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Volume 12 Issue 1, January 2022

Carbon tariffs in question

The European Commission’s proposal for a border carbon adjustment mechanism to impose tariffs on emissions-intensive and trade-exposed industries (such as cement production) has received wide attention and has raised concerns. Writing in this issue, Böhringer and colleagues review the potential impact of border carbon adjustments on the environment and economy, and also discuss the challenges under the current legal and practical constraints.

See Böhringer et al.

Image: TTstudio / Alamy Stock Photo. Cover Design: Valentina Monaco


  • Climate change action is moving forward, with the outcomes from COP26 setting the agenda for governments to commit to. Actors in the private sector are also setting out commitments, and climate action looks to be gaining momentum across society and around the globe.



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  • To date, values are not widely acknowledged or discussed within physical climate science. Yet, effective management of values in physical climate science is required for the benefit of both science and society.

    • Karoliina Pulkkinen
    • Sabine Undorf
    • Erica Thompson
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Research Highlights

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News & Views

  • Flooding-adaptation studies often ignore unique social, cultural and institutional drivers. Now, research illuminates the drivers that are unique versus shared across socio-cultural contexts and adaptations, which vary in ease of implementation.

    • Robyn S. Wilson
    News & Views
  • The climate system may respond in different ways to reductions in atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Work now shows a delayed recovery (hysteresis) of the tropical rainbelt, with widespread implications for water resources.

    • Eduardo Moreno-Chamarro
    News & Views
  • As temperatures rise, plants unfold their leaves earlier in spring, but whether plant roots respond similarly is seldom quantified. Now, a meta-analysis suggests that leaf and root phenology do not respond to warming in the same way, even within the same plant types.

    • Gesche Blume-Werry
    News & Views
  • Climate change is threatening coral-reef-associated ecosystem services and people’s well-being. Addressing direct and indirect coral reef stressors while developing pathways towards recovery and adaptations could mitigate negative impacts, especially in coastal developing countries.

    • Stephanie D’Agata
    News & Views
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  • Net-zero emissions is more than a concept of physical climate science. It is implemented in social, political and economic contexts. This Perspective proposes seven attributes that are critical for the practical and effective implementation of net zero.

    • Sam Fankhauser
    • Stephen M. Smith
    • Thom Wetzer
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Review Articles

  • Border carbon adjustments are appraised as a measure to address carbon leakage and competitiveness concerns. This Review Article discusses the possible impacts, as well as practical challenges for implementation.

    • Christoph Böhringer
    • Carolyn Fischer
    • Thomas Fox Rutherford
    Review Article
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  • The context and motivation around adaptation are influenced by local culture and institutions. In the United States, China, Indonesia and the Netherlands, some factors (such as perceived costs) have similar influences on household adaptation to flooding, but others (such as flood experience) differ between countries.

    • Brayton Noll
    • Tatiana Filatova
    • Alessandro Taberna
  • In idealized model experiments where CO2 increases four-fold before returning to its original level, temperature and precipitation show almost linear responses to CO2 forcing. In contrast, the response of the Intertropical Convergence Zone lags behind CO2 changes, associated with delayed energy exchanges.

    • Jong-Seong Kug
    • Ji-Hoon Oh
    • Jongsoo Shin
  • Land degradation in drylands impacts livelihoods and productivity and is affected by biocrusts that stabilize the soil. Long-term experiments show that biocrust recovery from disturbance is faster than expected, but stopped under warming, with warming alone causing loss of biocrust groups and soil stability.

    • M. L. Phillips
    • B. E. McNellis
    • S. C. Reed
  • The authors incorporate intraspecific variation into a dynamic range model to predict the consequences of twenty-first century warming on six European alpine plants. As well as overall range loss, their model predicts a decrease in the frequency of warm-adapted haplotypes in five out of six species.

    • Johannes Wessely
    • Andreas Gattringer
    • Stefan Dullinger
    Article Open Access
  • The authors develop a high-resolution model of coral larval dispersal for the southern Great Barrier Reef. They show that 2 °C of warming decreases larval dispersal distance and connectivity of reefs, hampering post-disturbance recovery and the potential spread of warm-adapted genes.

    • Joana Figueiredo
    • Christopher J. Thomas
    • Emmanuel Hanert
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Amendments & Corrections

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