Perspectives in 2014

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  • Those concerned with human responses to climate-related impacts increasingly use resilience as a framing concept. This Perspective critiques dominant approaches to resilience building and advocates a human livelihoods-based path.

    • Thomas Tanner
    • David Lewis
    • Frank Thomalla
  • The linkage of bottom-up climate policies is now widely favoured over the top-down approach exemplified by the Kyoto Protocol. This Perspective critiques this new received wisdom, and argues for a balance of top-down and bottom-up approaches.

    • Jessica F. Green
    • Thomas Sterner
    • Gernot Wagner
  • Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is an approach to the development of agricultural systems intended to help support food security under climate change. This Perspective outlines a set of CSA actions needed from public, private and civil society stakeholders: building evidence; increasing local institutional effectiveness; fostering coherence between climate and agricultural policies; and linking climate and agricultural financing.

    • Leslie Lipper
    • Philip Thornton
    • Emmanuel F. Torquebiau
  • Climate change research is necessarily interdisciplinary in nature. This Perspective takes stock of research done at the cutting edge of economics and ecology with the aim of stimulating future collaborative work through the sharing of research methods and insights.

    • Alessandro Tavoni
    • Simon Levin
  • Energy use is crucial for economic development, but drives greenhouse-gas emissions. A low-carbon growth path requires a radical transformation of the energy system that would be too costly for developing nations. Efforts should focus on feasible mitigation actions such as fossil fuel subsidy reform, decentralized access to modern energy and fuel switching in the power sector.

    • Michael Jakob
    • Jan Christoph Steckel
    • Ottmar Edenhofer
  • The development and implementation of measures aimed at climate change adaptation face many obstacles. This Perspective takes stock of current research on barriers to adaptation, and argues that more comparative research is now required to increase our in-depth understanding of barriers and to develop strategies to overcome them.

    • Klaus Eisenack
    • Susanne C. Moser
    • Catrien J. A. M. Termeer
  • Climate change will impact ocean plankton through changing resources, temperatures and ocean physical processes. This study discusses how climate change could affect the relationship between predators and prey, what it means for population abundunce — whether rapid cell division to form bloom events will occur — and how it could influence the ocean ecosystem.

    • Michael J. Behrenfeld
  • Future cumulative CO2 emissions consistent with a given warming limit are a finite common global resource that countries need to share — a carbon quota. Strategies to share a quota consistent with a 2 °C warming limit range from keeping the present distribution to reaching an equal per-capita distribution of cumulative emissions. This Perspective shows that a blend of these endpoints is the most viable solution.

    • Michael R. Raupach
    • Steven J. Davis
    • Corinne Le Quéré
  • How the global change science community is currently portraying the character and role of the social sciences and humanities is problematic, according to this Perspective. Measures needed to bring other visions and voices into the debate about global environmental change are identified.

    • Noel Castree
    • William M. Adams
    • Brian Wynne
  • The winter of 2013–14 witnessed severe flooding across much of the UK putting pressure on policy makers to improve future planning for periods of torrential rainfall. This Perspective puts the flooding in the context of historical records, critically examines a range of potential causes, and sets out research directions needed to achieve a definitive assessment on the possible human contribution to the flooding.

    • Chris Huntingford
    • Terry Marsh
    • Myles R. Allen
  • No-till agriculture is generally considered good for soils, and probably also beneficial in relation to climate change adaptation. However, this Perspective argues that the potential for climate change mitigation through soil carbon sequestration that is possible from a change to no-till agriculture has been widely overstated.

    • David S. Powlson
    • Clare M. Stirling
    • Kenneth G. Cassman
  • Marine systems around the world are increasingly affected by climate change. This Perspective describes emerging US initiatives aimed at enhancing ocean resilience to climate change. Ocean management issues that would benefit from more systematic consideration of climate information are identified, along with opportunities for advancing partnerships between scientists, policy makers and society to address ocean and climate issues.

    • Laura E. Petes
    • Jennifer F. Howard
    • Elizabeth K. Fly
  • Purposeful action leading to significant structural and/or functional changes — known as transformational adaptation — may be required to adapt agriculture to the changing climate. Now, research shows that strong access to knowledge and weak social ties (social capital) empowers individuals to plan and implement novel farming strategies and options.

    • Anne-Maree Dowd
    • Nadine Marshall
    • Mark Howden
  • 2014 is a critical year for preparing for the 2015 deadline to settle a new international agreement on measures to tackle climate change. This Perspective offers a number of compromises designed to help overcome the present impasse in global climate negotiations.

    • Marco Grasso
    • J. Timmons Roberts
  • Different estimates of the social cost of carbon make its translation to policy difficult. This Perspective evaluates past estimates of this cost and calculates a lower bound. Results show that dominant values for the social cost of carbon are gross underestimates and suggest that climate policy should be more stringent than previously proposed.

    • J. C. J. M. van den Bergh
    • W. J. W. Botzen
  • Scientists, educators and stakeholders are grappling with how best to approach climate change education for diverse audiences, given the persistent social controversy associated with it. This Perspective examines how socio-cultural learning theories inform climate change education for learners with varied understanding of and attitudes towards climate change.

    • Elizabeth M. Walsh
    • Blakely K. Tsurusaki