Category Archives: Climate Change

The determinants of vulnerability and adaptive capacity at the national level (N. Brooks, W. Neil Adver and P. Mick Kelly)

Author(s)

Nick Brooks, W. Neil Adger and P. Mick Kelly

Keywords

Vulnerability; adaptive capacity; climate change and adaptation; climate related mortality; governance; civil and political rights.

Abstract

We present a set of indicators of vulnerability and capacity to adapt to climate variability, and by extension climate change, derived using a novel empirical analysis of data aggregated at the national level on a decadal timescale. The analysis is based on a conceptual framework in which risk is viewed in terms of outcome, and is a function of physically defined climate hazards and socially constructed vulnerability. Climate outcomes are represented by mortality from climate-related disasters, using the emergency events database data set, statistical relationships between mortality and a shortlist of potential proxies for vulnerability are used to identify key vulnerability indicators. We find that 11 key indicators exhibit a strong relationship with decadally aggregated mortality associated with climate-related disasters. Validation of indicators, relationships between vulnerability and adaptive capacity, and the sensitivity of subsequent vulnerability assessments to different sets of weightings are explored using expert judgment data, collected through a focus group exercise. The data are used to provide a robust assessment of vulnerability to climate-related mortality at the national level, and represent an entry point to more detailed explorations of vulnerability and adaptive capacity. They indicate that the most vulnerable nations are those situated in sub-Saharan Africa and those that have recently experienced conflict. Adaptive capacity—one element of vulnerability—is associated predominantly with governance, civil and political rights, and literacy.

Citation

(2005) 15 Global Environmental Change, 151.

Paper

The determinants of vulnerability and adaptive capacity at the national level and the implications for adaptation.

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Facing Down the Hydro-Crisis (P. Gleick)

Author

Peter Gleick

Keywords

Global water crisis, climate change, increasing demand, shrinking supply, transboundary water management, international arbiters, conflicts

Abstract

Peter Gleick warns of a global water crisis “of a magnitude unlike any before in human history.” Shrinking supply, increasing demand, and climate change create an unprecedented urgency to act. Gleick lays out a series of proposals to address what he calls “the most critical resource issue facing humanity.” Avoiding a perpetual water crisis will require creative and innovative strategies to better harness the economic value of water, increase efficiency, and improve standards–through national commitments toward green building and rainwater harvesting. But across borders, writes Gleick, we need stronger water-management institutions and international arbiters to help avoid the cascade of impending conflicts over this diminishing resource.

Citation

(2009/2010) 26 World Policy Journal 17-23

Paper

Facing Down the Hydro-Crisis

Blog Post

Facing Down the Hydro-Crisis

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From Resource Scarcity to Ecological Security: Exploring New Limits… (D. Pirages and K. Cousins)

Author(s)

Dennis Pirages and Ken Cousins

Keywords

Resource scarcity, ecological security, environmental trends, population, water, food, energy, climate change, deforestation, biodiversity

Abstract

From Resource Scarcity to Ecological Security revisits the findings of The Global 2000 Report to the President—commissioned by President Jimmy Carter and released in 1980—and presents an up-to-date overview, informed by the earlier projections, of such critical topics as population, water, food, energy, climate change, deforestation, and biodiversity. It examines current environmental trends in order to consider the state of the global environment over the next thirty years and discusses what can be done now to achieve ecological security.

The contributors to From Resource Scarcity to Ecological Security find that the world population will likely continue to level off, but the population decline in many industrialized countries will create new socioeconomic and political problems—including the “reverse demographic shock” of disproportionately large aging populations. Although world food production is likely to increase at a rate that keeps up with population growth, greater demand in China as well as distributional issues will keep significant numbers of people malnourished. In addition to these continuing scarcity issues, ecological insecurity may increase because of new threats that include global warming, loss of biodiversity, bioinvasion, and the rapid worldwide spread of new diseases. Assessing Limits to Growth not only analyzes the nature of these impending problems but also suggests ways to solve them.

Citation

Dennis Pirages and Ken Cousins, From Resource Scarcity to Ecological Security
Exploring New Limits to Growth (MIT Press, 2005)

Book

From Resource Scarcity to Ecological Security: Exploring New Limits to Growth

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Refugees and forced migrants at the crossroads: forced migration in a changing world (J. Nassari)

Author

John Nassari.

Keywords

Immigration; climate change; conferences; migration; refugees

Abstract

Reports on the topics discussed at the 11th biannual Conference of the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration, Cairo, January 6-10, 2008, including: (1) the experiences of Palestinian refugees; (2) the link between climate change and forced migration; (3) identity issues for diasporic communities; (4) technology and forced migration; (5) forced migration in various jurisdictions; and (6) the scope and research methodology of forced migration studies.

Citation

(2009) 21(1) Journal of Refugee Studies, 1-10.

Paper

Refugees and forced migrants at the crossroads: forced migration in a changing world.

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Climate Change and Food Security: Adapting Agriculture to a Warmer World (D.B. Lobell and M. Burke)

Editor(s)

David B. Lobell
Marshall Burke

Keywords

Agriculture, climate change, food security, hunger, global warming

Abstract

Roughly a billion people around the world continue to live in state of chronic hunger and food insecurity. Unfortunately, efforts to improve their livelihoods must now unfold in the context of a rapidly changing climate, in which warming temperatures and changing rainfall regimes could threaten the basic productivity of the agricultural systems on which most of the world’s poor directly depend. But whether climate change represents a minor impediment or an existential threat to development is an area of substantial controversy, with different conclusions wrought from different methodologies and based on different data.

This book aims to resolve some of the controversy by exploring and comparing the different methodologies and data that scientists use to understand climate’s effects on food security. In explains the nature of the climate threat, the ways in which crops and farmers might respond, and the potential role for public and private investment to help agriculture adapt to a warmer world. This broader understanding should prove useful to both scientists charged with quantifying climate threats, and policy-makers responsible for crucial decisions about how to respond. The book is especially suitable as a companion to an interdisciplinary undergraduate or graduate level class.

Citation

David B. Lobell and Marshall Burke, Climate Change and Food Security: Adapting Agriculture to a Warmer World (Springer, 2010)

Book

Climate Change and Food Security: Adapting Agriculture to a Warmer World

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