How are Travel Plans in Germany Affected by Climate Change?

by Chris Choi

Claudia Schwirplies and Andreas Ziegler (2016) examine the effects of climate change on German tourism and the demand on the tourism market. For example, climate change can lead to higher temperatures and may threaten the attractiveness of certain holiday attractions. To make holiday activities more diverse, investors must shift where they put their money. However, this will result in multiple costs to the investment sector. Overall, Schwirplies and Ziegler seek to improve the comprehension of the multiple effects and defects of adaptation to climate change and tourism by conducting a study examining the German population’s travel habits. Continue reading

Overcoming The North-South Divide in Climate Change Research and Policy

by Claudia Chandra

Nature Climate Change published a research paper in January 2017 by Malgorzata Blicharska and her associates from countries including Brazil, Kenya, Sweden, South Africa and India. The paper discusses the global North-South divide in climate change research, policy and practice, which originates from the Southern countries’ smaller capacity to undertake research. Countries are categorized into either “Northern” (members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development such as Europe, North America, East Asia and Australasia) or “Southern” (lower income economies such as Asia, Latin America and Africa.) The report highlights how the disparities that exist between Northern and Southern countries, in terms of science and knowledge, will become a greater hindrance to the development and practice of effective climate change reduction actions and policies. The researchers explore the extent of this particular North-South divide, study the underlying issues associated with it, and examine the potential consequences for climate change policy development and implementation. Continue reading

Indications of Positive Feedback in Climate Change Due to a Reduction in Northern Hemisphere Biomass Uptake of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide

by Alexander Brown

It is commonly understood that ecosystems have been taking up more carbon dioxide (CO2) as the concentration of atmospheric CO2 increases and the climate changes. The progressive increase in CO2 uptake by terrestrial ecosystems is generally thought to continue until 2030, when the trend is expected to reverse due to ecosystem damage. However, Dr. James C. Curran and Dr. Samuel A. Curran (2016) have found evidence that the trend may have already begun to reverse. They base this on analysis of the atmospheric CO2 measurements taken between 1958 and 2015 from the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii, known as the Keeling Curve. These data show a continual rise in atmospheric CO2 levels within a pattern of intra-annual fluctuation. The intra-annual fluctuation consists of decreased atmospheric CO2 levels throughout the summer months (Northern Hemisphere), and increased atmospheric CO2 throughout the rest of the year. Continue reading

The Largely Unacknowledged Impact of Climate Change on Mental Health

by Ellen Broaddus

Eva and Robert Gifford (2016) assess the relationship between climate change and mental health, looking at the environmental causes, effects, and social factors, the individuals and communities that are most vulnerable, and possible solutions. This largely untouched field of climate change research traces many of today’s physical and mental diseases to the environmental uncertainty and fear-driven anger caused by both drastic and incremental weather pattern changes. The most ubiquitous link emphasized the increase in climate-connected psychological responses: citing floods and droughts accompanying “anxiety, shock, depression, sleep disruptions”, and heat waves being linked to increases in “homicide, suicide, and spousal abuse”. In addition to these short-term reactions, environmental insecurity has led to long-term consequences, especially in children. Recently there has been a rise of respiratory conditions and asthma as a result of air pollution, causing anxiety for children and their families. The link between natural disasters and prevalence of social withdrawal and PTSD has been shown to alter the stress responses of adolescents, putting them at “higher risk for later health challenges”. Continue reading

Ecological Networks are more Sensitive to Plant than to Animal Extinction under Climate Change

by Leta Ames

There is a growing need for climate change models that can accurately represent not only the effects on individual species, but also the interactions and compounding effects within ecosystems. These interactions between species form different “mutualistic networks”. Schleuning et al. (2016) modeled the impact of individual species’ responses to climate change in plant-animal mutualistic networks. Specifically, climatic tolerance of 295 plant species, in eight pollinator networks and five seed-disperser networks in unique areas of central Europe were used to understand the relationship between sensitivity to climate change, climatic niche breadth, and biotic specializations. Continue reading

China Enters the Climate Change World

by Jason Yi

In early 2017, journalist Edward Wong wrote an article that analyzed China’s stance on climate change. Earlier, Donald J. Trump made the statement that climate change is a “hoax” produced by China and expressed his desire to leave the global Paris Agreement which takes the initiative in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Wong mentions that in previous years under president Obama’s term, America pressured China to supply accurate annual coal consumption data. However, with Trump’s desire to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, Wong believes that China will quickly lose its current aspiration to provide such accurate information. In the past, China has only submitted two coal consumption estimates for the years 1994 and 2005 while other nations have submitted three or more. Furthermore, on the previous census, China’s coal powered energy use was 12–14% higher than the last estimate and in these censuses, it was evident that there existed consistent differences between provincial and national levels. Continue reading

The Motion to Mitigate Climate Change through Emotional Stories

by Annette Wong

As the environmental advisor to the British Government, and a co-organizer of the UN climate change summit, Alex Evans has a unique theory on why the Paris environmental summit far exceeded the success of the Copenhagen summit. Evans suggests that environmentalists and green activists in the Danish summit attempted to present climate change issues with “pie­charts, acronyms and statistics”, what he thought was a boring and unengaging approach. When the Paris summit begun, it seemed that environmentalists understood that the most effective way to promote the urgency of climate change was through narrating personal stories in hopes of evoking emotion. Continue reading