Multidisciplinary Approaches Necessary to a Changing Climate

by Charlotte Morrissey

Grasso et al. (2015) argue in a piece introducing the Special Issue of Climatic Change that any non-multidisciplinary approach to the problems climate change is causing will leave the issue with far fewer solutions than are readily available. This piece looks at the many necessary ways that climate change needs to be considered. It encourages using a different lens and looking carefully at it as an ethical issue. Poorer nations are currently taking the brunt of higher global temperature issues, yet they are the least equipped to combat these changes. The developed countries need to help fund adaptations in developing nations, but to what extent? Developed nations are trapped in their own billion-dollar efforts to fight the ever more apparent effects of climate change. Continue reading

The Most Effective Way to Deal with Climate Change


by Brina Jablonski     

A major issue for America is the lack of public interaction and engagement on the matter of climate change. Although most people are educated in climate changes’ causes, impacts, and solutions, many still refuse to take action and instead ignore the problem at hand. Communication researchers believe that outlining climate change in terms of public health could be a more effective method for convincing the community that climate change truly is a serious concern.

In 2010, a study was conducted to evaluate the most successful way to reach out to American citizens about climate change. The test involved dividing subjects into six different categories ranging from most concerned and motivated subjects to the least concerned and least motivated subjects. The six categories were labeled as alarmed, concerned, cautious, disengaged, doubtful, and dismissive. Subjects were classified by their previous knowledge and reaction to climate change. The testing itself required the subjects to read three distinctly framed news articles that highlighted the risks to either public health, environment, or national security due to climate change and the benefits of taking action. The subjects were then asked to underline which sentences in the article made them feel hopeful versus angry. Continue reading

Is the IPCC as Interdisciplinary as it Should Be?

by Emil Morhardt

Sibling 2011 scientiometric (bibliometric) analyses of the IPCC Third Assessment Report (TAR) (Bjurström and Polk 2011a, b) ask questions about how interdisciplinary—as opposed to how multidisciplinary—the IPCC is in considering the state of climate change research, and the degree to which consideration of the natural scientific evidence and its economic consequences outweighs any other considerations. If each chapter were confined to a single discipline, say ice core analysis, but there were many chapters covering different types of studies, that would be perfect multidisciplinarity—at least over the range of disciplines covered—and zero interdisciplinarity. After characterizing the disciplinary content of 96 journals that were each cited 12 times or more (a total of 6417 technical papers were involved), the authors concluded that this was more-or less the case. Each chapter stayed well within its disciplinary constraints. The scientists in each discipline have their noses to the grindstone and are leaving the research in other disciplines to others. Furthermore, except for a smattering of economics, there is not much other than natural science under consideration (although medicine and energy, both of which received significant coverage might be considered as outside the realm of the natural sciences.) The only fields that looked as though they might be interdisciplinary, based on the dispersion of topics in individual journals, were in journals with the words “environmental”, “ecological”, or “policy” in their titles. Since these journals are specifically trying to attract papers that cross two disciplines, it is good that at least some of them received at least 12 citations. Continue reading