In 1896 Svante Arrhenius published On the Influence of Carbonic Acid in the Air upon the Temperature of the Ground which laid out the foundation of how carbon dioxide affects global climate. His suggestion that global coal production (then 500 million tons per year) could be so disruptive has been verified, hastened by soaring fossil fuel consumption, including a 17-fold increase in coal…
Psychologists have known for years that people’s assessments of the risks of climate change are strongly influenced by intense local weather and short-term temperature variability. A new study by Zaval and colleagues identifies the psychological processes that underlie such skewed assessments which are inconsistent with the long-term nature of climate change.
Solving the world’s climate crisis requires collective action. Ideally, all nations would invest equally in new technologies and reductions of greenhouse gas emissions. In reality, some willingly commit resources to abate climate change while others take a free ride. Research published in Nature Climate Change attempts …
People’s views on climate change, whether believers or deniers, can be strongly entrenched and fiercely defended. But how do people’s views on climate change develop in the first place? Does personal experience with potentially climate change-related events (e.g., hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, droughts) shape people’s views on climate change (“experiential learning”), or do prior beliefs inform people’s interpretations of such events (“motivated reasoning”)? This intriguing chicken-or-egg question has recently been investigated in a paper by Myers and colleagues.
The internet’s vast quantities of information and its popularity among people all over the globe represent a tempting and enormous data pool for researchers. Political strategists, economists, and epidemiologists mine internet usage data to learn about human behaviors and cultural trends, producing interesting results (though sometimes flawed; see Butler 2013). Could scientists who study climate change use similar online data-mining tools to better understand and track the effects of climate change? A recent paper by Proulx and colleagues argues just that.
Resiliency is the theme of Pace University’s upcoming 15th annual land use conference. Defined as “ how systems and settlements stand up to shock from the outside…”1, resiliency is an appropriate organizational concept for a panel discussion on how communities might respond to the potentially shocking discovery of rich stores of gas shale beneath their land.
A central figure in the controversy over human-caused climate change has been “The Hockey Stick,” a simple, easy-to-understand graph my colleagues and I constructed to depict changes in Earth’s temperature back to 1000 AD. The graph was featured in the high-profile “Summary for Policy Makers” of the 2001 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and it quickly became an icon in the debate over human-caused (“anthropogenic”) climate change.