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Mental health is often excluded from discussions of the impacts of climate change on human well-being. In this issue we feature a collection of papers that explore different ways in which climate change can impact mental health and highlight important directions for future research.
The health impacts of climate change are being increasingly recognized, but mental health is often excluded from this discussion. In this issue we feature a collection of articles on climate change and mental health that highlight important directions for future research.
Permafrost soils store vast quantities of organic matter that are vulnerable to decomposition under a warming climate. Recent research finds that methane release from thawing permafrost may outpace carbon dioxide as a major contributor to global warming over the next century.
Climate change has a gradual influence on landscapes and ecosystems that may lead to feelings of loss for those with close ties to the natural environment. This Perspective describes existing research on ecological grief and outlines directions for future inquiry.
This Perspective reviews the literature on climate change and mental health, and advocates for a systems approach, which considers the complex set of interacting distal, intermediate and proximate factors that influence mental health risk, in future research.
Emission mitigation is required to achieve global climate ambitions but can also offer local benefits. Reduction in air pollution because of low-carbon emission trajectories is shown to result in approximately 150 million fewer premature deaths worldwide.
Limiting warming to 1.5 °C requires staying within an allowable carbon budget. An analysis of warming and carbon budgets from the past decade shows that the median remaining budget is 208 PgC, corresponding to about 20 years of emissions at the 2015 rate.
North Atlantic Ocean convection may be impeded by increased freshwater input or reduced surface heat losses. This study shows that warm, fresh surface layers in summer are followed by reduced heat losses in winter, shortening the time for convection.
Glaciers outside Greenland and Antarctica have been rapidly losing mass. Contemporary ice declines are shown to be a response to past greenhouse gas emissions, with present mitigation efforts unlikely to be beneficial in preventing future short-term ice loss.
An organic carbon decomposition model, calibrated with laboratory incubations, indicates a greater production rate of CO2-C equivalents from waterlogged (compared to drained) permafrost soils, when the higher global warming potential of methane is factored in.
Time of reproduction may be altered as the climate changes. For seabirds, it is shown that there has not been an adjustment in timing as the climate changes and the sea surface warms. This lack of plasticity could result in a mismatch with food resources.
While well-known for its temperature targets, the Paris Agreement also aims for net zero GHG emissions. IAM results reveal net zero GHG emissions are not always required to meet the temperature targets, and that net zero CO2 emissions are a more suitable aim.
Scenarios that constrain end-of-century radiative forcing to 1.9 W m–2, and thus global mean temperature increases to below 1.5 °C, are explored. Effective scenarios reduce energy use, deploy CO2 removal measures, and shift to non-emitting energy sources.
Fisheries generated a total of 179 million tonnes of CO2-equivalent GHG emissions in 2011 (4% of global food production). Emissions grew by 28% between 1990 and 2011, primarily driven by increased harvests from fuel-intensive crustacean fisheries.
Marine ecosystems and their stored carbon are threatened by warming and marine heatwaves. During a 2010–2011 heatwave, around a third of a Western Australian seagrass ecosystem suffered damage, potentially releasing 2–9 Tg CO2 in the following years.