Tag Archives: ClimateChange

IT IS FINE!?, ‘I don’t believe it’, EARTH DEMANDS YOU ACT! NOW! STOP THIS LUNATIC.

Donald Trump has told reporters he doesn’t believe his own government’s climate change findings that the US economy will suffer substantially with continued warming from greenhouse gas pollution.

“I’ve seen it, I’ve read some of it, and it’s fine,” he said outside the White House on Monday. “I don’t believe it.”

The Guardian

WE MUST ACT NOW! If We’d Been Lucky – Chris Trotter * IPCC Special Report 2018. Global Warming of 1.5°C, The Impact.

The Big IFs: We are so unlucky that it has come to this. Especially when, had things worked out just a little differently we might have had a chance. If Florida’s voters had swung decisively behind Al Gore in the 2000 US Presidential Election. If the Baby Boom Generation hadn’t abandoned their idealism for cycling holidays in France and a renovated kitchen. If the Millennials possessed an attention span just a little bit longer than a goldfish’s. If the Internet hadn’t allowed us all to become so stupid.

NOBODY WANTS TO KNOW. That 150 academics have put their name to a letter urging the government to do something – anything – about climate change: nobody wants to know. The letter itself is a response to the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). That report gives the world just 12 years to fundamentally refashion industrial civilisation or face runaway global warming. But, nobody wants to know.

Al Gore would almost certainly have got Bin Laden before he got America. (The Democrats recognised Osama as a threat, the Republicans were more focussed on Iraq and Iran.) So, no 9/11. No War on Terror. No invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. A less crazed world. A real chance that the big global players: the USA, the UK, the EU, China, Japan and the Russian Federation might have trusted each other enough to come together around the science and take climate change seriously.

What would that have looked like?

. . . Bowalley Road

WE MUST ACT NOW! IPCC Special Report 2018. Global Warming of 1.5°C, The Impact.

WE MUST ACT NOW! IPCC Special Report 2018. Global Warming of 1.5°C, The Impact.

Current nationally stated mitigation ambitions until 2030 will result in a global warming of about 3°C by 2100, with warming continuing afterwards.

Limiting global warming to 1.5°C requires rapid and far reaching transitions in energy, land, urban and infrastructure, including transport and buildings, and industrial systems.

Social justice and equity are core aspects of climate-resilient development pathways that aim to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

An IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty.

Introduction

This Report responds to the invitation for IPCC to provide a Special Report in 2018 on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways contained in the Decision of the 21st Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to adopt the Paris Agreement.

The IPCC accepted the invitation in April 2016, deciding to prepare this Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty.

This Summary for Policymakers (SPM) presents the key findings of the Special Report, based on the assessment of the available scientific, technical and socio-economic literature relevant to global warming of 1.5°C and for the comparison between global warming of 1.5°C and 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

Core Concepts Central to this Special Report

Global mean surface temperature (GMST): Estimated global average of near-surface air temperatures over land and sea ice, and sea surface temperatures over ice-free ocean regions, wrth changes normally expressed as departures from a value over a specified reference period. When estimating changes in GMST, near-surtace air temperature over both land and oceans are also used.

Pre industrial: The multi century period prior to the onset of large scale industrial activity around 1850. The reference period 1850-1900 is used to approximate pre-industrial GMST.

Global warming: The estimated increase in GMST averaged over a 30-year period, or the 30-year period centred on a particuiar year or decade, expressed relative to pre-industrial levels unless otherwise specified. For 30-year periods that span past and future years, the current multi-decadal warming trend is assumed to continue.

Net zero C02 emissions: Net zero carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are achieved when anthropogenic C02 emissions are balanced globally by anthropogenic C02 removals over a specified period.

Carbon dioxide removal (CDR): Anthropogenic activities removing CO2 from the atmosphere and durably storing it in geological, terrestrial, or ocean reservoirs, or in products. It includes existing and potential anthropogenic enhancement of biological or geochemical sinks and direct air capture and storage, but excludes natural C02 uptake not directly caused by human activities.

Total carbon budget: Estimated cumulative net global anthropogenic C02 emissions from the pre-industrial period to the time that anthropogenic C02 emissions reach net zero that would result, at some probability, in limiting global warming to a given level, accounting for the impact of other anthropogenic emissions.

Remaining carbon budget: Estimated cumulative net global anthropogenic CO2 emissions from a given start date to the time that anthropogenic C02 emissions reach net zero that would result, at some probability, in limiting global warming to a given level, accounting for the impact of other anthropogenic emissions.

Temperature overshoot: The temporary exceedance of a specified level of global warming.

Emission pathways: In this Summary for Policymakers, the modelled trajectories of global anthropogenic emissions over the 21st century are termed emission pathways. Emission pathways are classified by their temperature trajectory over the last century: pathways giving at least 50% probability based on current knowledge of limiting global warming to below 1.5°C are classified as ‘no overshoot’; those limiting warming to below 1.6°C and returning to 1.5°C by 2100 are classified as ‘1.5°C limited overshoot’; while those exceeding 1.6°C but still returning to 1.5°C by 2100 are classified as ‘higher overshoot’.

Impacts: Effects of climate change on human and natural systems. Impacts can have beneficial or adverse outcomes for livelihoods, health and well-being, ecosystems and species, services, infrastructure, and economic, social and cultural assets.

Risk: The potential for adverse consequences from a climate related hazard for human and natural systems, resulting from the interactions between the hazard and the vulnerability and exposure of the affected system. Risk integrates the likelihood of exposure to a hazard and the magnitude of its impact. Risk also can describe the potential for adverse consequences of adaptation or mitigation responses to climate change.

Climate-resilient development pathways (CRDPs): Trajectories that strengthen sustainable development at multiple scales and efforts to eradicate poverty through equitable societal and systems transitions and transformations while reducing the threat of climate change through ambltious mitigation, adaptation and climate resilience.

Understanding Global Warming of 1.5°C

Human activities are estimated to have caused approximately 1.0°C of global warming above pre industrial levels, with a likely range of 0.8°C to 1.2°C. Global warming is likely to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052 if it continues to increase at the current rate.

Reflecting the long term warming trend since pre industrial times, observed global mean surface temperature (GMST) for the decade 2006-2015 was 0.87°C (likely between 075°C and 099°C) higher than the average over the 1850-1900 period. Estimated anthropogenic global warming matches the level of observed warming to within 120% (likely range). Estimated anthropogenic global warming is currently increasing at 0.2°C (likely between 0.1°C and 0.3°C) per decade due to past and ongoing emissions.

Radiative forcing or climate forcing is the difference between insolation (sunlight) absorbed by the Earth and energy radiated back to space. The influences that cause changes to the Earth’s climate system altering Earth’s radiative equilibrium, forcing temperatures to rise or fall, are called climate forcings. Positive radiative forcing means Earth receives more incoming energy from sunlight than it radiates to space. This net gain of energy will cause warming. Conversely, negative radiative forcing means that Earth loses more energy to space than it receives from the sun, which produces cooling.

Warming greater than the global annual average is being experienced in many land regions and seasons, including two to three times higher in the Arctic. Warming is generally higher over land than over the ocean.

Trends in intensity and frequency of some climate and weather extremes have been detected over time spans during which about 0.5°C of global warming occurred.

This assessment is based on several lines of evidence, including attribution studies for changes in extremes since 1950.

Warming from anthropogenic emissions from the pre industrial period to the present will persist for centuries to millennia and will continue to cause further long term changes in the climate system, such as sea level rise, with associated impacts, but these emissions alone are unlikely to cause global warming of 1.5°C.

Anthropogenic emissions (including greenhouse gases, aerosols and their precursors) up to the present are unlikely to cause further warming of more than 0.5°C over the next two to three decades or on a century time scale.

Reaching and sustaining net zero global anthropogenic C02 emissions and declining net non-CO2 radiative forcing would halt anthropogenic global warming on multi-decadal time scales. The maximum temperature reached is then determined by cumulative net global anthropogenic CO2 emissions up to the time of net zero CO2 emissions and the level of non-CO2 radiative forcing in the decades prior to the time that maximum temperatures are reached. 0n longer time scales, sustained net negative global anthropogenic C02 emissions and/or further reductions in non-CO2 radiative forcing may still be required to prevent further warming due to Earth system feedbacks and to reverse ocean acidification and will be required to minimize sea level rise.

Climate-related risks for natural and human systems are higher for global warming of 1.5°C than at present, but lower than at 2°C. These risks depend on the magnitude and rate of warming, geographic location, levels of development and vulnerability, and on the choices and implementation of adaptation and mitigation options.

Impacts on natural and human systems from global warming have already been observed. Many land and ocean ecosystems and some of the services they provide have already changed due to global warming.

Future climate-related risks depend on the rate, peak and duration of warming. In the aggregate, they are larger if global warming exceeds 1.5°C before returning to that level by 2100 than if global warming gradually stabilizes at 1.5°C, especially if the peak temperature is high (e.g., about 2°C). Some impacts may be long-lasting or ireversible, such as the loss of some ecosystems.

Adaptation and mitigation are already occurring. Future climate-related risks would be reduced by the upscaling and acceleration of far reaching, multilevel and cross-sectoral climate mitigation and by both incremental and transformational adaptation.

Figure SPM.1 Panel a: Observed monthly global mean surface temperature (GMST, grey line up to 2017, from the HadCRUTA, GISTEMP, Cowtan-Way, and NCAA datasets) change and estimated anthropogenic global warming (Solid orange line up to 2017, with orange shading indicating assessed likely range). Orange dashed arrow and horizontal orange error bar show respectively the central estimate and likely range of the time at which 1.5°C is reached if the current rate of warming continues. The grey plume on the right of panel a shows the likely range of warming responses, computed with a simple climate model, to a stylized pathway (hypothetical future) in which net C02 emissions (grey lines in panels b and c) decline in a straight line from 2020 to reach net zero in 2055 and net non-C02 radiative forcing (grey line in panel d) increases to 2030 and then declining. The blue plume in panel a) shows the response to faster CO2 emissiins reductions (blue line in panel b), reaching net zero in 2040, reducmg cumulative C02 emissions (panel c). The purple plume shows the response to net CO2 emissions declining to zero in 2055, with net non-CO2 forcing remaining constant after 2030. The vertical error bars on right of panel a) show the likely ranges (thin lines) and central terciles (33rd – 66th percentiles, thick lines) of the estimated distribution of warming in 2100 under these three stylzed pathways. Vertical dotted error bars in panels b, c and d show the likely range of historical annual and cumulative global net CO2 emissions In 2017 (data from the Global Carbon Preject) and of net non-CO2 radiative forcing in 2011 from AR5, respectlvely. Vertical axes in panels c and d are scaled to represent approximately equal effects on GMST.

Projected Climate Change, Potential Impacts and Associated Risks

Climate models project robust differences in regional climate characteristics between present day and global warming of 1.5°C, and between 1.5°C and 2°C. These differences include increases in: mean temperature in most land and ocean regions, hot extremes in most inhabited regions, heavy precipitation in several regions, and the probability of drought and precipitation deficits in some regions.

Evidence from attributed changes in some climate and weather extremes for a global warming of about 0.5°C supports the assessment that an additional 0.5°C of warming compared to present is associated with further detectable changes in these extremes. Several regional changes in climate are assessed to occur with global warming up to 1.5°C compared to pre industrial levels, including warming of extreme temperatures in many regions, increases in frequency, intensity, and/or amount of heavy precipitation in several regions, and an increase in intensity or frequency of droughts in some regions.

Temperature extremes on land are projected to warm more than GMST: extreme hot days in mid latitudes warm by up to about 3°C at global warming of 1.5°C and about 4°C at 2°C, and extreme cold nights in high latitudes warm by up to about 4.5°C at 1.5°C and about 6°C at 2°C. The number of hot days is projected to increase in most land regions, with highest increases in the tropics.

Risks from droughts and precipitation deficits are projected to be higher at 2°C compared to 1.5°C of global warming in some regions. Risks from heavy precipitation events are projected to be higher at 2°C compared to 1.5°C of global warming in several northern hemisphere, high latitude and/or high-elevation regions, eastern Asia and eastern North America. Heavy precipitation associated with tropical cyclones is projected to be higher at 2°C compared to 1.5°C global warming. There is generally low confidence in projected changes in heavy precipitation at 2°C compared to 1.5°C in other regions. Heavy precipitation when aggregated at global scale is projected to be higher at 2°C than at 1.5°C of global warming. As a consequence of heavy precipitation, the fraction of the global land area affected by flood hazards is projected to be larger at 2°C compared to 1.5°C of global warming.

By 2100, global mean sea level rise is projected to be around 0.1 metre lower with global warming of 1.5°C compared to 2°C. Sea level will continue to rise well beyond 2100, and the magnitude and rate of this rise depend on future emission pathways. A slower rate of sea level rise enables greater opportunities for adaptation in the human and ecological systems of small islands, low lying coastal areas and deltas.

Model based projections of global mean sea level rise (relative to 1986-2005) suggest an indicative range of 0.26 to 0.77m by 2100 for 1.5°C of global warming, 0.1m (0.04-0.16m) less than for a global warming of 2°C. A reduction of 0.1m in global sea level rise implies that up to 10 million fewer people would be exposed to related risks, based on population in the year 2010 and assuming no adaptation.

Sea level rise will continue beyond 2100 even if global warming is limited to 1.5°C in the 21st century. Marine ice sheet instability in Antarctica and/or irreversible loss of the Greenland ice sheet could result in multi metre rise in sea level over hundreds to thousands of years. These instabilities could be triggered at around 1.5°C to 2°C of global warming.

Increasing warming amplifies the exposure of small islands, low-lying coastal areas and deltas to the risks associated with sea level rise for many human and ecological systems, including increased saltwater intrusion, flooding and damage to infrastructure. Risks associated with sea level rise are higher at 2°C compared to 1.5°C. The slower rate of sea level rise at global warming of 1.5°C reduces these risks, enabling greater opportunities for adaptation including managing and restoring natural coastal ecosystems and infrastructure reinforcement.

On land, impacts on biodiversity and ecosystems, including species loss and extinction, are projected to be lower at 1.5°C of global warming compared to 2°C. Limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared to 2°C is projected to lower the impacts on terrestrial, freshwater and coastal ecosystems and to retain more of their services to humans.

Of 105,000 species studied, 6% of insects, 8% of plants and 4% of vertebrates are projected to lose over half of their climatically determined geographic range for global warming of 1.5°C, compared with 18% of insects, 16% of plants and 8% of vertebrates for global warming of 2°C. Impacts associated with other biodiversity related risks such as forest fires and the spread of invasive species are lower at 1.5°C compared to 2°C of global warming.

Approximately 4% (interquartile range 2-7%) of the global terrestrial land area is projected to undergo a transformation of ecosystems from one type to another at 1°C of global warming, compared with 13% (interquartile range 8-20%) at 2°C. This indicates that the area at risk is projected to be approximately 50% lower at 1.5°C compared to 2°C.

High latitude tundra and boreal forests are particularly at risk of climate change-induced degradation and loss, with woody shrubs already encroaching into the tundra and this will proceed with further warming. Limiting global warming to 1.5°C rather than 2°C is projected to prevent the thawing over centuries of a permafrost area in the range of 1.5 to 2.5 million km2.

Limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared to 2°C is projected to reduce increases in ocean temperature as well as associated increases in ocean acidity and decreases in ocean oxygen levels. Consequently, limiting global warming to 1.5°C is projected to reduce risks to marine biodiversity, fisheries, and ecosystems, and their functions and services to humans, as illustrated by recent changes to Arctic sea ice and warm water coral reef ecosystems.

There is high confidence that the probability of a sea ice-free Arctic Ocean during summer is substantially lower at global warming of 1.5°C when compared to 2°C. With 1.5°C of global warming, one sea ice free Arctic summer is projected per century. This likelihood is increased to at least one per decade with 2°C global warming. Effects of a temperature overshoot are reversible for Arctic sea ice cover on decadal time scales.

Global warming of 1.5°C is projected to shift the ranges of many marine species to higher latitudes as well as increase the amount of damage to many ecosystems. It is also expected to drive the loss of coastal resources and reduce the productivity of fisheries and aquaculture (especially at low latitudes). The risks of climate induced impacts are projected to be higher at 2°C than those at global warming of 1.5°C. Coral reefs, for example, are projected to decline by a further 70-90% at 1.5°C with larger losses (>99%) at 2°C. The risk of irreversible loss of many marine and coastal ecosystems increases with global warming, especially at 2°C or more.

The level of ocean acidification due to increasing CO2 concentrations associated with global warming of 1.5°C is projected to amplify the adverse effects of warming, and even further at 2°C, impacting the growth, development, calcification, survival, and thus abundance of a broad range of species, for example, from algae to fish.

Impacts of climate change in the ocean are increasing risks to fisheries and aquaculture via impacts on the physiology, survivorship, habitat, reproduction, disease incidence, and risk of invasive species, but are projected to be less at 1.5°C of global warming than at 2°C. One global fishery model, for example, projected a decrease in global annual catch for marine fisheries of about 1.5 million tonnes for 1.5°C of global warming compared to a loss of more than 3 million tonnes for 2°C of global warming.

Climate-related risks to health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security, and economic growth are projected to increase with global warming of 1.5°C and increase further with 2°C.

Populations at disproportionately higher risk of adverse consequences with global warming of 1.5°C and beyond include disadvantaged and vulnerable populations, some indigenous peoples, and local communities dependent on agricultural or coastal livelihoods. Regions at disproportionately higher risk indude Arctic ecosystems, dryland regions, small island developing states, and Least Developed Countries. Poverty and disadvantage are expected to increase in some populations as global warming increases; limiting global warming to 1.5°C, compared with 2°C, could reduce the number of people both exposed to climate related risks and susceptible to poverty by up to several hundred million by 2050.

Any increase in global warming is projected to affect human health, with primarily negative consequences. Lower risks are projected at 1.5°C than at 2°C for heat related morbidity and mortality and for ozone related mortality if emissions needed for ozone formation remain high. Urban heat islands often amplify the impacts of heatwaves in cities. Risks from some vector-borne diseases, such as malaria and dengue fever, are projected to increase with warming from 1.5°C to 2°C, including potential shifts in their geographic range.

Limiting warming to 1.5°C compared with 2°C is projected to result in smaller net reductions in yields of maize, rice, wheat, and potentially other cereal crops, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, and Central and South America, and in the CO2-dependent nutritional quality of rice and wheat. Reductions in projected food availability are larger at 2°C than at 1.5°C of global warming in the Sahel, southern Africa, the Mediterranean, central Europe, and the Amazon. Livestock are projected to be adversely affected with rising temperatures, depending on the extent of changes in feed quality, spread of diseases, and water resource availability.

Depending on future socio-economic conditions, limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared to 2°C may reduce the proportion of the world population exposed to a climate change-induced increase in water stress by up to 50%, although there is considerable variability between regions. Many small island developing states could experience lower water stress as a result of projected changes in aridity when global warming is limited to 1.5°C, as compared to 2°C.

Risks to global aggregated economic growth due to climate change impacts are projected to be lower at 1.5°C than at 2°C by the end of this century. This excludes the costs of mitigation, adaptation investments and the benefits of adaptation. Countries in the tropics and Southern Hemisphere subtropics are projected to experience the largest impacts on economic growth due to ciimate change should global warming increase fiom 1.5°C to 2°C.

Exposure to multiple and compound climate-related risks increases between 1.5°C and 2°C of global warming, with greater proportions of people both so exposed and susceptible to poverty in Africa and Asia. For global warming from 1.5°C to 2°C, risks across energy, food, and water sectors could overlap spatially and temporally, creating new and exacerbating current hazards, exposures, and vulnerabilities that could affect increasing numbers of people and regions.

There are multiple lines of evidence that since ARS the assessed levels of risk increased for four of the five Reasons for Concern (RFCs) for global warming to 2°C. The risk transitions by degrees of global warming are now: from high to very high risk between 1.5°C and 2°C for RFC1 (Unique and threatened systems; from moderate to high risk between 1°C and 1.5°C for RFC2 (Extreme weather events); from moderate to high risk between 1.5°C and 2°C for RFC3 (Distribution of impacts; from moderate to high risk between 1.5°C and 2.5°C for RFC4 (Global aggregate impacts); and from moderate to high risk between 1°C and 2.5°C for RFC5 (Large-scale singular events).

Most adaptation needs will be lower for global warming of 1.5°C compared to 2°C. There are a wide range of adaptation options that can reduce the risks of climate change. There are limits to adaptation and adaptive capacity for some human and natural systems at global warming of 1.5°C, with associated losses. The number and availability of adaptation options vary by sector.

A wide range of adaptation options are available to reduce the risks to natural and managed ecosystems (e.g., ecosystem based adaptation, ecosystem restoration and avoided degradation and deforestation, biodiversity management, sustainable aquaculture, and local knowledge and indigenous knowledge). the risks of sea level rise (e.g., coastal defence and hardening), and the risks to health, livelihoods, food, water, and economic growth, especially in rural landscapes (e.g., efficient itrigation, social safety nets, disaster risk management. risk spreading and sharing, and community based adaptation) and urban areas (e.g., green inftastructure, sustainable land use and planning, and sustainable water management).

Adaptation is expected to be more challenging for ecosystems, food and health systems at 2°C of global warming than for 1.5°C. Some vulnerable regions, including small islands and Least Developed Countries, are projected to experience high multiple interrelated climate risks even at global warming of 1.5°C.

Limits to adaptive capacity exist at 1.5°C of global warming, become more pronounced at higher levels of warming and vary by sector, with site specific implications for vulnerable regions, ecosystems and human health.

Figure SPM.2 Five integrative reasons for concern (RFCs) provide a framework for summarizing key impacts and risks across sectors and regions, and were introduced in the IPCC Third Assessment Report. RFCs illustrate the implications of global warming for people, economies and ecosystems. impacts and/or risks for each RFC are based on assessment of the new literature that has appeared. As in ARS, this literature was used to make expert judgments to assess the levels of global warming at which levels of impact and/or risk are undetectable, moderate, high or very high. The selection of impacts and risks to natural, managed and human systems in the lower panel is illustrative and is not intended to be fully comprehensive.

RFC1 Unique and threatened systems: ecological and human systems that have restricted geographic ranges constrained by climate-related conditions and have high endemism or other distinctive properties. Examples include coral reefs, the Arctic: and Its indigenous people, mountain glaciers and biodiversity hotspots.

RFC2 Extreme weather events: risks/impacts to human health, livelihoods, assets and ecosystems from extreme weather events such as heat waves, heavy rain, drought and associated wildfires, and coastal flooding.

RFC3 Distribution of impacts: risks/impacts that disproportionately affect particular groups due to uneven distribution of physical climate change hazards. exposure or vulnerability.

RFC4 Global aggregate impacts: global monetary damage, global-scale degradation and loss of ecosystems and biodiversity.

RFC5 Large-scale singular events: are relatively large, abrupt and somettmes irreversable changes in systems that are caused by global warming. Examples include disintegration of the Greenland and Antarctic Ice sheets.

Emission Pathways and System Transitions Consistent with 1.5°C Global Warming

In model pathways with no or limited overshoot of 1.5°C, global net anthropogenic CO2 emissions decline by about 45% from 2010 levels by 2030 (40-60% interquartile range), reaching net zero around 2050 (2045-2055 interquartile range). For limiting global warming to below 2°C CO2 emissions are projected to decline by about 25% by 2030 in most pathways (10-30% interquartile range) and reach net zero around 2070 (2065-2080 interquartile range). Non CO2 emissions in pathways that limit global warming to 1.5°C show deep reductions that are similar to those in pathways limiting warming to 2°C.

CO2 emissions reductions that limit global warming to 1.5°C with no or limited overshoot can involve different portfolios of mitigation measures. striking different balances between lowering energy and resource intensity, rate of decarbonisation, and the reliance on carbon dioxide removal. Different portfolios face different implementation challenges and potential synergies and trade offs with sustainable development.

Modelled pathways that limit global warming to 1.5°C with no or limited overshoot involve deep reductions in emissions of methane and black carbon (35% or more of both by 2050 relative to 2010). These pathways also reduce most of the cooling aerosols, which partially offsets mitigation effects for two to three decades. Non CO2 emissions can be reduced as a result of broad mitigation measures in the energy sector. In addition, targeted non-C02 mitigation measures can reduce nitrous oxide and methane from agriculture, methane from the waste sector, some sources of black carbon, and hydrofluorocarbons. High bioenergy demand can increase emissions of nitrous oxide in some 1.5°C pathways, highlighting the importance of appropriate management approaches. Improved air quality resulting from projected reductions in many non-CO2 emissions provide direct and immediate population health benefits in all 1.5°C model pathways.

1 GtCO2 = 1 Gigatonne of CO2

1 Gigatonne = 1 Billion tonnes = 1 Trillion kilograms = 1,000,000,000,000 kilograms = 1 million x 1 million kilograms

Limiting global warming requires limiting the total cumulative global anthropogenic emissions of C02 since the pre industrial period, that is, staying within a total carbon budget. By the end of 2017, anthropogenic C02 emissions since the pre industrial period are estimated to have reduced the total carbon budget for 1.5°C by approximately 2200 ± 320 GtCO2. The associated remaining budget is being depleted by current emissions of 42 ± 3 GtCO2 per year. The choice of the measure of global temperature affects the estimated remaining carbon budget. Using global mean surface air temperature, as in ARS, gives an estimate of the remaining carbon budget of 580 GtCO2, for a 50% probability of limiting warming to 1.5°C, and 420 GtCO2 for a 66% probability. Alternatively, using GMST gives estimates of 770 and 570 GtCO2 for 50% and 66% probabilities respectively.

Uncertainties in the size of these estimated remaining carbon budgets are substantial and depend on several factors. Uncertainties in the climate response to C02 and non-CO2 emissions contribute ±400 GtCO2, and the level of historic warming contributes ±250 GtCO2. Potential additional carbon release from future permafrost thawing and methane release from wetlands would reduce budgets by up to 100 GtCO2 over the course of this century and more thereafter. In addition, the level of non-C02 mitigation in the future could alter the remaining carbon budget by 250 GtCO2 in either direction.

Solar radiation modification (SRM) measures are not included in any of the available assessed pathways. Although some SRM measures may be theoretically effective in reducing an overshoot, they face large uncertainties and knowledge gaps, as well as substantial risks and institutional and social constraints to deployment related to governance, ethics, and impacts on sustainable development. They also do not mitigate ocean acidification.

Figure SPM.3a Global emissions pathway characteristics, The main panel shows global net anthropogenic C02 emissions in pathways limiting global warming to 1.5°C, with no or limited (less than 0.1°C) overshoot and pathways wih higher overshoot. The shaded area shows the full range for pathways analysed in this report. The panels on the right show non-CO2 emissions ranges for three compounds with large historical forcing and a substantial portion of emissions coming from sources distinct from those centraI to C02 mitigation. Shaded areas In these panels show the 5-95% (light shading) and interquartile (dark shading) ranges of pathways limiting global warmIng to 1.5°C with no limited overshoot.

Box and whiskers at the bottom of the figure show the timing of pathways reachlng global net zero CO2 emission on levels, and a comparkson with pathways limiting global warmlng to 2°C with at least 66% probability. Four Illustrative model pathways are highlighted in the main panel and are labelled P1, P2, P3 and P4, correspondlng to the LED, S1, S2, and S5 pathways assessed in Chapter 2. Descriptions and characteristics of these pathways are available In Figure SPM3b.

Characteristics of four illustrative model pathways

Different mitigation strategies can achieve the net emissions reductions that would be required to follow a pathway that limits global warming to 1.5°C with no or limited overshoot. All pathways use Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR), but the amount varies across pathways, as do the relative contributions of Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) and removals in the Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) sector. This has implications for emissions and several other pathway characteristics.

Figure SPM.3b Characteristics of four illustrative model pathways in relation to global warming of 1.5°C introduced in Fgure SPM.3a. These pathways were selected to show a range of potennal mitigation approaches and vary widely in the projected energy and land use, as well as their assumptIons about future socio economlc developments. Including economic and population growth, equity and sustainability. A breakdown of the global net anthropogenic C02 emissions into the contributions in terms of C02 emissions from fossil fuel and industry; agriculture, forestry and other land use (AFOLU); and bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) is shown. AFOLU estlmates reported here are not necessarily comparable with countries estimates. Further characteristics for each of these pathways are listed below each pathway, These pathways illustrate relative global differences in mitigation strategies, but do not represent central estimates, national strategies, and do not indicate requirements. For comparison, the rIghi most column shows the interquartile ranges across pathways with no or limited overshoot of 1.5°C. Pathways P1, P2, P3 and P4 correspond to the LED, S1, S2 and S5 pathways assessed In Chapter 2.

Pathways limiting global warming to 1.5°C with no or limited overshoot would require rapid and far reaching transitions in energy, land, urban and infrastructure, including transport and buildings, and industrial systems. These systems transitions are unprecedented in terms of scale, but not necessarily in terms of speed, and imply deep emissions reductions in all sectors, a wide portfolio of mitigation options and a significant upscaling of investments in those options.

Pathways that limit global warming to 1.5°C with no or limited overshoot show system changes that are more rapid and pronounced over the next two decades than in 2°C pathways. The rates of system changes associated with limiting global warming to 1.5°C with no or limited overshoot have occurred in the past within specific sectors, technologies and spatial contexts, but there is no documented historic precedent for their scale.

In energy systems, modelled global pathways (considered in the literature) limiting global warming to 1.5°C with no or limited overshoot (for more details see Figure SPM.3b) generally meet energy service demand with lower energy use, including through enhanced energy efficiency, and show faster electrification of energy end use compared to 2°C. In 1.5°C pathways with no or limited overshoot, low emission energy sources are projected to have a higher share, compared with 2°C pathways, particularly before 2050. In 1.5°C pathways with no or limited overshoot, renewables are projected to supply 70-85% (interquartile range) of electritity in 2050. In electricity generation, shares of nuclear and fossil fuels with carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) are modelled to increase in most 1.5“C pathways with no or limited overshoot.

In modelled 1.5°C pathways with limited or no overshoot, the use of CCS would allow the electricity generation share of gas to be approximately 8% (3-11% interquartile range) of global electricity in 2050, while the use of coal shows a steep reduction in all pathways and would be reduced to close to 0% (0-2% interquartile range) of electricity.

While acknowledging the challenges, and differences between the options and national circumstances, political, economic, social and technical feasibility of solar energy, wind energy and electricity storage technologies have substantially improved over the past few years. These improvements signal a potential system transition in electricity generation.

CO2 emissions from industry in pathways limiting global warming to 1.5°C with no or limited overshoot are projected to be about 65-90% (interquartile range) lower in 2050 relative to 2010, as compared to 50-80% for global warming of 2°C. Such reductions can be achieved through combinations of new and existing technologies and practices, including electrification, hydrogen, sustainable bio-based feedstocks. product substitution, and carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS). These options are technically proven at various scales but their large scale deployment may be limited by economic, financial, human capacity and institutional constraints in specific contexts, and specific characteristics of large-scale industrial installations. In industry, emissions reductions by energy and process efficiency by themselves are insufficient for limiting warming to 1.5°C with no or limited overshoot.

The urban and infrastructure system transition consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5°C with no or limited overshoot would imply, for example, changes in land and urban planning practices, as well as deeper emissions reductions in transport and buildings compared to pathways that limit global warming below 2°C. Technical measures and practices enabling deep emissions reductions include various energy efficiency options.

In pathways limiting global warming to 1.5°C with no or limited overshoot, the electricity share of energy demand in buildings would be about 55-75% in 2050 compared to 50-70% in 2050 for 2°C global warming. In the transport sector, the share of low emission final energy would rise from less than 5% in 2020 to about 35-65% in 2050 compared to 25-45% for 2°C of global warming. Economic, institutional and socio cultural barriers may inhibit these urban and infrastructure system transitions, depending on national, regional and local circumstances, capabilities and the availability of capital.

Transitions in global and regional land use are found in all pathways limiting global warming to 1.5°C with no or limited overshoot, but their scale depends on the pursued mitigation portfolio. Model pathways that limit global warming to 1.5°C with no or limited overshoot project a 4 million km2 reduction to a 2.5 million km2 increase of non-pasture agricultural land for food and feed crops and a 0.5-11 million km2 reduction of pasture land, to be converted into a 0-6 million km2 increase of agricultural land for energy crops and a 2 million km2 reduction to 9.5 million km2 increase in forests by 2050 relative to 2010. Land-use transitions of similar magnitude can be observed in modelled 2°C pathways.

Such large transitions pose profound challenges for sustainable management of the various demands on land for human settlements, food, livestock feed, fibre, bioenergy, carbon storage, biodiversity and other ecosystem services.

Mitigation options limiting the demand for land include sustainable intensification of land-use practices, ecosystem restoration and changes towards less resource intensive diets. The implementation of land based mitigation options would require overcoming socio-economic, institutional, technological, financing and environmental barriers that differ across regions.

Additional annual average energy-related investments for the period 2016 to 2050 in pathways limiting warming to 1.5°C compared to pathways without new climate policies beyond those in place today are estimated to be around 830 billion USD2010 (range of 150 billion to 1700 billion USD2010 across six models). This compares to total annual average energy supply investments in 1.5°C pathways of 1460 to 3510 billion USD2010 and total annual average energy demand investments of 640 to 910 billion USD2010 for the period 2016 to 2050. Total energy-related investments increase by about 12% (range of 3% to 24%) in 1.5°C pathways relative to 2°C pathways. Annual investments in low-carbon energy technologies and energy efficiency are upscaled by roughly a factor of six (range of factor of 4 to 10) by 2050 compared to 2015.

Modelled pathways limiting global warming to 1.5°C with no or limited overshoot project a wide range of global average discounted marginal abatement costs over the 21st century. They are roughly 3-4 times higher than in pathways limiting global warming to below 2°C. The economic literature distinguishes marginal abatement costs from total mitigation costs in the economy. The literatute on total mitigation costs of 1.5°C mitigation pathways is limited and was not assessed in this Report. Knowledge gaps remain in the integrated assessment of the economy wide costs and benefits of mitigation in line with pathways limiting warming to 1.5°C.

All pathways that limit global warming to 1.5°C with limited or no overshoot project the use of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) on the order of 100-1000 GtCO2 over the 21st century. CDR would be used to compensate for residual emissions and, in most cases. achieve net negative emissions to return global warming to 1.5°C following a peak. CDR deployment of several hundreds of GtCO2 is subject to multiple feasibility and sustainability constraints. Significant near term emissions reductions and measures to lower energy and land demand can limit CDR deployment to a few hundred GtCO2 without reliance on bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS).

Existing and potential CDR measures include afforestation and reforestation, land restoration and soil carbon sequestration, BECCS, direct air carbon capture and storage (DACCS), enhanced weathering and ocean alkalinization. These differ widely in terms of maturity, potentials, costs, risks, co-benefits and trade offs. To date, only a few published pathways include CDR measures other than afforestation and BECCS.

In pathways limiting global warming to 1.5°C with limited or no overshoot, BECCS deployment is projected to range from 0-1, 0-8, and 0-16 GtCO2/yr in 2030, 2050, and 2100, respectively, while agriculture, forestry and land-use (AFOLU) related CDR measures are projected to remove 0-5, 1-11, and 1-5 GtCO2/yr in these years. The upper end of these deployment ranges by mid-century exceeds the BECCS potential of up to 5 GtCO2/yr and afforestation potential of up to 3.6 GtCO2/yr assessed based on recent literature. Some pathways avoid BECCS deployment completely through demand side measures and greater reliance on AFOLU-related CDR measures. The use of bioenergy can be as high or even higher when BECCS is excluded compared to when it is included due to its potential for replacing fossil fuels across sectors.

Pathways that overshoot 1.5°C of global warming rely on CDR exceeding residual CO2 emissions later in the century to return to below 1.5°C by 2100, with larger overshoots requiring greater amounts of CDR. Limitations on the speed, scale, and societal acceptability of CDR deployment hence determine the ability to return global warming to below 1.5°C following an overshoot. Carbon cycle and climate system understanding is still limited about the effectiveness of net negative emissions to reduce temperatures after they peak.

Most current and potential CDR measures could have significant impacts on land, energy, water or nutrients if deployed at large scale. Afforestation and bioenergy may compete with other land uses and may have significant impacts on agricultural and food systems, biodiversity, and other ecosystem functions and services. Effective governance is needed to limit such trade offs and ensure permanence of carbon removal in terrestrial, geological and ocean reservoirs. Feasibility and sustainability of CDR use could be enhanced by a portfolio of options deployed at substantial, but lesser scales, rather than a single option at very large scale.

Some AFOLU-related CDR measures such as restoration of natural ecosystems and soil carbon sequestration could provide co-benefits such as improved biodiversity, soil quality, and local food security. If deployed at large scale, they would require governance systems enabling sustainable land management to conserve and protect land carbon stocks and other ecosystem functions and services.

Strengthening the Global Response in the Context of Sustainable Development and Efforts to Eradicate Poverty

Estimates of the global emissions outcome of current nationally stated mitigation ambitions as submitted under the Paris Agreement would lead to global greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 of 52-58 GtCO2eq yr. Pathways reflecting these ambitions would not limit global warming to 1.5°C, even if supplemented by very challenging increases in the scale and ambition of emissions reductions after 2030. Avoiding overshoot and reliance on future large scale deployment of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) can only be achieved if global CO2 emissions start to decline well before 2030.

Pathways that limit global warming to 1.5°C with no or limited overshoot show clear emission reductions by 2030. All but one show a decline in global greenhouse gas emissions to below 35 GtCO2eq yr in 2030, and half of available pathways fall within the 25-30 GtCO2eq yr range (interquartile range), a 40-50% reduction from 2010 levels.

Pathways reflecting current nationally stated mitigation ambition until 2030 are broadly consistent with cost-effective pathways that result in a global warming of about 3°C by 2100, with warming continuing afterwards.

Overshoot trajectories result in higher impacts and associated challenges compared to pathways that limit global warming to 1.5°C with no or limited overshoot. Reversing warming after an overshoot of 0.2°C or larger during this century would require upscaling and deployment of CDR at rates and volumes that might not be achievable given considerable implementation challenge.

The lower the emissions in 2030, the lower the challenge in limiting global warming to 1.5°C after 2030 with no or limited overshoot. The challenges from delayed actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions include the risk of cost escalation, lock-in in carbon-emitting infrastructure, stranded assets, and reduced flexibility in future response options in the medium to long term. These may increase uneven distributional impacts between countries at different stages of development.

The avoided climate change impacts on sustainable development, eradication of poverty and reducing inequalities would be greater if global warming were limited to 1.5°C rather than 2°C, if mitigation and adaptation synergies are maximized while trade offs are minimized.

Climate change impacts and responses are closely linked to sustainable development which balances social well-being, economic prosperity and environmental protection.The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted in 2015, provide an established framework for assessing the links between global warming of 1.5°C or 2°C and development goals that include poverty eradication, reducing inequalities, and climate action.

The consideration of ethics and equity can help address the uneven distribution of adverse impacts associated with 1.5°C and higher levels of global warming, as well as those from mitigation and adaptation, particularly for poor and disadvantaged populations, in all societies.

Mitigation and adaptation consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5°C are underpinned by enabling conditions, assessed in this report across the geophysical, environmental, ecological, technological, economic, socio cultural and institutional dimensions of feasibility. Strengthened multilevel governance, institutional capacity, policy instruments, technological innovation and transfer and mobilization of finance, and changes in human behaviour and lifestyles are enabling conditions that enhance the feasibility of mitigation and adaptation options or 1.5°C-consistent systems transitions.

Adaptation options specific to national contexts, if carefully selected, together with enabling conditions, will have benefits for sustainable development and poverty reduction with global warming of 1.5°C, although trade-offs are possible.

Adaptation options that reduce the vulnerability of human and natural systems have many synergies with sustainable development, if well managed, such as ensuring food and water security, reducing disaster risks, improving health conditions, maintaining ecosystem services and reducing poverty and inequality. Increasing investment in physical and social infrastructure is a key enabling condition to enhance the resilience and the adaptive capacities of societies. These benefits can occur in most regions with adaptation to 1.5°C of global warming.

Adaptation to 1.5°C global warming can also result in trade-offs or maladaptations with adverse impacts for sustainable development. For example, if poorly designed or implemented adaptation projects in a range of sectors can increase greenhouse gas emissions and water use, increase gender and social inequality, undermine health conditions, and encroach on natural ecosystems. These trade-offs can be reduced by adaptations that include attention to poverty and sustainable development.

A mix of adaptation and mitigation options to limit global warming to 1.5°C, implemented in a participatory and integrated manner, can enable rapid, systemic transitions in urban and rural areas. These are most effective when aligned with economic and sustainable development, and when local and regional governments and decision makers are supported by national governments.

Adaptation options that also mitigate emissions can provide synergies and cost savings in most sectors and system transitions, such as when land management reduces emissions and disaster risk, or when low-carbon buildings are also designed for efficient cooling. Trade-offs between mitigation and adaptation, when limiting global warming to 1.5°C, such as when bioenergy crops, reforestation or afforestation encroach on land needed for agricultural adaptation, can undermine food security, livelihoods, ecosystem functions and services and other aspects of sustainable development.

Mitigation options consistent with 1.5°C pathways are associated with multiple synergies and trade offs across the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). While the total number of possible synergies exceeds the number of trade-offs, their net effect will depend on the pace and magnitude of changes, the composition of the mitigation portfolio and the management of the transition.

1.5°C pathways have robust synergies particularly for the SDGs 3 (health), 7 (clean energy). 11 (cities and communities), 12 (responsible consumption and production) and 14 (oceans). Some 1.5°C pathways show potential trade-offs with mitigation for SDGs 1 (poverty), 2 (hunger), 6 (water) and 7 (energy access), if not managed carefully.

1.5°C pathways that include low energy demand, low material consumption, and low GHG-intensive food consumption have the most pronounced synergies and the lowest number of trade-offs with respect to sustainable development and the SDGs. Such pathways would reduce dependence on CDR. In modelled pathways, sustainable development, eradicating poverty and reducing inequality can support limiting warming to 1.5°C.

Indicative linkages between mitigation options and sustainable development using SDGs

(The linkages do not show costs and benefits)

Mitigation options deployed in each sector can be associated with potential positive effects (synergies) or negative effects (trade-offs) with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The degree to which this potential is realized will depend on the selected portfolio of mitigation options, mitigation policy design, and local circumstances and context. Particularly in the energy demand sector, the potential for synergies is larger than for trade-offs. The bars group individually assessed options by level of confidence and take into account the relative strength of the assessed mitigation SDG connections.

Figure SPM4 Potential synergies and trad-Offs between the sectoral portfolio of climate change mitigation options and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs serve as an analytlcal framework for the assessment of the different sustainable development dimensions, WhIic extend beyond the time frame of the 2030 SDG targets. The assessment is based on literature on mitigation options that are considered relevant fot 1.5°C.

The assessed strength of the SDG interactions id based on the qualitative and quantitative assessment of individual mitigation uptions listed in Table 5.1. For each mitigation option, the strength of the SDG connection as well as the associated confidence of the under lying literature (shades of green and red) was assessed, The strength of positive connections (synergies) and negative connections (trade-offs) across all individual options within a sector (see Table 5.2) are aggregated into sectoral potentials for the whole mitigation portfolio. The white areas outside the bars, which indicate no interactlons, have low confidence due to the untertainty and limited number of studies exploring more direct effects. The strength of the connection consnders only the effect on mitigation and does not include benefits of avoided impacts. SDG 13 (climate action) is not listed because mitigation is being considered in terms of Interactions with SDGs and not vice versa. The bars denote the strength of the connection, and do not consider the strength of the impact on the SDGs. The energy demand sector comprises behavioural responses, fuel swiching and efficiency options in the transport industry and building sector as well as carbon capture options in the industry sector. Options assessed in the energy supply sector comprise biomass and non-biomass renewables, nuclear, carbon capture and storage (CCS) with bioenergy, and CCS with fossil fuels. Options in the land sector comprise agricultural and forest options, sustainable diets and reduced food waste, soil sequestration, livestock and manure management, reduced detorestation, afforestation and reforestation, and responstble sourcing. In addition to this figure, options in the ocean sector are discussed in the underlying report.

Informatton about the net impacts of mitigation on sustainable development in 1.5°C pathways is available only for a limited number of SDGs and mitigation options. Only a limited number of studies have assessed the benefits of avoided climate change impacts of 1.5°C pathways for the SDG, and the co-effects of adaptation for mitigation and the SDGs. The assessment of the indicative mitigation potentials In Figure SPM4 is a step further from ARS towards a more comprehenstve and integrated assessment in the future.

1.5°C and 2°C modelled pathways often rely on the deployment of large-scale land-related measures like afforestation and bioenergy supply, which, if poorly managed, can compete with food production and hence raise food security concerns. The impacts of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) options on SDGs depend on the type of options and the scale of deployment. If poorly implemented, CDR options such as BECCS and AFOLU options would lead to trade-offs. Context-relevant design and implementation requires considering people’s needs, biodiversity, and other sustainable development dimensions.

Mitigation consistent with 1.5°C pathways creates risks for sustainable development in regions with high dependency on fossil fuels for revenue and employment generation. Policies that promote diversification of the economy and the energy sector can address the associated challenges.

Redistributive policies across sectors and populations that shield the poor and vulnerable can resolve trade-offs for a range of SDGs, particularly hunger, poverty and energy access. Investment needs for such complementary policies are only a small fraction of the overall mitigation investments in 1.5°C pathways.

Limiting the risks from global warming of 1.5°C in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication implies system transitions that can be enabled by an increase of adaptation and mitigation investments, policy instruments, the acceleration of technological innovation and behaviour changes.

Directing finance towards investment in infrastructure for mitigation and adaptation could provide additional resources. This could involve the mobilization of private funds by institutional investors, asset managers and development or investment banks, as well as the provision of public funds. Government policies that lower the risk of low-emission and adaptation investments can facilitate the mobilization of private funds and enhance the effectiveness of other public policies. Studies indicate a number of challenges, including access to finance and mobilization of funds.

Adaptation finance consistent with global warming of 1.5°C is difficult to quantify and compare with 2°C. Knowledge gaps include insufficient data to calculate specific climate resilience-enhancing investments from the provision of currently underinvested basic infrastructure. Estimates of the costs of adaptation might be lower at global warming of 1.5°C than for 2°C. Adaptation needs have typically been supported by public sector sources such as national and subnational government budgets, and in developing countries together with support from development assistance, multilateral development banks, and United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change channels.

More recently there is a growing understanding of the scale and increase in non-govemmental organizations and private funding in some regions. Barriers include the scale of adaptation financing, limited capacity and access to adaptation finance.

Global model pathways limiting global warming to 1.5°C are projected to involve the annual average investment needs in the energy system of around 2.4 trillion USD2010 between 2016 and 2035, representing about 2.5% of the world GDP.

Policy tools can help mobilize incremental resources, including through shifting global investments and savings and through market and non-market based instruments as well as accompanying measures to secure the equity of the transition. Acknowledging the challenges related with implementation, including those of energy costs, depreciation of assets and impacts on international competition, and milizing the opportunities to maximize co-benefits.

The systems transitions consistent with adapting to and limiting global warming to 1.5°C include the widespread adoption of new and possibly disruptive technologies and practices and enhanced climate-driven innovation. These imply enhanced technological innovation capabilities, including in industry and finance. Both national innovation policies and international cooperation can contribute to the development, commercialization and widespread adoption of mitigation and adaptation technologies. Innovation policies may be more effective when they combine public support for research and development with policy mixes that provide incentives for technology diffusion.

Education, information, and community approaches, including those that are informed by indigenous knowledge and local knowledge, can accelerate the wide scale behaviour changes consistent with adapting to and limiting global warming to 1.5°C. These approaches are more effective when combined with other policies and tailored to the motivations, capabilities and resources of specific actors and contexts. Public acceptability can enable or inhibit the implementation of policies and measures to limit global warming to 1.5°C and to adapt to the consequences. Public acceptability depends on the individual’s evaluation of expected policy consequences, the perceived fairness of the distribution of these consequences. and perceived fairness of decision procedures.

Sustainable development supports, and often enables, the fundamental societal and systems transitions and transformations that help limit global warming to 1.5°C. Such changes facilitate the pursuit of climate resilient development pathways that achieve ambitious mitigation and adaptation in conjunction with poverty eradication and efforts to reduce inequalities.

Social justice and equity are core aspects of climate-resilient development pathways that aim to limit global warming to 1.5°C as they address challenges and inevitable trade offs, widen opportunities, and ensure that options, visions, and values are deliberated, between and within countries and communities, without making the poor and disadvantaged worse off.

The potential for climate-resilient development pathways differs between and within regions and nations, due to different development contexts and systemic vulnerabilities. Efforts along such pathways to date have been limited and enhanced efforts would involve strengthened and timely action from all countries and non-state actors.

Pathways that are consistent with sustainable development show fewer mitigation and adaptation challenges and are associated with lower mitigation costs. The large majority of modelling studies could not construct pathways characterized by lack of international cooperation, inequality and poverty that were able to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

Strengthening the capacities for climate action of national and sub national authorities, civil society, the private sector, indigenous peoples and local communities can support the implementation of ambitious actions implied by limiting global warming to 1.5°C. International cooperation can provide an enabling environment for this to be achieved in all countries and for all people, in the context of sustainable development. International cooperation is a critical enabler for developing countries and vulnerable regions.

Partnerships involving non-state public and private actors, institutional investors, the banking system, civil society and scientific institutions would facilitate actions and responses consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5°C.

Cooperation on strengthened accountable multilevel governance that includes non-state actors such as industry, civil society and scientific institutions, coordinated sectoral and cross-sectoral policies at various governance levels, gender sensitive policies, finance including innovative financing. and cooperation on technology development and transfer can ensure participation, transparency, capacity building and learning among different players.

International cooperation is a critical enabler for developing countries and vulnerable regions to strengthen their action for the implementation of 1.5°C consistent climate responses, including through enhancing access to finance and technology and enhancing domestic capacities, taking into account national and local circumstances and needs.

Collective efforts at all levels, in ways that reflect different circumstances and capabilities, in the pursuit of limiting global warming to 1.5°C, taking into account equity as well as effectiveness, can facilitate strengthening the global response to climate change, achieving sustainable development and eradicating poverty.

Summary for Policymakers (pdf)

Full Report

THE EARTH IS IN A DEATH SPIRAL. It will take radical action to save us – George Monbiot.

“What is it that you are asking me as a 20-year-old to face and to accept about my future and my life? … This is an emergency. We are facing extinction. When you ask questions like that, what is it you want me to feel?”

Climate breakdown could be rapid and unpredictable. We can no longer tinker around the edges and hope minor changes will avert collapse.

Softer aims might be politically realistic, but they are physically unrealistic. Only shifts commensurate with the scale of our existential crises have any prospect of averting them. Hopeless realism, tinkering at the edges of the problem, got us into this mess. It will not get us out.

Public figures talk and act as if environmental change will be linear and gradual. But the Earth’s systems are highly complex, and complex systems do not respond to pressure in linear ways. When these systems interact (because the world’s atmosphere, oceans, land surface and lifeforms do not sit placidly within the boxes that make study more convenient), their reactions to change become highly unpredictable. Small perturbations can ramify wildly. Tipping points are likely to remain invisible until we have passed them. We could see changes of state so abrupt and profound that no continuity can be safely assumed.

Only one of the many life support systems on which we depend – soils, aquifers, rainfall, ice, the pattern of winds and currents, pollinators, biological abundance and diversity, need fail for everything to slide.

Because we cannot save ourselves without contesting oligarchic control, the fight for democracy and justice and the fight against environmental breakdown are one and the same. Do not allow those who have caused this crisis to define the limits of political action. Do not allow those whose magical thinking got us into this mess to tell us what can and cannot be done.

. . . The Guardian

Global warming will drive up suicide rates, study warns – Sharon Kirkey * How Climate Change Affects Mental Health – Katherine Schreiber * Mental Health and our Changing Climate, A Primer – APA.

The health, economic, political, and environmental implications of climate change affect all of us. The tolls on our mental health are far reaching. They induce stress, depression, and anxiety; strain social and community relationships; and have been linked to increases in aggression, violence, and crime.

Heat profoundly affects the human mind. The more neurotransmitters needed to cool the body, the less available to suppress emotions like aggression, impatience or violence. Heat increases circulating levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Psychiatric hospital visits increase during hotter weather.

Virtually everywhere around the world we’re facing warmer temperatures, and there is a lot of evidence of direct effects of warming on mental health.

Although the psychological impacts of climate change may not be obvious, they are no less serious because they can lead to disorders, such as depression, antisocial behavior, and suicide. Therefore, these disorders must be considered impacts of climate change as are disease, hunger, and other physical health consequences.

Of the 36% of Americans who are personally concerned a great deal about climate issues, 72% are Democrats, and 27% are Republicans (PEW Research).

Sharon Kirkey

It was Raymond Chandler who wrote of nights with a hot wind blowing into Los Angeles, a wind that makes “your nerves jump.”

“On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight,” he wrote. “Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands’ necks. Anything can happen.”

Now there’s research that says climate change may damage our mental health, just like Chandler’s hot wind from the Santa Ana Mountains.

Last week, a team of 28 specialists convened by the Lancet medical journal listed climate change among the greatest threats to mental health globally.

Ferocious storms and more frequent weather extremes will affect the human psyche in costly ways, some scientists predict, from more depression and anxiety to increased suicide rates.

One working theory is that some of the same neurotransmitters used by the brain to regulate the body’s temperature are also used to control emotions. The more neurotransmitters needed to cool the body, the less available to suppress emotions like aggression, impatience or violence.

. . . National Post

How Climate Change Affects Mental Health.

A new report shows global warming affects our psyches just as much as our earth.

Katherine Schreiber

When we talk about climate change, we tend to think about its effects on our environment, melting polar ice caps, extreme swings in weather, more frequent droughts, flooding, and higher incidences of natural disasters. But what about the effect on our moods, thoughts, and feelings? A new report written by the American Psychological Association, Climate for Health, and ecoAmerica argues that our mental wellbeing is just as vulnerable to global warming as is our earth.

. . . Psychology Today

MENTAL HEALTH AND OUR CHANGING CLIMATE:

IMPACTS IMPLICATIONS, AND GUIDANCE

WHY WE OFFER THIS REPORT

When you think about climate change, mental health might not be the first thing that comes to mind. Americans are beginning to grow familiar with climate change and its health impacts: worsening asthma and allergies; heat-related stress: foodborne, waterborne, and vector-borne diseases; illness and injury related to storms; and floods and droughts. However, the connections with mental health are not often part of the discussion.

It is time to expand information and action on climate and health, including mental health. The health, economic, political, and environmental implications of climate change affect all of us. The tolls on our mental health are far reaching. They induce stress, depression, and anxiety; strain social and community relationships; and have been linked to increases in aggression, violence, and crime. Children and communities with few resources to deal with the impacts of climate change are those most impacted.

To compound the issue, the psychological responses to climate change, such as conflict avoidance, fatalism, fear, helplessness, and resignation are growing. These responses are keeping us, and our nation, from properly addressing the core causes of and solutions for our changing climate, and from building and supporting psychological resiliency.

To help increase awareness of these challenges and to address them, the American Psychological Association and ecoAmerica sponsored this report, Mental Health and Our Changing Climate: Impacts, Implications, and Guidance. This is an updated and expanded version of our 2014 report, Beyond Storms & Droughts: The Psychological Impacts of Climate Change, which explored how climate change can impact mental health and provided guidance to engage the public. This updated report is intended to further inform and empower health and medical professionals, community and elected leaders, and the public. Our websites offer webinars and other resources to supplement this report.

On behalf of the authors, the many professionals who contributed directly and indirectly to this work, and all those involved in expanding awareness of and action on climate and mental health, thank you for taking the time to review and share this important resource.

We invite your feedback, and as the field continues to grow, we’ll continue to update this work.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Thus far, most research and communications on the impacts of climate change have emphasized the physical health effects, while mental health has been secondary. Building upon Beyond Storms and Droughts: The Psychological Impacts of Climate Change, the goal of this updated report is to increase awareness of the psychological impacts of climate change on human mental health and well-being. The report provides climate communicators, planners, policymakers, public health professionals, and other leaders the tools and tips needed to respond to these impacts and bolster public engagement on climate solutions.

The impacts of climate change on people’s physical, mental, and community health arise directly and indirectly. Some human health effects stem directly from natural disasters exacerbated by climate change, like floods, storms, wildfires, and heatwaves. Other effects surface more gradually from changing temperatures and rising sea levels that cause forced migration. Weakened infrastructure and less secure food systems are examples of indirect climate impacts on society‘s physical and mental health.

Some communities and populations are more vulnerable to the health-related impacts of climate change. Factors that may increase sensitivity to the mental health impacts include geographic location. presence of pre-existing disabilities or chronic illnesses, and socioeconomic and demographic inequalities, such as education level, income, and age.

In particular, stress from climate impacts can cause children to experience changes in behavior, development, memory, executive function, decision-making, and scholastic achievement.

The connection between changes in the climate and impacts on a person can be difficult to grasp. Although people’s understanding and knowledge of climate change can increase by experiencing the effects directly, perception, politics, and uncertainty can complicate this link. Psychological factors (like psychological distance), a political divide, uncertainty, helplessness, and denial influence the way people comprehend information and form their beliefs on climate change. Research on the impacts of climate change on human well-being is particularly important given the relationship among understanding, experiencing, and comprehending climate change. People’s willingness to support and engage in climate solutions is likely to increase if they can relate them to local experiences or if they see the relevance to their own health and well-being. Additionally, individuals who have higher perceived environmental self-efficacy, or the sense of being able to positively contribute, are more motivated to act on climate solutions.

Climate solutions are available now, are widespread, and support psychological health. Increasing adoption of active commuting, public transportation, green spaces, and clean energy are all solutions that people can choose to support and integrate into their daily lives. These climate solutions, among others, can help to curb the stress, anxiety, and other mental illnesses incurred from the decline of economies, infrastructure, and social identity that comes from damage to the climate.

Major acute mental health impacts include increases in trauma and shock, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), compounded stress, anxiety, substance abuse, and depression. Climate change induced extreme weather, changing weather patterns, damaged food and water resources, and polluted air impact human mental health. Increased levels of stress and distress from these factors can also put strains on social relationships and even have impacts on physical health, such as memory loss, sleep disorders, immune suppression, and changes in digestion.

Major chronic mental health impacts include higher rates of aggression and violence, more mental health emergencies, an increased sense of helplessness, hopelessness, or fatalism, and intense feelings of loss. These feelings of loss may be due to profound changes in a personally important place (such as one’s home) and/or a sense that one has lost control over events in one’s life due to disturbances from climate change. Additionally, a sense of loss regarding one’s personal or occupational identity can arise when treasured objects are destroyed by a disaster or place-based occupations are disrupted by climate change.

Personal relationships and the ways in which people interact in communities and with each other are affected by a changing climate. Compounded stress from a changing environment, ecomigration, and/or ecoanxiety can affect community mental well-being through the loss of social identity and cohesion, hostility, violence, and interpersonal and intergroup aggression.

Psychological well-being includes positive emotions, a sense of meaning and purpose, and strong social connections. Although the psychological impacts of climate change may not be obvious, they are no less serious because they can lead to disorders, such as depression, antisocial behavior, and suicide. Therefore, these disorders must be considered impacts of climate change as are disease, hunger, and other physical health consequences.

Building resilience is essential to address the physical and mental health impacts of climate change. Many local governments within the United States and in other countries have created plans to protect and enhance infrastructure, but these plans tend to overlook the support needed to ensure thriving psychological well-being. There is an opportunity to include the resilience capacity of individuals and communities in the development of preparedness plans.

OUR CHANGING CLIMATE: A PRIMER

Our climate is changing at an accelerated rate and continues to have profound impacts on human health. This change jeopardizes not only physical health but also mental health.

ACCELERATION

From wildfires and drought in California to severe flooding in Maryland to Alaskan communities threatened by rising seas, we are clearly living through some of the most severe weather events in US. history as a result of damage to our climate. Thes impacts on our environment will, in turn, affect human health and community well-being.

CHANGES WORLDWIDE

Climate change is creating visible impacts worldwide, including many here in America. As seen in the tripling of heat waves between 2011 and 2012, weather patterns introduce lasting impacts, such as food insecurity. Similarly, rising sea-surface temperatures have been connected to increasing rates of disease for marine life and humans. Sea levels are estimated to increase anywhere from 8 inches to 6.6 feet due to warmer temperatures by 2100, putting 8 million Americans living in coastal areas at risk for flooding. In terms of our economy, Hurricane Sandy cost the United States around $68 billion in total. Droughts caused by increases in temperature and changing weather patterns cost California $2.7 billion in 2015 and Texas $7.62 billion in 2011. As these climate disturbances become more dramatic and persistent, we must prepare for these climate conditions.

COMMUNITIES ARE IMPACTED

Our communities’ health, infrastructure, and economy are directly connected to our climate. As temperatures increase, we experience higher levels of pollution, allergens, and diseases. Severe weather events threaten our businesses and vulnerable communities. Pollution and drought undermine our food and water supplies, and the latter increases the prevalence of wildfires that can destroy homes and communities. Although all Americans are affected, certain populations of concern will feel the impacts more severely. Together, communities can build resilience to a changing climate.

HEALTH IS IMPACTED

As severe weather events, poorer air quality, degraded food and water systems, and physical illnesses increase, the direct and indirect impacts on health must be understood. The next section highlights the physical health impacts of climate change, and the following sections delve deeper into the mental health impacts, and what can be done to protect human well-being.

THE CLIMATE AND HEALTH IMPACTS ON HUMANS

Health is more than the absence of disease. Health includes mental health, as well as physical well-being, and communities that fail to provide basic services and social support challenge both. As we think about the impacts of climate change on our communities, we need to recognize not only the direct effects but also the indirect consequences for human health based on damage to the physical and social community infrastructure. Regardless of how these impacts surface, whether they occur within a matter of hours or over several decades, the outcomes of climate change are interconnected to all facets of our health.

ACUTE IMPACTS:

DlSASTER-RELATED EFFECTS

Recent increases in natural disasters illustrate the relationship between the acceleration of climate change and severe weather.

Areas that endure a natural disaster face a number of risks and difficulties. Direct physical impacts range from brute physical trauma to more pernicious effects, like increased incidence of infectious disease, asthma, heart disease, and lung problems. These physical health impacts interact with mental health impacts.

Major and minor acute physical injury

Natural disasters lead to increased rates of death and injury. The most common causes of mortality during floods are drowning and acute physical trauma. This past year alone, deaths from flash floods have more than doubled the 10-year average. Many people sustain non-fatal injuries, such as cuts and broken bones.

Infrastructure, food, and water

The direct effect of a natural disaster is often exacerbated by a cascade of indirect consequences that follow. Natural disasters can lead to technological disasters (such as power outages), breakdowns in the water, sewer, and other infrastructure, or urban fires. For instance, the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning related to power outages increases as a result of climate change-induced disasters. Disruptions to medical infrastructure, including the provision of medical supplies, can transform minor issues into major and even fatal problems. In addition, disruptions in other types of services (e.g., cell phone communication, transportation, or waste management) add stress and difficulty during the aftermath of a disaster. These disruptions may impact people’s physical health by making it more difficult to access health care or by potentially increasing exposure to pests or hazardous substances (e.g., when there is no garbage pick-up. Loss of income while businesses are closed due to natural disasters can be a major threat to food security, especially for non-professionals or small business owners.

After effects

Additional health threats follow in the wake of a disaster. Floodwater has been shown to introduce toxic materials, water-borne diseases (e.g., respiratory illnesses, skin infections, and neurologic and gastrointestinal illness where there are poor hygiene resources), and vector-borne illnesses (e.g., West Nile). Other after effects of flooding include heart attack, heat stroke, dehydration, and stroke, particularly when the affected areas lack the necessary medical supplies. In addition, post-flood mold due to fungal growth inside houses can worsen allergy or asthma symptoms.

MORE GRADUAL HEALTH EFFECTS

Ongoing effects of climate change include rising sea levels, increases in temperature, and changes in precipitation that will affect agricultural conditions. The impacts on human health are less dramatic in the short term but in the long run can affect more people and have a fundamental impact on society.

Severe and changing weather

Periods of higher-than-normal heat result in higher rates of heat exhaustion, heat cramps, heat stroke, hospital admission for heart-related illnesses, and death.

It’s estimated that the average American citizen will experience between 4 and 8 times as many days above 95 degrees Fahrenheit each year as he or she does now by the end of the century. This increase will likely push Arizona’s above-95-degree days from 116 today to as many as 205 by 2099. In contrast, extreme winter storms can expose people to hypothermia and frostbite. Altered growing seasons and ocean temperatures change the timing and occurrence of diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps from pathogen transmissions in raw food. Additionally, changing weather patterns influence the expansion of the migration patterns of animals and insects. This expansion has already begun to result in the spread of vector-borne illness, such as Lyme disease, malaria, dengue fever, plague, and Zika virus to new U.S. geographic areas. For example, vector-borne illnesses carried by mosquitoes can capitalize on receding floodwater for mosquito breeding.

Respiratory issues and allergens

People exposed to ozone air pollution, which is emitted mostly by cars and industrial facilities and is intensified by warmer temperatures, are more likely to visit the hospital for respiratory issues, suffer from asthma, and die prematurely of strokes or heart attacks. Hotter and drier summers increase the frequency and intensity of large wildfires that contribute to smoke inhalation. Pollution contributes to higher levels of pollen and translates into longer and more prevalent allergy seasons.

Fetal and child development

CIimate-driven physical stress on mothers can cause adverse birth outcomes, such as preterm birth and low birth weight. Scientific research shows that children and developing fetuses are at particular risk from air pollution, heat, malnutrition, infectious diseases, allergies, and mental illnesses, which have detrimental impacts on development.

Water and food supply

Nutrition and food safety can be affected because climate change can lower crop yields, reduce the nutritional quality of food, interrupt distribution chains, and reduce access to food because families lose income. For example, higher C02 concentrations lower the levels of protein and essential minerals of widely consumed crops such as wheat, rice, and potatoes. Barriers to food transport, such as damage to infrastructure and displacement of employees, affect food markets by increasing food costs. Droughts, floods, and changes in the availability of fertile land lead to hunger and malnutrition, though these changes are less likely in wealthy countries, such as the United States. Nevertheless, there will be an increased likelihood of a global food market crisis as climate change accelerates. A two-degree Celsius increase in temperature places 100-400 million people at risk of hunger, according to the World Bank.

General fitness

Increased average temperatures and decreased air quality also lead to changes in the type of activities that people engage in, particularly outdoor activities and recreation. These changes, in turn, may be associated with increased rates of obesity and cardiovascular disease. Although people may compensate by exercising in indoor environments, reduced access to the restorative potential of outdoor environments may indirectly increase stress and bypass the long-term emotional benefits of taking physical activity outdoors.

LINKING PHYSICAL IMPACTS, MENTAL HEALTH, AND COMMUNITY WELL-BEING

MENTAL HEALTH

The ability to process information and make decisions without being disabled by extreme emotional responses is threatened by climate change. Some emotional response is normal, and even negative emotions are a necessary part of a fulfilling life. In the extreme case, however, they can interfere with our ablllty to think rationally, plan our behavior, and consider alternative actions. An extreme weather event can be a source of trauma, and the experience can cause disabling emotions. More subtle and indirect effects of climate change can add stress to people’s lives in varying degrees. Whether experienced indirectly or directly, stressors to our climate translate into impaired mental health that can result in depression and anxiety. Although everyone is able to cope with a certain amount of stress, the accumulated effects of compound stress can tip a person from mentally healthy to mentally ill. Even uncertalnty can be a source of stress and a risk factor for psychological distress. People can be negatively affected by hearing about the negative experiences of others, and by fears, founded or unfounded, about their own potential vulnerability.

PHYSICAL HEALTH AND MENTAL HEALTH

Compromised physical health can be a source of stress that threatens psychological well being. Conversely mental health problems can also threaten physical health, for example, by changing patterns of sleep, eating, or exercise and by reducung immune system function.

COMMUNITY HEALTH

Although resndents‘ mental and physical health affect communlties, the impacts of climate on community health can have a particularly strong effect on community fabric and interpersonal relationships. Altered environmental condtions due to climate change can shift the opportunities people have for social interaction, the ways in which they relate to each other. and their connectlons to the natural world.

COMPREHENDING CLIMATE CHANGE

Witnessing the visible impacts of climate change may help people overcome barriers to grasping the problem; however, comprehension has many facets.

PERCEPTION IS DIFFICULT

Although most people are generally aware that climate change is occurring, it continues to seem distant: something that will happen to others, in another place, at some unspecified future date. Psychologists refer to this idea as psychological distance. Terms such as “climate change” and “global warming” draw attention to the global scale rather than the personal impacts. Additionally, the signal of climate change is obscured by the noise of daily and seasonal weather variation. All this makes the issue easier for people to push aside, particularly when faced with other pressing life issues. When people learn about and experience local climate impacts, their understanding increases. Local effects of climate change are often more personally relevant than the general phenomenon of a warming climate, and particularly when knowledge of direct effects is combined with news stories of the imminent risks of climate change. Perceived experience of impacts is associated with increased concern and awareness about climate change, direct experience also increases people’s understanding of climate change. However, direct experience does not necessarily lead to behavior change. For example, experiencing water shortages may increase behavior changes in water use but not encourage other sustainable behavior. Similarly, research suggests experiencing temperature change has no impact on water use behavior.

A PARTISAN ISSUE

Politically polarized in the United States, climate change is perceived as an issue that belongs with the political left, which can suppress belief and concern and discussions about solutions. For example, of the 36% of Americans who are personally concerned a great deal about climate issues, 72% are Democrats, and 27% are Republicans. Political orientation can make open conversations about climate impacts and solutions difficult, and make those who are concerned about climate change feel isolated or paranoid in some circles.

Concerns about health impacts provide common ground for discussion with both ends of the political spectrum. Describing the health-related impacts of climate change and the relevant benefits of taking action to address the impacts can inspire hope among those who dismiss climate change. For instance, conservatives showed decreased support for climate action when the negative health effects were described as affecting people in a faraway country as opposed to people who live in the United States. Listing several health impacts is overwhelming, causing fatalism and diminished engagement.

UNCERTAINTY AND DENIAL

People feel uncertain about the threat of climate change and how to minimize the damage. The media have been criticized for promoting an inaccurate perception of climate change: for example, that there is more scientific controversy about climate change than actually exists. In some cases, information that increases perceptions of the reality of climate change may feel so frightening that it leads to denial and thus a reduction in concern and support for action. In addition, communicating scientific information is not easy; this complexity itself may be a problem. One study showed that people who received more complex information on environmental problems 1) felt more helpless and more inclined to leave the problem to the government; and 2) those who felt ignorant about the topic were more likely to want to avoid hearing about more negative information.

Worldviews and ideologies act as filters to help increase or decrease concern about climate change and motivate action toward solutions. People do not perceive the world neutraly. Instead, through directionally motivated cognition, individuals strive to maintain a world consistent with the ideology and values of their social groups. Because of this, individuals whose worldviews conflict with climate change realities actually may not perceive certain climate effects. Myers, Maibach, Roser-Renouf, Akerlof, and Leiserowitz (2012) found that individuals who were 1) either very concerned about or skeptical of climate change tended to report personal experience with climate change (or lack thereof) based on their pre-existing beliefs about its existence; and 2) individuals less engaged with the issue of climate change changed their beliefs about the existence of climate change based on perceived personal experience with its impacts. Ideologies of climate change and action may also contribute to widespread psychological denial. The distress of climate change can manifest in negative reactions to climate activism. These reactions are reflected in outlets such as social media, and researchers believe this behavior shifts others to denial.

CLIMATE SOLUTIONS BENEFIT MENTAL HEALTH

Physical commuting enhances a sense of well-being. Choosing to bike and/or walk (assuming it is safe and practical to do so) is one individual step that can help reduce the use of climate change-driving fossil fuels. Physical commuting also directly impacts depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other mental illnesses. People who bike and walk to work, school, appointments, and other activities not only reduce emissions and improve their physical health but also experience lower stress levels than car commuters. For instance, individuals who utilized the Washington DC. bikeshare program reported reduced stress levels and weight loss. Similarly, adolescents who actively commute to school show not only lower levels of perceived stress but also increased cardiovascular fitness, improved cognitive performance, and higher academic achievement.

Public transportation invigorates community mental health. Moving people from individual cars to public transit also results in lower greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, several studies have shown that using public transportation leads to an increase in community cohesion, recreational activities, neighborhood walkability, and reduced symptoms of depression and stress associated with less driving and more exercise. Meanwhile, traffic driving worsens air quality and contributes to reduced productivity and increased healthcare costs. Sound transportation systems and urban planning should be expanded as they lead to beneficial mental health and climate outcomes. Green spaces diminish stress. Parks and green corridors have been connected to improved air quality and can increase mental well-being. For example, trees sequester carbon, and green spaces absorb less heat than paved surfaces and buildings. More time spent interacting with nature has been shown to significantly lower stress levels and reduce stress-related illness. Interestingly, this evidence is supported across socioeconomic status, age, and gender. Likewise, individuals who move to areas with access to more green space showed sustained mental health improvements, while individuals who moved to areas with less access to green space experienced substantial negative mental health impacts. However, although a person’s physical and mental health is determined to a large degree by the neighborhood in which he or she lives, relocating to a greener neighborhood isn’t always an option. As planners and policymakers make decisions that will reshape the landscapes of our cities and communities, it is important to recognize the significance and role green areas have in improving air quality, reducing stress, and ensuring a healthy living environment for everyone.

Clean energy reduces health burdens. Wind, solar, hydro, and other clean energy as well as energy efficiency are not only climate-friendly; they also reduce particulates and pollution in the air. Studies on air quality and children’s lung development have shown that as air pollution is reduced, children display significant lung function improvements. Further research revealed that children exposed to higher levels of urban pollution are more likely to develop attention problems and symptoms of anxiety and depression, as well as lower academic performance and brain function. Clean energy provides an opportunity to protect populations of concern, such as children, who experience these impacts more severely.

Although the co-benefits are clear, more comprehensive research on the positive mental health outcomes of climate solutions is needed to bolster support. Research can further promote dynamic solutions as opportunities to improve our health. It is important to increase awareness of the daily choices we make, from how to get to work to the sources of energy to, the more climate-friendly behaviors become mainstreamed, the more they help populations of concern: children, elderly, sick, low income, etc. Fortunately, tangible and effective climate solutions are available today to implement and build upon.

MENTAL HEALTH IMPACTS

The mental health effects of Climate change are gaining public attention. A 2071 government report (US. Global Change Research Program) reviewed a large body of research to summarize the current state of knowledge. This report builds on that knowledge, and considers the direct and indirect effects of Climate change on mental health.

We start by describing the mental health effects on individuals, both short and long term, acute and chronic, the stressors that accumulate in the aftermath of a disaster, and the impacts that natural disasters have on social relationships, with consequences for health and well-being. We move on to discussing the individual-level impacts of more gradual changes in climate, including impacts on aggression and violence, identity, and the long-term emotional impacts of Climate change. Next, we discuss the impacts of climate change on communities and on intergroup and international relationships. Finally, we address the problem of inequity, the fact that certain populations are relatively more vulnerable to these mental health impacts compared to others.

IMPACTS ON INDIVIDUALS

Climate change has acute and chronic impacts, directly and indirectly, on individual well-being. Acute impacts result from natural disasters or extreme weather events. Chronic impacts result from longer term changes in climate. This discussion emphasizes the impacts experienced directly by individuals; however, it also touches on indirect impacts (witnessing others being impacted), which have profound implications for mental health.

ACUTE IMPACTS

Trauma and shock

Climate change-induced disasters have a high potential for immediate and severe psychological trauma from personal injury, injury or death of a loved one, damage to or loss of personal property (e.g., home) and pets, and disruption in or loss of livelihood. An early meta-analysis of studies on the relationship between disasters and mental health impacts found that between 7% and 40% of all subjects in 36 studies showed some form of psychopathology. General anxiety was the type of psychopathology with the highest prevalence rate, followed by phobic, somatic, and alcohol impairment, and then depression and drug impairment, which were all elevated relative to prevalence in the general population. More recent reviews concluded that acute traumatic stress is the most common mental health problem after a disaster. Terror, anger, shock, and other intense negative emotions are likely to dominate people’s initial response. Interview participants in a study about flooding conducted by Carroll, Morbey, Balogh, and Araoz (2009) used words such as “horrifying,” “panic stricken,” and “petrified“ to describe their experience during the flood

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

For most people, acute symptoms of trauma and shock are reduced after conditions of security have been restored. However, many continue to experience problems as PTSD manifests as a chronic disorder. PTSD, depression, general anxiety, and suicide all tend to increase after a disaster.

For example, among a sample of people living in areas affected by Hurricane Katrina, suicide and suicidal ideation more than doubled, one in six people met the diagnostic criteria for PTSD, and 49% of people living in an affected area developed an anxiety or mood disorder such as depression. Similarly, 14.5% showed symptoms of PTSD from Hurricane Sandy, and 15.6% of a highly affected community showed symptoms of PTSD several years after experiencing extreme bushfire. PTSD is often linked to a host of other mental health problems, including higher levels of suicide, substance abuse, depression, anxiety, violence, aggresson, interpersonal difficulties, and job-related difficulties.

Incidence of PTSD is more likely among those who have lost close family members or property. Individuals who experience muitiple or long-lasting acute events, such as more than one disaster or multiple years of drought, are likely to experience more severe trauma and may be even more susceptible to PTSD and the other types of psychiatric symptoms described above. For example, a study showed that refugees exposed to multiple traumatic events experienced a higher rate of immediate and lifetime PTSD and had a lower probability of remission than refugees who had experienced few traumatic events. The likelihood of suicide is higher among those who have been exposed to more severe disasters.

Compounded stress

In general, climate change can be considered an additional source of stress to our everyday concerns, which may be tolerable for someone with many sources of support but can be enough to serve as a tipping point for those who have fewer resources or who are already experiencing other stressors. Stress manifests as a subjective feeling and a physiological response that occur when a person feels that he or she does not have the capacity to respond and adapt to a given situation. Thus, climate-related stress is likely to lead to increases in stress-related problems, such as substance abuse, anxiety disorders, and depression. These problems often carry economic costs incurred by lost work days, increased use of medical services, etc, which, in turn, create additional stress for individuals and society and have their own impacts on mental and physical health. Stress can also be accompanied by worry about future disasters and feelings of vulnerability, helplessness, mourning, grief, and despair. Following disasters, increased stress can also make people more likely to engage in behavior that has a negative impact on their health (e.g., smoking, risky behavior, and unhealthy eating habits; e.g. Stain et al. (2011) found that people living in a drought-affected area who had also recently experienced some other adverse life event were more likely to express a high degree of worry about the ongoing drought conditions. Although not as dramatic and acute a disaster as a hurricane, drought is associated with psychological distress, and one study found increased rates of suicide among male farmers in Australia during periods of prolonged drought. Several studies have found that many victims of a flood disaster express psychological distress even years after the flood.

Impacts of stress on physical health

High levels of stress and anxiety also appear to be linked to physical health effects.

For example, chronic distress results in a lowered immune system response, leaving people more vulnerable to pathogens in the air and water and at greater risk for a number of physical ailments. Sleep disorders also increase in response to chronic distress. Doppelt (2016) has described potential physiological responses to the stress of climate change, such as increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which, if prolonged, can affect digestion, lead to memory loss, and suppress the immune system. The World Heart Federation (2016) lists stress as a serious risk factor in developing cardiovascular disease.

Strains on social relationships

Particularly in home environments, disasters precipitate a set of stressors that can strain interpersonal interactions. A review of research on the impacts of natural disasters identified problems with family and interpersonal relations, as well as social disruption, concerns about the wider community, and feelings of obligation to provide support to others. Families whose homes are damaged by a flood, storm, or wildfire may need to be relocated, sometimes multiple times, before settling permanently. Family relationships may suffer. Separation from one another and from their systems of social support may occur. Children may have to attend a new school or miss school altogether; parents may find themselves less able to be effective caregivers. In addition, even those who are able to remain in their own home may still lose a sense of their home as a safe and secure environment. This has implications for interpersonal connections, as a home provides the context for social relationships. When the physical home is damaged, it changes the dynamic of the social relationships, often negatively. Domestic abuse, for example, including child abuse, often increases among families who have experienced disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina or the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

CHRONIC IMPACTS

Aggression and violence

The psychological impacts of warmer weather on aggression and violence have been extensively studied. Lab-based experiments and field-based surveys have demonstrated a causal relationship between heat and aggression. In other words, as the temperature goes up, so does aggression. This influenced researcher Craig Anderson (2012) to predict a demonstrable increase in violence associated with increased average temperatures. The relationship between heat and violence may be due to the impacts of heat on arousal, which results in decreases in attention and self-regulation, as well as an increase in the availability of negative and hostile thought, effect on cognitive function, which may reduce the ability to resolve a conflict without violence. Although this impact can manifest as an acute impact (e.g., as a result of a heat wave), due to the pervasive warming trends, and the shifting of climate zones, it is listed under chronic impacts.

Mental health emergencies

There is evidence that increases in mean temperature are associated with increased use of emergency mental health services. This is true not only in hot countries, like Israel and Australia, and in parts of the United States but also in relatively cooler countries, such as France and Canada. Higher temperatures have been linked to increased levels of suicide. It appears that the distress of feeling too hot can overwhelm coping ability for people who are already psychologically fragile. Climate emergencies can also exacerbate preexisting symptoms and lead to more serious mental health problems.

Loss of personally important places

Perhaps one of the best ways to characterize the impacts of climate change on perceptions is the sense of loss. Loss of relationship to place is a substantial part of this. As climate change irrevocably changes people‘s lived landscapes, large numbers are likely to experience a feeling that they are losing a place that is important to them, a phenomenon called solastalgia. This psychological phenomenon is characterized by a sense of desolation and loss similar to that experienced by people forced to migrate from their home environment. Solastalgia may have a more gradual beginning due to the slow onset of changes in one’s local environment. Silver and Grek-Martin (2015) described the emotional pain and disorientation associated with changes in the physical environment that were expressed by residents of a town damaged by tornadoes, even by residents who had not experienced personal loss.

Loss of place is not a trivial experience. Many people form a strong attachment to the place where they live, finding it to provide a sense of stability, security, and personal identity. People who are strongly attached to their local communities report greater happiness, life satisfaction, and optimism; whereas work performance, interpersonal relationships, and physical health can all be negatively affected by disruption to place attachment. For instance, Scannell and Gifford (2016) found that people who visualized a place to which they were attached showed improved self-esteem and sense of belonging relative to those who visualized a place to which they were not attached.

Climate change is likely to have a significant effect on human well-being by increasing migration. When people lose their home to rising sea levels, or when a home becomes unsuitable for human habitation due to its inability to support food crops, they must find another place to live. Although it is difficult to identify climate change as the causal factor in a complex sequence of events affecting migration, a common prediction is that 200 million people will be displaced due to climate change by 2050. Migration in and of itself constitutes a health risk. Immigrants are vulnerable to mental health problems, probably due to the accumulated stressors associated with the move, as well as with the condition of being in exile. Adger, Barnett, Brown, Marshall, and O‘Brien (2013) found being forced to leave one‘s home territory can threaten one’s sense of continuity and belonging. Because of the importance of connection to place in personal identity, such displacement can leave people literally alienated, with a diminished sense of self and increased vulnerability to stress. Although empirical research on the psychological impacts of migration is rare, Tschakert, Tutu, and Alcaro (2013) studied the emotional experience among residents of Ghana who were forced to move from the northern region of the country to the capital, Accra, because local conditions no longer supported their farming practices. Also, respondents expressed nostalgia and sadness for the home left behind and helplessness due to changes in their environments, such as deforestation, that were described as sad and scary.

Loss of autonomy and control

Climate change will intensify certain daily life inconveniences, which can have psychological impacts on individuals’ sense of autonomy and control. The desire to be able to accomplish basic tasks independently is a core psychological need, central to human well-being, and basic services may be threatened due to dangerous conditions. This may make mobility a challenge, particularly for the elderly and those with disabilities. Exposure to unwanted change in one’s environment can also reduce one’s sense of control over one’s life, which, in turn, has negative impacts on mental health.

Loss of personal and occupational identity

A more fundamental loss is the loss of personal identity tied to mundane aspects of daily life. Losing treasured objects when a home is damaged or destroyed is one way in which climate change can significantly impair an individual’s sense of self and identity. This is because objects help provide a continuing sense of who we are, particularly objects that represent important moments in life (e.g., journals), relationships (e.g., gifts or photographs), or personal family history (e.g., family heirlooms). Interviewees in a study conducted by Carroll et al. (2009) indicated that flood victims were particularly troubled by the loss of personal possessions, such as things they had made themselves or special things they had spent time and effort to procure or maintain. Although this may seem acute, the losses are permanent; the impacts are persistent and therefore become chronic.

A loss of identity associated with climate change is also sometimes attributable to its effect on place-bound occupations. This is likely due to the close relationship between identity and place-based occupations, like farming and fishing. Because severe storms and high temperatures disrupt economic activity climate change may have an effect on occupational identity in general. Loss of occupation has been associated with increased risk of depression following natural disaster.

Helplessness, depression, fear, fatalism, resignation, and ecoanxiety

Gradual, long-term changes in climate can also surface a number of different emotions, including fear, anger, feelings of powerlessness, or exhaustion. A review by Coyle and Van Susteren (2011) described cases in which fear of extreme weather approaches the level of phobia and the “unrelenting day-by-day despair” that can be experienced during a drought. Watching the slow and seemingly irrevocable impacts of climate change unfold, and worrying about the future for oneself, children, and later generations, may be an additional source of stress. Albrecht (2011) and others have termed this anxiety ecoanxiety. Qualitative research provides evidence that some people are deeply affected by feelings of loss, helplessness, and frustration due to their inability to feel like they are making a difference in stopping climate change. Some writers stress the possible detrimental impact of guilt, as people contemplate the impact of their own behavior on future generations. Although the impacts of climate change are not always visible, they perpetuate a delayed destruction that, like the damage to climate, are incremental and can be just as damaging as acute climate impacts.

IMPACTS ON COMMUNITY AND SOCIETY

In addition to the effects on individual health and wellbeing, climate change affects how individuals interact in communities and relate to each other. For example, natural disasters can have a negative impact on community bonds. A changing climate will likely affect aspects of community wellbeing, including social cohesion, aggression, and social relationships.

SOCIAL COHESION AND COMMUNITY CONTINUITY

Compounded stress from climate change has been observed among various communities. For example, CunsoLo Willox et al. (2013) examined the impacts of climate change on a small Inuit COMMUNITY. Members of the community, who all reported a strong attachment to the land, said they had noticed changes in the local climate and that these changes contributed to negative effects on themselves. As a result of altered interactions with the environment, community members reported food insecurity, sadness, anger, increased family stress, and a belief that their sense of self-worth and community cohesion had decreased. Elders expressed specific concern for the preservation of Inuit language and culture as they directly influence mental wellbeing and social cohesion.

Social cohesion and social capital can protect communities against mental and physical health impacts during a climate related disaster. Regardless of socioeconomic or cultural backgrounds, communities with high levels of social capital and community leadership experience the quickest recoveries after a disaster and the highest satisfaction with community rebuilding.

When locaI conditions become practically uninhabitable, ecomigration, leading to environmental refugees, can result. Such migrations erode social networks, as communities disperse in different directions. Because social networks provide important practical and emotional resources that are associated with health and wellbeing, the loss of such networks places people’s sense of continuity and belonging at risk. The current Syrian conflict, which has resulted in mass migration, may partially stem from climate change driven precipitation changes, rising mean sea levels, and a decrease in soil moisture. These climate impacts were exacerbated during the drought from 2007 to 2010 due to human disruptions within natural systems, leading to crop failure and large-scale conflict, hunger, and desperation. Although such civil unrest cannot be attributed to a single cause, recent evidence suggests climate-change caused drought may have played a significant role in the unraveling of an already vulnerable political and ecological climate.

AGGRESSION

Heightened anxiety and uncertainty about one’s own future can reduce the ability to focus on the needs of others, negatively impacting social relationships with friends and co-workers, as well as attitudes toward other people in general.

Interpersonal violence

High temperatures associated with climate change may increase people‘s aggressive tendencies. Aggression can also be exacerbated by decreased access to stress reducing green spaces and supportive social networks. Rising levels of frustration in society consequently lead to interpersonal aggression (such as domestic violence, assault, and rape). Ranson (2012) calculated that between 2010 and 2099, climate change would cause an estimated additional 30,000 murders, 200,000 cases of rape, and 3.2 million burglaries due to increased average temperatures.

Intergroup aggression

Climate change may increase conflict through several mechanisms. Violence may increase when competition for scarce natural resources increases or when ecomigration brings formerly separate communities into contact and they compete for resources, like jobs and land. In a recent metaanalysis, Hsiang, Burke, and Miguel (2013) found evidence that climate change can contribute to the frequency of intergroup violence (ie. political conflict and war). For example, in Houston, Texas, crime rates increased significantly following Hurricane Katrina, although Katrina migrants have not been definitively sourced as the cause. Meanwhile, restraints on crime weaken when existing social institutions are disrupted, thus increasing the probability of criminal behavior. For example, when government resources are devoted to damaged infrastructure from natural disasters, those resources may be diverted away from criminal justice systems, mental health agencies, and educational institutions, all of which tend to help mitigate crime. Agnew (2012) further pointed out that the effects of climate chanqe are likely to promote crime by “increasing strain, reducing social control, and weakening social support.”

Intergroup attitudes can also be negatively impacted by climate change. In a recent study, survey respondents displayed more negative attitudes toward policies to support minorities and immigrants when temperatures were high. An experimental study showed that people who were thinking about climate change became more hostile to individuals outside their social group (that is, people they consider to be unlike them) and more likely to support the status quo and its accompanying social inequities. Hostility toward individuals outside one’s social group can be a way of affirming one’s own group identity in the face of a perceived threat. In a vicious cycle, lower levels of social cohesion and connectedness, greater social inequalities, lack of trust between community members and for institutions, and other factors that inhibit community members from working together are associated with intergroup aggression.

THE PROBLEM OF INEQUITY

The impacts of climate change are not distributed equally. Some people will experience natural disasters firsthand, some will be affected more gradually over time, and some will experience only indirect impacts. This section describes some of the populations that are more vulnerable to the mental health impacts of climate change, including people who live in risk-prone areas, indigenous communities, low-income groups, certain communities of color, women, children, older adults, and people with disabilities or chronic illnesses. A thorough review of demographic differences in vulnerability to climate change can be found in Dodqen et al. (2016).

RISK-PRONE AREAS

Communities in which people’s livelihoods are directly tied to the natural environment, through agriculture, fishing, or tourism, are at greater risk. Some parts of the world are geologically more vulnerable to storms, rising seas, wildfires, or drought. There are detailed reports of farmers in Australia who have been negatively affected by prolonged periods of drought caused by changing weather patterns. Additionally, communities in low-lying areas, such as coastal Louisiana and islands in the Chesapeake Bay, are losing their land to erosion and rising seas. This past year, residents of Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana, became the first climate refugees in the United States; a $48 million budget was allocated to relocate residents to a less flood-prone area, inhabitants of indigenous communities often depend on natural resources for their livelihoods and are located in geographically vulnerable regions.

Communities that lack resources, both physical and financial, can experience climate impacts more severely. This can be demonstrated by higher incidents of extreme weather within impoverished communities. In disasters, socioeconomically disadvantaged communities often suffer the most. For example, following Hurricane Sandy, lower income residents reported weak or absent social support networks and had the greatest percentages of severe mental distress and diagnosis of depression or anxiety after the hurricane. Furthermore, 35% of children living in a household that earns less than $20,000 annually experienced feelings of sadness, depression, fear, or nervousness following the hurricane.

INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES

Indigenous communities are at risk of losing their cultural heritage, as well as their homes. Imperiled indigenous communities are found around the world, including the United States. In Alaska, for example, some native Alaskans have seen their villages literally vanish due to the thawing permafrost, and others are facing a similar outcome in the near future. For indigenous communities, climate change may threaten not oniy their physical home but also their lifestyle, including access to traditional food and culturally meaningful practices. Chief Albert Naquin of a Louisiana tribal community threatened by climate change stated, ”We’re going to lose all our heritage, all our culture”. Cunsolo, Willox et al. (2013) reviewed case studies of several Inuit communities and reported weakening social networks, increased levels of conflict, and significant stress associated with relocation or even thinking about relocation. In evocative language, Inuit community members interviewed by Durkalec et al. (2015) reported that an inability to go out on the sea ice (due to a changing climate) would make them feel like they “have no health” and ”can’t breathe,“ and they would ”be very sad,” “be lost,” or ”go crazy”.

The loss of any community is tragic, but the impact on native communities is particularly notable because it diminishes the cultural heritage and because indigenous communities are often defined by a special connection to the natural environment. This connection includes traditional patterns of behavior and environmental knowledge about the specific local ecosystem, knowledge that is disappearing, and about how to adapt to changing environments that could help us as a broader society as we adapt to the consequences of climate change.

CHILDREN AND INFANTS

Climate change has a big impact on young people. Children are more vulnerable to many of the effects due to their small size, developing organs and nervous systems, and rapid metabolisms. Children are more sensitive to temperature, because their physiological regulatory systems may be less effective (e.g., they sweat less) and because they are more likely to depend on others to help them regulate their behavior. Their small size makes very young children more susceptible to dehydration, and children under age five living in poverty represent 80% of victims of sanitation-related illnesses and diarrheal disease.

Climate impacts may have long-term and even permanent effects, such as changing the developmental potential and trajectory of a child. Currie and Almond (2011) reviewed evidence that even minor disturbances during childhood may have effects on health and earning potential that last into adulthood. Studies have shown that children who experience a flood or a drought during key developmental periods are shorter, on average, as adults. Fetuses are vulnerable to heat waves, with research shows that exposure to heat waves especially during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy leads to a lower average birth weight and possibly a greater incidence of preterm birth. Malnourishment or severe threat to health during the early years is associated with fewer years of schooling and reduced economic activity as adults, as well as with behavioral and motor problems and reduced IQ. Additionally, early exposure to disease provoked by climate change can have a major and permanent impact on neurological development, as can be dramatically seen in children exposed prenatally to the Zika virus.

Children can experience PTSD and depression following traumatic or stressful experiences with more severity and prevalence than adults. After climate events, children typically demonstrate more severe distress than adults. Furthermore, the prevalence of distress is also higher; higher rates of PTSD were found in children two years after a flood. Children’s mental health can also be affected not only by their experiences of stressors, such as natural disasters, extreme weather, and ecomigration, but also by the mental health of their caregivers. Children also have the potential to be emotionally affected if they become separated from their primary caregivers. Similar to physical experiences, traumatic mental experiences can have lifelong effects. Of course, early childhood is critical for brain development. Studies have documented that high levels of stress during childhood can affect the development of neural pathways, in ways that impair memory, executive function, and decision-making in later life.

Children are also at increased risk from disruptions to the educational system. Natural disasters, in particular can damage or destroy schools or make them inaccessible to teachers and students. After Hurricane Katrina, for example, 196,000 public school students had to change schools, and many of them missed a month or more of schooling. In this case, because the hardest-hit school districts were also some of the worst-performing ones, some students benefitted by transferring to better schools. However the effects on school achievement were negative.

Disasters may cause children to lose their social support networks to a greater extent. During adversity, people draw upon all of their personal resources, emotional and material. Although social networks can fill the gaps when individual resources become depleted during extreme trauma, the resources available from a tight-knit community may not go far, especially if the network is small or the community is poor. When disasters hit an area, they affect everyone and put entire neighborhoods in need of help. A study of children impacted by Hurricane Katrina found that those who were hit hardest by the storm also experienced less social support, likely because people in their immediate support network were themselves suffering.

DISADVANTAGED COMMUNITIES

Some communities of color are prone to experience increased impacts. A persistent reality in American culture is the existence of environmental injustice: Some racial and ethnic groups tend to be more exposed to environmental risks and to have fewer financial and political resources to buffer the impact. This is partly, but not completely, explained by economic status. Communities with fewer resources and greater exposure, for example, in Phoenix, Arizona, are likely to experience greater rates of high temperature impacts than majority groups. Lower-income communities are more likely to have outdated infrastructure, such as a lack of extreme weather warning systems, inadequate storm surge preparedness, and clogged or inadequate storm sewer systems, which places these communities at greater risk for the impacts of climate change. Areas with a high number of residents who lack access to health care or health insurance, or already experience poor health are more likely to be affected by climate change. Communities are also less resilient when they are weakened by social stressors, such as racism, economic inequality, and environmental injustices. Many of the communities in New Orleans that were affected by Hurricane Katrina possessed all of these characteristics, and the effects of racial disparities were clearly visible in the aftermath of the storm.

OCCUPATIONAL GROUPS

Certain lines and fields of work are more directly exposed to the impact of climate change. These occupations may include but not be limited to first responders, construction workers, health care workers, farmers, farm workers, fishermen, transportation workers, and utility workers. Inequitable health outcomes may arise directly through workers’ exposure to increased temperatures, air pollution, and extreme weather, and indirectly through vector-borne diseases, increased use of pesticides, and many other elements. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, outdoor workers will be the first to endure the effects of climate change, as they will be exposed to extreme heat, which can cause heat stroke, exhaustion, and fatigue. As natural disasters occur more frequently, such as wildfires and flooding, firefighters and paramedics face increased safety risks. Agricultural workers face increased vulnerability to allergens, insects carrying diseases, such as West Nile, and pesticide exposure that are increased by changing weather and insect migration patterns.

ADDITIONAL POPULATIONS OF CONCERN

Individuals of all ages with disabilities or chronic mental or physical health issues may experience climate-related impacts at a greater extent. Often, people living with disabilities have disproportionately far lower access to aid during and after climate-related disasters. Those with mental health disorders can also experience exacerbated symptoms due to natural disasters. Degraded infrastructure creates barriers for people with mental illnesses to receive proper medical attention, leading to additional negative mental and physical health outcomes. For instance, following the 2012 Wisconsin heat wave, 52% of all heat-related deaths were among individuals with at least one mental illness. Half of those suffering from mental illness were taking psychotropic medications, which impede one’s ability to regulate one’s body temperature. These medications that treat mental illness are one of the main underlying causes of heat-related deaths. Additionally, those suffering from ongoing asthma and respiratory illnesses, like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), are more sensitive to reduced air quality. Moreover, inequalities in the incidence of those who are chronically ill arise as a result of several socioeconomic factors.

Due to increased health and mobility challenges, the elderly are very susceptible to the risks of climate impacts. Higher rates of untreated depression and other physical illnesses reported among seniors contribute to this increased vulnerability. Research suggests the elderly, in particular, experience declines in cognitive ability when exposed to air pollution over the long ter. A study by Dominelii (2013) found that when infrastructure broke down (e.g., roads were impassable) due to floods. heat waves, or freeze-thaw events (all potentially climate-driven), formal care services were not available to vulnerable people, such as the elderly. They could not get to the services, and their normal services could not come through. Heat can have a particuIarly severe impact on the elderly and on people with pre-existing mental health problems; some of the medications associated with mental illness make people more susceptible to the effects of heat. Extreme temperatures or pollution can also make it more difficult for seniors to engage in regular outdoor activities, thus depriving them of the associated physical and mental benefits.

The stress directly related to supporting a child makes women more affected by climate change. Because of a mother’s frequent caregiver role, and because, on average, women have fewer economic resources than men, women may also be more affected, in general, by the stress and trauma of natural disasters. Possible loss of resources, such as food, water, shelter, and energy, may also contribute to personal stress. Epidemiological studies of post-disaster cohorts and the general population, suggest that women are more likely to experience mental health problems as a result of trauma. For example, the prevalence of PTSD in the general population is reported to be approximately twofold greater in women than in men.

BUILDING RESILIENCE

Developing plans to adapt and cope is critical in addressing the physical and psychological impacts of climate change. Resilience can be defined as the ability of a person (or a community) to cope with, grow through, and transcend adversity.

Climate change is no longer a distant, unimaginable threat; it is a growing reality for communities across the globe. Recognizing the risk, many local governments in the United States (as well as other places around the world) have created preparation or adaptation plans for shoring up physical infrastructure to withstand new weather and temperature extremes. These plans, while an important step, generally overlook the psycho-social impacts of a changing climate and do little to create or support the soft infrastructure needed for community psychological wellbeing. How can communities prepare themselves to minimize suffering and promote resilience in the face of the challenging impacts of climate change? Resilient communities can create the physical and social infrastructure that makes them less susceptible to negative effects.

On an individual level, resilience is built internally and externally through strategies, such as coping and self-regulation, and community social support networks. Most people come through adversity with positive adjustment and without psychopathology. In fact, some individuals may even experience what is called post-traumatic growth and come through a significant disruption with the feeling of having gained something positive, such as stronger social relationships or spectfic skills.

Even so, much can be done to increase the resilience capacity of individuals and communities, particularly in response to climate change.

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Electric food, the new scifi diet that could save our planet – George Monbiot.

The most important environmental action we can take is to reduce the area of land and sea used by farming and fishing. This means, above all, switching to a plant-based diet: research published in the journal Science shows that cutting out animal products would reduce the global requirement for farmland by 76%. It would also give us a fair chance of feeding the world. Grass-fed meat, contrary to popular belief, is no alternative: it is an astonishingly wasteful use of vast tracts of land that would otherwise support wildlife and wild ecosystems.

Could we go beyond even a plant-based diet? Could we go beyond agriculture itself? What if, instead of producing food from soil, we were to produce it from air? What if, instead of basing our nutrition on photosynthesis, we were to use electricity to fuel a process whose conversion of sunlight into food is 10 times more efficient?

This sounds like science fiction, but it is already approaching commercialisation. For the past year, a group of Finnish researchers has been producing food without either animals or plants. Their only ingredients are hydrogen-oxidising bacteria, electricity from solar panels, a small amount of water, carbon dioxide drawn from the air, nitrogen and trace quantities of minerals such as calcium, sodium, potassium and zinc. The food they have produced is 50% to 60% protein; the rest is carbohydrate and fat. They have started a company (Solar Foods) that seeks to open its first factory in 2021. This week it was selected as an incubation project by the European Space Agency.

. . .

The Guardian

Where the Water Wars of the future will be fought – Paul Ratner * An innovative approach to the assessment of hydro-political risk – F. Farinosia.

A new study from the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) paints a disturbing picture of a nearby future where people are fighting over access to water. These post-apocalyptic sounding “water wars” could rise as a result of climate change and population growth and could become real soon enough if we don’t take steps to prevent them.

The study finds that serious conflicts over water are going to arise around the globe. The 5 hotspots identified by the paper include areas of the Nile, Ganges-Brahmaputra, Indus, Tigris-Euphrates, and Colorado rivers.

It’s still possible to change course if we are prepared to address the effects of climate change.

Likelihood of hydro-political issues among the main transboundary basins (transboundary basin borders in black, non-transboundary areas shaded).

Big Think

An innovative approach to the assessment of hydro-political risk:

A spatially explicit, data driven indicator of hydro-political issues.

F. Farinosia

Abstract

Competition over limited water resources is one of the main concerns for the coming decades. Although water issues alone have not been the sole trigger for warfare in the past, tensions over freshwater management and use represent one of the main concerns in political relations between riparian states and may exacerbate existing tensions, increase regional instability and social unrest.

Previous studies made great efforts to understand how international water management problems were addressed by actors in a more cooperative or confrontational way. In this study, we analyze what are the pre-conditions favoring the insurgence of water management issues in shared water bodies, rather than focusing on the way water issues are then managed among actors. We do so by proposing an innovative analysis of past episodes of conflict and cooperation over transboundary water resources (jointly defined as “hydro-political interactions”).

On the one hand, we aim at highlighting the factors that are more relevant in determining water interactions across political boundaries. On the other hand, our objective is to map and monitor the evolution of the likelihood of experiencing hydro-political interactions over space and time, under changing socioeconomic and biophysical scenarios, through a spatially explicit data driven index.

Historical cross-border water interactions were used as indicators of the magnitude of corresponding water joint-management issues. These were correlated with information about river basin freshwater availability, climate stress, human pressure on water resources, socioeconomic conditions (including institutional development and power imbalances), and topographic characteristics. This analysis allows for identification of the main factors that determine water interactions, such as water availability, population density, power imbalances, and climatic stressors.

The proposed model was used to map at high spatial resolution the probability of experiencing hydro-political interactions worldwide. This baseline outline is then compared to four distinct climate and population density projections aimed to estimate trends for hydro-political interactions under future conditions (2050 and 2100), while considering two greenhouse gases emission scenarios (moderate and extreme climate change).

The combination of climate and population growth dynamics is expected to impact negatively on the overall hydro-political risk by increasing the likelihood of water interactions in the transboundary river basins, with an average increase ranging between 74.9% (2050 – population and moderate climate change) to 95% (2100 – population and extreme climate change).

Future demographic and climatic conditions are expected to exert particular pressure on already water stressed basins such as the Nile, the Ganges/Brahmaputra, the Indus, the Tigris/Euphrates, and the Colorado.

The results of this work allow us to identify current and future areas where water issues are more likely to arise, and where cooperation over water should be actively pursued to avoid possible tensions especially under changing environmental conditions.

From a policy perspective, the index presented in this study can be used to provide a sound quantitative basis to the assessment of the Sustainable Development Goal 6, Target 6.5 “Water resources management”, and in particular to indicator 6.5.2 “Transboundary cooperation”.

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Conclusion

In this paper, we presented an innovative analysis of the past hydro-political issues in international river basins and their determinants through the application of the Random Forest regression algorithm. Our analysis had two main goals: highlighting the factors that are more relevant in determining the hydro-political interactions, capturing also the non-linear relations between the main drivers; and producing a tool able to map and monitor the evolution of the hydro-political risk over space and time, under specific socioeconomic and biophysical scenarios.

We did that by designing an empirically estimated, data-driven, and spatially explicit global index of the magnitude of hydro-political issues. The factors that were found to be more relevant in determining hydro-political interactions were mainly represented by, respectively: population density, water availability (quantified through the Falkenmark index), upstream/downstream dynamics (represented by the flow accumulation), with territorial (area difference) and power imbalance (Composite Index of National Capability – CINC), and climatic conditions. Current climatic and socioeconomic conditions were used to design a baseline scenario of the distribution of the likelihood of hydro-political interactions. This output allows us to map the spatial distribution of the areas within the basins where water management issues are more likely to rise under current conditions.

Among the basins found to be more likely to experience water issues in this study, some were already identified as basin at risk in previous analyses, namely: Ganges/Brahmaputra, Pearl/Bei Jiang, Nile, Feni (or Fenney), Indus, Colorado, Tarim, Shatt al-Arab – Tigris/Euphrates, Hari, and Irrawaddy. The hereby proposed index adds the possibility to identify the most critical areas within the basin boundaries.

The baseline scenario was then compared to four distinct climate and population density projections, designed by combining the most updated bias corrected and spatially detailed climate and the most recent estimates of the future population changes. The results of this work allow the identification of the areas where water interactions are more likely to arise under present and upcoming conditions, and cooperation over water should be pursued to avoid possible hydro-political tensions. Future demographic and climatic conditions are expected to heavily increase the probability of experiencing water management issues in already stressed basins, such as the Nile, the Indus, the Colorado, the Feni, the Irrawaddy, the Orange, and the Okavango.

One of the characteristics of the analysis presented is that we chose not to make a distinction between past episodes of cooperation and dispute over water, using them collectively as water interactions, a measure of the magnitude of the associated water issue. This was motivated by the fact that water disputes had virtually never ended in violent conflicts, at least in the most recent historical eras, and by the consideration that the classification of positive (cooperative) and negative (conflictive) interactions in the event databases has often been arbitrary and ambiguous.

Our focus was then more oriented towards understanding the preconditions increasing the likelihood of experiencing hydro-political interactions due to emerging water management issues. More than being exhaustive, our approach tends to boost the interest in the hydro-political field of study, by offering a new perspective through the application of a methodology that had never been considered before in this kind of analyses, dealing with aspects that are different by the only institutional resilience, and by exploring the possibility of creating a spatially explicit interactive tool able to assist stakeholders and policy makers in dealing with water related issues in different socioeconomic and climatic contexts through the analysis of what-if scenarios. Future studies could further develop the instrument by integrating updated socioeconomic, biophysical, and demographic projections.

The difficulties and the limitations encountered in this process were multiple. Beside the logical constraints that every global analysis has, as the other studies in this field, this work is affected by limitations in data availability. Water events database are extremely hard and expensive to collect and to manage. Data collection is mostly conducted through the application of mining algorithms operating in the news databases available only in the most widely spoken western languages. For this reason, the available datasets are necessarily biased and incomplete. Their temporal coverage is very limited, only eleven years in our case, and the sub-national geographic characterizations of the specific water related events is, in the majority of the cases, not considered. These particular factors make very difficult to apply the existing datasets for the development of spatially explicit interactive decision makingtools.

As stated above, the index presented in this paper could be applied for the Agenda 2030 monitoring activities and in particular for Target 6.5 – Water Resources Management, where the only indicator regarding hydro-political dynamics used is the 6.5.2 Proportion of transboundary basin area with an operational arrangement for water cooperation. This is an indicator capturing mainly the institutional resilience in transboundary basins, with no consideration for the other determining factors specifically analyzed in this study. Therefore, the use of the proposed index could provide a substantial contribution to move from the mere recording of facts, to the understanding of phenomena the mechanisms behind them, which are prerequisites for identification of effective sustainability policies.

As noted already in previous global analyses (Bernauer and Böhmelt, 2014; De Stefano et al., 2017; Yoffe et al., 2003), the results of this study should be intended to be an indicator of the areas that might require closer investigation under present and possible upcoming scenarios. We recommend to further explore the development of this analysis in regional or sub-regional contexts where more detailed data is available.

Future research will be focused in specific transnational river basins in developing countries where potential water stress, exacerbated by climate change and variability, rapid population growth, and unsustainable development could be further destabilizing factors for the already tumultuous political context.

Science Direct

NZ takes home ‘Fossil of the Day’ awards at COP22. 

New Zealand has been labelled a hypocrite, yet again, for its lack of action on climate change.

At the 22nd annual UN Climate Change Conference in Marrakech (COP22), the Climate Action Network awarded New Zealand two Fossil of the Day awards for blocking action on climate change.

NewsHub 

“Before the Flood – National Geographic & Leonardo DiCaprio”

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