and intensity, a decrease in species diversity, and a landscape susceptible to severe erosion. Bunchgrasses interspersed with longlived perennial shrubs now are replaced with either nearly pure patches of cheatgrass or swaths of cheatgrass and shortlived perennial shrubs. Some consequences to human activities involve the numerous ramifications of rangeland fires with costs of approximately US$20 million annually, the undependability of cheatgrass as a source of forage for cattle and sheep, and the value of biotic diversity as numerous plant and animals species undergo high amplitude population fluctuations. Management of these Great Basin vegetation communities should be approached using the state and threshold range condition model.
 
Article
We tested two consequences of a currently influential theory based on the notion of seeing adaptations to climate change as local adjustments to deal with changing conditions within the constraints of the broader economic–social–political arrangements. The notion leaves no explicit role for the strength of personal beliefs in climate change and adaptive capacity. The consequences were: (i) adaptive action to climate change taken by an individual who is exposed to and sensitive to climate change is not influenced to a considerable degree by their strength of belief in climate change and (ii) adaptive action to climate change taken by an individual who is exposed to and sensitive to climate change is not influenced to a considerable degree by their strength of belief in an adaptive capacity. Data from a 2004 questionnaire of 1950 Swedish private individual forest owners, who were assumed exposed to and sensitive to climate change, were used. Strength of belief in climate change and adaptive capacities were found to be crucial factors for explaining observed differences in adaptation among Swedish forest owners.
 
Supplier groups and instruments to motivate supply.
Forms of privately provided public goods and motivations for supply.
Domains of adaptation.
Article
Adaptation to climate change is already being delivered by public and private actors, yet there has been little analysis of the relationships between the providers and beneficiaries of adaptation. This paper reviews the type of actors that are supplying adaptation services and their motivations. We then focus on a specific, under-explored case of adaptation: that of privately provided adaptation public goods and services, the realization of which is contingent on the individual management of private goods and private risks. Following the work of Olson (1965) we find that the benefits of the privately provided adaptation public good do not necessarily accrue back to the (same) individuals who are the providers. The characteristics of this particular form of public good pose specific institutional challenges. In this paper we: 1) explore the characteristics and defining features of these privately provided adaptation public goods; 2) argue that this form of adaptation provisioning is increasingly recognised as a feature in climate change adaptation (and/or social transformation) problems; 3) review existing cases of effective/ineffective management of these public goods; and 4) outline the institutions that may be required to facilitate the management of these public goods for adaptation.Graphical abstract.Highlights► We explore privately provided adaptation public goods. ► These goods are intangible and abstract with asymmetric distribution of costs and benefits. ► These goods are increasingly a feature of climate change adaptation/social transformation problems. ► Deliberate suppliers of these goods are either altruists or those seeking (in)direct compensation. ► Many institutional mechanisms are needed to deliver adequate supply of these goods.
 
Article
Recent developments in both the policy arena and the climate impacts research community point to a growing interest in human adaptation to climatic variability and change. The Importance of adaptation in the climate change question is affirmed in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Technical Guidelines for Assessing Impacts and Adaptations and the IPCC's more recent Second Assessment Report. Yet, the nature and processes of human adaptation to climate are poorly understood and rarely investigated directly. Most often, human responses of one form or another are simply assumed in impacts research. Analyses that do address adaptation use a variety of interpretations and perspectives resulting in an Incomplete, and at times inconsistent, understanding of human adaptation to environmental variations. This paper reviews and synthesizes perspectives from an eclectic body of scholarship to develop a framework for characterizing and understanding human adaptation to climatic variability and change. The framework recognizes the characteristics of climatic events, the ecological properties of systems which mediate effects, and the distinctions which are possible among different types of adaptation. A classification scheme is proposed for differentiating adaptation strategies.
 
Article
Despite growing global attention to the development of strategies and policy for climate change adaptation, there has been little allowance for input from Indigenous people. In this study we aimed to improve understanding of factors important in integration of Yolngu perspectives in planning adaptation policy in North East Arnhem Land (Australia). We conducted workshops and in-depth interviews in two ‘communities’ to develop insight into Yolngu peoples’ observations and perspectives on climate change, and their ideas and preferences for adaptation. All participants reported observing changes in their ecological landscape, which they attributed to mining, tourism ‘development’, and climate change. ‘Strange changes’ noticed particularly in the last five years, had caused concern and anxiety among many participants. Despite their concern about ecological changes, participants were primarily worried about other issues affecting their community's general welfare. The results suggest that strategies and policies are needed to strengthen adaptive capacity of communities to mitigate over-arching poverty and well-being issues, as well as respond to changes in climate. Participants believed that major constraints to strengthening adaptive capacity had external origins, at regional, state and federal levels. Examples are poor communication and engagement, top-down institutional processes that allow little Indigenous voice, and lack of recognition of Indigenous culture and practices. Participants’ preferences for strategies to strengthen community adaptive capacity tended to be those that lead towards greater self-sufficiency, independence, empowerment, resilience and close contact with the natural environment. Based on the results, we developed a simple model to highlight main determinants of community vulnerability. A second model highlights components important in facilitating discourse on enhancing community capacity to adapt to climatic and other stressors.
 
Article
It has been claimed that high social capital contributes to both positive public health outcomes and to climate change adaptation. Strong social networks have been said to support individuals and collective initiatives of adaptation and enhance resilience. As a result, there is an expectation that social capital could reduce vulnerability to risks from the impacts of climate change in the health sector. This paper examines evidence on the role social networks play in individuals’ responses to heat wave risk in a case study in the UK. Based on interviews with independently living elderly people and their primary social contacts in London and Norwich, we suggest that strong bonding networks could potentially exacerbate rather than reduce the vulnerability of elderly people to the effects of heat waves. Most respondents interviewed did not feel that heat waves posed a significant risk to them personally, and most said that they would be able to cope with hot weather. Bonding networks could perpetuate rather than challenge these narratives and therefore contribute to vulnerability rather than ameliorating it. These results suggest a complex rather than uniformly positive relationship between social capital, health and adaptation to climate change.
 
Article
Issues of equity and justice are high on international agendas dealing with the impacts of global climate change. But what are the implications of climate change for equity and justice amongst vulnerable groups at local and sub-national levels? We ask this question for three reasons: (a) there is a considerable literature suggesting that the poorest and most vulnerable groups will disproportionately experience the negative effects of 21st century climate change; (b) such changes are likely to impact significantly on developing world countries, where natural-resource dependency is high; and (c) international conventions increasingly recognise the need to centrally engage resource stakeholders in agendas in order to achieve their desired aims, as part of more holistic approaches to sustainable development. These issues however have implications for distributive and procedural justice, particularly when considered within the efforts of the UNFCCC.The issues are examined through an evaluation of key criteria relating to climate change scenarios and vulnerability in the developing world, and second through two southern African case studies that explore the ways in which livelihoods are differentially impacted by (i) inequitable natural-resource use policies, (ii) community-based natural-resource management programmes. Finally, we consider the placement of climate change amongst the package of factors affecting equity in natural-resource use, and whether this placement creates a case for considering climate change as ‘special’ amongst livelihood disturbing factors in the developing world.
 
Article
Climate scenarios have been widely used in impact, vulnerability and adaptation assessments of climate change. However, few studies have actually looked at the role played by climate scenarios in adaptation planning. This paper examines how climate scenarios fit in three broad adaptation frameworks: the IPCC approach, risk approaches, and human development approaches. The use (or not) of climate scenarios in three real projects, corresponding to each adaptation approach, is investigated. It is shown that the role played by climate scenarios is dependant on the adaptation assessment approach, availability of technical and financial capacity to handle scenario information, and the type of adaptation being considered.
 
Article
In the managerial discourse of climate change, there are high expectations of nation-state leadership in promoting adaptation. Yet globalization has introduced new challenges for the state not only in terms of managing rapid economic and cultural integration, but also with respect to governance and decision-making, the use of science and information in policy, and the types of problems governments are called upon to address. Through concrete examples of the process of policy-making in Latin American countries, we illustrate not only the continued relevance of the state, but also the complex challenges posed by globalization to state-led adaptation.
 
Article
The burgeoning interest in social capital within the climate change community represents a welcome move towards a concern for the behavioural elements of adaptive action and capacity. In this paper the case is put forward for a critical engagement with social capital. There is need for an open debate on the conceptual and analytical traps and opportunities that social capital presents. The paper contrasts three schools of thought on social capital and uses a social capital lens to map out current and future areas for research on adaptation to climate change. It identifies opportunities for using social capital to research adaptive capacity and action within communities of place and communities of practice.
 
Article
This paper shows the extent to which people in Funafuti – the main island of Tuvalu – are intending to migrate in response to climate change. It presents evidence collected from Funafuti to challenge the widely held assumption that climate change is, will, or should result in large-scale migration from Tuvalu. It shows that for most people climate change is not a reason for concern, let alone a reason to migrate, and that would-be migrants do not cite climate change as a reason to leave. People in Funafuti wish to remain living in Funafuti for reasons of lifestyle, culture and identity. Concerns about the impacts of climate change are not currently a significant driver of migration from Funafuti, and do not appear to be a significant influence on those who intend to migrate in the future.
 
Article
Floods, windstorms, drought and wildfires have major implications for human health. To date, conceptual advances in analysis of vulnerability and adaptation to climatic hazards from the environmental and social sciences have not been widely applied in terms of health, though key progress is being made particularly in relation to climate change. This paper seeks to take this conceptual grounding further, examining how key themes relate to health concerns, exploring connections with existing health literatures, and developing an organising framework to aid analysis of how vulnerability to health impacts varies within society and how actors make decisions and take action in relation to climatic hazards and health. Social science research on this theme is challenging in part because of the complex mechanisms that link hazard events to health outcomes, and the many-layered factors that shape differential vulnerability and response within changing societal and environmental contexts (including the dual effect of hazards on human health and health systems, and the combination of ‘external’, ‘personal’ and ‘internal’ elements of vulnerability). Tracing a ‘health impact pathway’ from hazard event through health risk effects to health outcomes can provide a research tool with which to map out where the different factors that contribute to vulnerability/coping capacity come into effect.
 
Article
Global climate change induced by the emission of greenhouse gases may pose challenges to energy security. The vulnerability of energy sources, in particular of renewable sources, to climate change raises the need to identify adaptation measures. This paper applies an integrated resource planning approach to calculate least-cost adaptation measures to a set of projected climate impacts on the Brazilian power sector. The methodology used has the advantage of finding optimal solutions that take into consideration the whole energy chain and the interactions between energy supply and demand. Results point in the direction of an increased installed capacity based, mostly, on natural gas, but also sugarcane bagasse, wind power and coal/nuclear plants, to compensate for a lower reliability of hydroelectric production, amongst other impacts. The indirect effect of these results is the displacement of natural gas from other consuming sectors, such as industry, in favor of its use for power generation. Results obtained are, however, based on the techno-economic premises used in the simulation, which may vary in the long term.
 
Article
This paper presents a participatory approach to investigate vulnerability and adaptive capacity to climate variability and water stress in the Lakhwar watershed in Uttarakhand State, India. Highly water stressed microwatersheds were identified by modelling surface runoff, soil moisture development, lateral runoff, and groundwater recharge. The modelling results were shared with communities in two villages, and timeline exercises were carried out to allow them to trace past developments that have impacted their lives and livelihoods, and stimulate discussion about future changes and possible adaptation interventions.
 
Article
This paper presents the results of a bibliometric analysis of the knowledge domains resilience, vulnerability and adaptation within the research activities on human dimensions of global environmental change. We analyzed how 2286 publications between 1967 and 2005 are related in terms of co-authorship relations, and citation relations.The number of publications in the three knowledge domains increased rapidly between 1995 and 2005. However, the resilience knowledge domain is only weakly connected with the other two domains in terms of co-authorships and citations. The resilience knowledge domain has a background in ecology and mathematics with a focus on theoretical models, while the vulnerability and adaptation knowledge domains have a background in geography and natural hazards research with a focus on case studies and climate change research. There is an increasing number of cross citations and papers classified in multiple knowledge domains. This seems to indicate an increasing integration of the different knowledge domains.
 
Article
Adaptive diversity of Papua New Guinea peoples, represented by population densities varying from less than 1 person to more than 100 persons/km2, is mostly attributable to their agricultural systems in accordance with the natural and sociocultural environment. Comparison of long-term adaptation among several populations selected for highland/lowland status and degree of modernization is expected to clarify the causal relationships and to predict future potential. This article discusses relationships between productivity and sustainability of agriculture and population dynamics in the agrodiversified environment in Papua New Guinea.
 
Agriculture: Indicators of exposure. Source: O'Brien et al., 2003
Article
The article focuses on the use of climate change vulnerability assessments in a local decision-making context, with particular reference to recent studies in Norway. We focus on two aspects of vulnerability assessments that we see as key to local decision-making: first, the information generated through the assessments themselves, and second, the institutional linkages to local level decision-making processes. Different research approaches generate different types of data. This is rarely made explicit, yet it has important implications for decision-making. In addressing these challenges we propose a dialectic approach based on exchange, rather than integration of data from different approaches. The focus is on process over product, and on the need for anchoring vulnerability assessments in local decision-making processes. In conclusion, we argue that there is unlikely to be one single ‘correct’ assessment tool or indicator model to make vulnerability assessments matter at a local level.
 
Decision contexts for fostering resilience in the hospital sector.
Article
Resilience of complex systems has emerged as a fundamental concern for system managers, users, and researchers. This paper addresses resilience within infrastructure systems, after an extreme event such as an earthquake. It develops a conceptual framework for understanding the factors that influence the resilience of infrastructure systems in terms of two dimensions: robustness (the extent of system function that is maintained) and rapidity (the time required to return to full system operations and productivity). The paper also characterizes a framework through the use of flow diagrams for understanding kinds of decisions that can be pursued within infrastructure systems to foster these two dimensions of system resilience. It uses the results of several data-gathering efforts, including preparation of a database on infrastructure interactions, interviews with hospital emergency managers, and interviews with other kinds of infrastructure system operators. The paper then applies this framework to the example of planning for system resilience within individual hospitals in the context of earthquake mitigation efforts. The results indicate that common decision contexts (both ex-ante and ex-post) arise across many different infrastructure contexts when considering ways to make infrastructure systems more resilient. The detailed discussion of hospitals points to the importance of learning from experience in previous disasters, of managing the availability of the facility's staff in a disaster, of daily communication among the staff to ensure high utilization of the available hospital capacity, and of flexibility in ways of addressing specific system failures such as water. The results also point to several ways in which the flow diagrams can be used for ongoing planning and implementation to enhance infrastructure system resilience.
 
Article
Climate change poses significant challenges for the Canadian water sector. This paper discusses issues relating to the selection of proactive, planned adaptation measures for the near term (next decade). A set of selection criteria is offered, and these are used in three cases to illustrate how stakeholders can identify measures appropriate for the near term. Cases include municipal water supply in the Grand River basin, Ontario; irrigation in southern Alberta; and commercial navigation on the Great Lakes. In all three cases, it is possible to identify adaptations to climate change that also represent appropriate responses to existing conditions; these should be pursued first.
 
Overview on responses to the accommodation survey
Average energy use and CO 2 emissions for different types of accommodation
CO 2 emissions for tourist accommodation by geographical location
Article
Tourism in island states is vulnerable to climate change because it may result in detrimental changes in relation to extreme events, sea level rise, transport and communication interruption. This study analyses adaptation to climate change by tourist resorts in Fiji, as well as their potential to reduce climate change through reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. Interviews, site visitations, and an accommodation survey were undertaken. Many operators already prepare for climate-related events and therefore adapt to potential impacts resulting from climate change. Reducing emissions is not important to operators; however, decreasing energy costs for economic reasons is practised. Recommendations for further initiatives are made and synergies between the adaptation and mitigation approaches are explored.
 
Article
Vulnerability, adaptation and resilience are concepts that are finding increasing currency in several fields of research as well as in various policy and practitioner communities engaged in global environmental change science, climate change, sustainability science, disaster risk-reduction and famine interventions. As scientists and practitioners increasingly work together in this arena a number of questions are emerging: What is credible, salient and legitimate knowledge, how is this knowledge generated and how is it used in decision making? Drawing on important science in this field, and including a case study from southern Africa, we suggest an alternative mode of interaction to the usual one-way interaction between science and practice often used. In this alternative approach, different experts, risk-bearers, and local communities are involved and knowledge and practice is contested, co-produced and reflected upon. Despite some successes in the use and negotiation of such knowledge for ‘real’ world issues, a number of problems persist that require further investigation including the difficulties of developing consensus on the methodologies used by a range of stakeholders usually across a wide region (as the case study of southern Africa shows, particularly in determining and identifying vulnerable groups, sectors, and systems); slow delivery of products that could enhance resilience to change that reflects not only a lack of data, and need for scientific credibility, but also the time-consuming process of coming to a negotiated understanding in science–practice interactions and, finally, the need to clarify the role of ‘external’ agencies, stakeholders, and scientists at the outset of the dialogue process and subsequent interactions. Such factors, we argue, all hinder the use of vulnerability and resilience ‘knowledge’ that is being generated and will require much more detailed investigation by both producers and users of such knowledge.
 
Preventing poverty spirals: the role of incomes, assets and policy.
Characteristics of environmental process and event migration.
Article
This article explores the possibilities of using social protection to manage and reduce the risks of forced displacement resulting from climate change. It reviews the relevant literature on migration, disasters and climate change, and constructs a model through which international policies may be used to encourage resettlement options that support the capabilities and entitlements of poor and vulnerable populations. By distinguishing between rapid-onset disasters and long-term environmental change, it explores the ways in which cash transfers, asset transfers and conditional cash transfers may be used to break the cycle of vulnerability, destitution and distress migration that can occur during times of severe environmental stress. An important distinction is made between “economic migration,” which implies that households have at their disposal an opportunity to engage in forward-looking analysis about the ways in which they will invest household resources and “distress migration,” which implies that household decisions about investment and migration are largely ad hoc responses to external environmental processes and events. The article reviews recent discussions about the prospects of revising the international refugee regime, and identifies the opportunities and challenges of using social protection to support household decisions that can facilitate economic migration over the long-term.
 
Top-cited authors
Carl Folke
  • Kungliga Vetenskapsakademien
W. Neil Adger
  • University of Exeter
Nigel Arnell
  • University of Reading
Günther Fischer
  • International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis
Arild Angelsen
  • Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)