a chain of small islands

Climate action on small islands

This month, we focus on small island states and territories, highlighting research conducted on these islands and future steps to enhance climate research and action.

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  • It is important to understand the cost-effectiveness of natural regeneration and plantations, which are common reforestation methods for mitigation. The authors estimate and map abatement costs for the two approaches across low- and mid-income countries, helping to guide reforestation initiatives.

    • Jonah Busch
    • Jacob J. Bukoski
    • Jeffrey R. Vincent
    AnalysisOpen Access
  • The Southern Ocean takes up substantial amounts of heat and carbon. Here the authors show that it has historically accounted for a much greater proportion of global ocean heat uptake—and link this to aerosols depressing uptake in northern oceans—but that future heat and carbon uptake will become more comparable.

    • Richard G. Williams
    • Andrew J. S. Meijers
    • Pietro Salvi
    ArticleOpen Access
  • Climate change is increasing ocean temperature, particularly in the surface waters. Here the authors show that accelerated surface warming in the North Pacific in the past decade is driven by shoaling of the ocean mixed layer with some dampening by increased latent heat loss from the ocean.

    • Zeng-Zhen Hu
    • Michael J. McPhaden
    • Yunyun Liu
    Brief Communication
  • Tracking adaptation requires countries’ commitments as the baseline for measuring future progress. By analysing 65 African national adaptation documents, this research finds that most countries fail to provide internally consistent and operational plans, while efforts towards adequacy exist.

    • Andreea C. Nowak
    • Lucy Njuguna
    • Todd S. Rosenstock
    AnalysisOpen Access
  • Given the importance of crop breeding and adaptation for future food security, the authors investigate yield response of wheat cultivars under warming. They find low adaptation to recent warming and low phenotype stability across environments, with further reductions expected under future climates.

    • Wei Xiong
    • Matthew P. Reynolds
    • Feng Chen
  • The authors combine field data with models of coastal geomorphology and bird behaviour and dynamics to understand the impact of sea-level rise on shorebird populations. They show that habitat quality is already declining and that the current focus on habitat quantity loss can underestimate threats.

    • Martijn van de Pol
    • Liam D. Bailey
    • Bruno J. Ens
  • Currently, no comprehensive scientific methodology of corporate risk quantification, in response to new disclosure regulations, has been proposed in the literature. Here we develop fundamental principles that are important for the appropriate use of climate scenario science in transition risk assessments.

    • Fouad Khan
    • Edward Byers
    • Keywan Riahi
  • Projections of the future climate of small island states and territories are currently limited by the coarse resolution of models. We call for rapid global and regional cooperation to develop projections compatible with small island scales, providing relevant local information and decision-making tools.

    • Jason P. Evans
    • Ali Belmadani
    • Alexandre Peltier
  • Small island states and territories have been leading climate action in many ways. In this issue, we highlight climate change research conducted on large ocean islands and how science can improve to help them adapt to changing environments.

  • Adaptation evidence and knowledge are diverse and unequally represented in global adaptation discourse. The Adaptation Futures 2023 conference sought to bring this diversity together to advance more inclusive and impactful adaptation science, and confronted both the benefits and the trade-offs that this effort entails.

    • G. Cundill
    • B. Harvey
    • E. Totin
  • To accept carbon pricing, citizens desire viable alternatives to fossil fuel-based options. As inflation and higher interest rates have exacerbated access barriers for capital-intensive green substitutes, the political success of carbon pricing will be measured by how well policy design enables consumers to switch.

    • F. Funke
    • L. Mattauch
    • J. E. Stiglitz

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