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Selection: with tag science-policy-interface [at least 200 articles] 

 

Impacts of inter-annual wind and solar variations on the European power system

  

Abstract

[Highlights] [::] The impact of weather patterns on power system increases with decarbonization [::] Europe's CO2 output and generation cost variability could increase 5-fold by 2030 [::] Several metrics can be reasonably approximated from the level VRE penetration [::] The most representative single years for renewable generation are 1989 and 2012 [Context & Scale] Wind and solar power have been driving the decarbonization of Europe's electricity over the last decade. Increasing our reliance on weather-dependent resources makes it imperative that planning of electricity systems becomes cognizant of ...

 

Preprints could promote confusion and distortion

  
Nature, Vol. 559, No. 7715. (24 July 2018), pp. 445-445, https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-018-05789-4

Abstract

The scientific community must take measures to keep preprints from distorting the public’s understanding of science, says Tom Sheldon. [Excerpt] [...] As soon as research is in the public domain, there is nothing to stop a journalist writing about it, and rushing to be the first to do so. Imagine early findings that seem to show that climate change is natural or that a common vaccine is unsafe. Preprints on subjects such as those could, if they become a story that goes ...

 

Science and Culture: math tools send legislators back to the drawing board

  
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 115, No. 26. (26 June 2018), pp. 6515-6517, https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1807901115

Abstract

[UPDATE] On June 18, 2018, after this article went to press, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled on two high-profile cases related to partisan gerrymandering. In effect, the rulings sidestepped the issue of when partisan gerrymandering is unconstitutional. Both cases—one concerning voting districts in Wisconsin, the other in Maryland—were sent back to lower courts. On June 25, the SCOTUS ruled on two other cases—in Texas and North Carolina—that will mostly let stand the use of purportedly gerrymandered maps. [Abstract] On ...

 

Tree plantations displacing native forests: the nature and drivers of apparent forest recovery on former croplands in Southwestern China from 2000 to 2015

  
Biological Conservation, Vol. 222 (June 2018), pp. 113-124, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2018.03.034

Abstract

China is credited with undertaking some of the world's most ambitious policies to protect and restore forests, which could serve as a role model for other countries. However, the actual environmental consequences of these policies are poorly known. Here, we combine remote-sensing analysis with household interviews to assess the nature and drivers of land-cover change in southwestern China between 2000–2015, after China's major forest protection and reforestation policies came into effect. We found that while the region's gross tree cover grew ...

 

Uncertainty in forecasts of long-run economic growth

  
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (14 May 2018), 201713628, https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1713628115

Abstract

[Significance] This study develops estimates of uncertainty in projections of global and regional per-capita economic growth rates through 2100, comparing estimates from expert forecasts and an econometric approach designed to analyze long-run trends and variability. Estimates from both methods indicate substantially higher uncertainty than is assumed in current studies of climate change impacts, damages, and adaptation. Results from this study suggest a greater than 35% probability that emissions concentrations will exceed those assumed in the most severe of the available climate change ...

 

Agricultural policy can reduce wildfires

  
Science, Vol. 359, No. 6379. (01 March 2018), pp. 1001.1-1001, https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aat1359

Abstract

[Excerpt] [...] Agriculture is an important driver of European wildfires. It is a major source of fire ignitions [...]. Additionally, farmland abandonment and policies promoting forestry increase fire hazard, as they lead to vegetation growth and fuel build-up in the landscape [...]. However, agriculture is also part of the solution. Agricultural areas, such as crops, orchards, and grasslands, are much less fire-prone, particularly if they include irrigated crops [...]. The European Union's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is a powerful financial instrument ...

 

Discounting... on stilts

  
The University of Chicago Law Review, Vol. 74, No. 1. (2007), pp. 119-138

Abstract

[Excerpt] Jeremy Bentham famously described the concept of natural rights as “nonsense upon stilts.” This Response argues that cost-benefit analysis (CBA)—a contemporary applied version of Bentham’s utilitarianism for public policy analysis—is also nonsensical in that CBA purports to resolve questions, the answers to which have already been subsumed within the framework’s architecture. In particular, CBA subsumes vital questions of intergenerational equity through its use of an exponential discount factor to adjust future costs and benefits to a present value. This discounting procedure has the practical effect of dramatically diminishing the apparent ...

 

The limits of cost/benefit analysis when disasters loom

  
Global Policy, Vol. 7 (May 2016), pp. 56-66, https://doi.org/10.1111/1758-5899.12279

Abstract

[Abstract] Advances in estimating the costs and benefits of climate change policies are a welcome development, but a full-scale cost/benefit analysis that seeks to reduce complex value trade-offs to a single metric of net benefit maximization hides many important public policy issues, especially for disasters and catastrophes that are large, discontinuous, irreversible and uncertain. States should obtain public input on such policies. These policies involve value trade-offs that can be informed by technocratic estimates of costs, benefits and risk. However, such analyses ...

 

The science of value: economic expertise and the valuation of human life in US federal regulatory agencies

  
Social Studies of Science, Vol. 47, No. 4. (21 March 2017), pp. 441-465, https://doi.org/10.1177/0306312717693465

Abstract

This article explores efforts to apply economic logic to human life. To do so, it looks at federal regulatory agencies, where government planners and policy makers have spent over a century trying to devise a scientifically sound way to measure the economic value of lives lost or saved by public programs. The methods they have drawn on, however, have changed drastically in the past 40 years, shifting from a ‘human capital’ approach based on models of economic productivity and producing relatively low ...

 

Forest fire danger extremes in Europe under climate change: variability and uncertainty

  
Keywords: adaptation   array-of-factors   biodiversity   biodiversity-impacts   burnt-area   climate-change   climate-extremes   communicating-uncertainty   data-transformation-modelling   data-uncertainty   downscaling   droughts   dynamic-system   ecosystem-resilience   emergent-property   euro-cordex   europe   extreme-events   extreme-weather   fire-damage   fire-danger-rating   fire-management   fire-weather-index   forest-fires   forest-management   forest-pests   forest-resources   free-scientific-software   geospatial   geospatial-semantic-array-programming   human-behaviour   humidity   ipcc-scenarios   mastrave-modelling-library   mitigation   modelling-uncertainty   no-analog-pattern   peseta-series   precipitation   rcp85   resilience   resilience-vs-resistance   review   robust-modelling   science-policy-interface   science-society-interface   scientific-communication   semantic-array-programming   spatial-pattern   species-richness   species-specific-effects   temperature   vegetation-changes   wildfires   wind  

Abstract

Forests cover over a third of the total land area of Europe. In recent years, large forest fires have repeatedly affected Europe, in particular the Mediterranean countries. Fire danger is influenced by weather in the short term, and by climate when considering longer time intervals. In this work, the emphasis is on the direct influence on fire danger of weather and climate. [\n] For climate analysis at the continental scale, a daily high-emission scenario (RCP 8.5) was considered up to the end ...

References

  1. de Rigo, D., Bosco, C., San-Miguel-Ayanz, J., Houston Durrant, T., Barredo, J. I., Strona, G., Caudullo, G., Di Leo, M., Boca, R., 2016. Forest resources in Europe: an integrated perspective on ecosystem services, disturbances and threats. In: San-Miguel-Ayanz, J., de Rigo, D., Caudullo, G., Houston Durrant, T., Mauri, A. (Eds.), European Atlas of Forest Tree Species. Publ. Off. EU, Luxembourg, pp. e015b50+. https://w3id.org/mtv/FISE-Comm/v01/e015b50 .
  2. Alberdi Asensio, I., Baycheva-Merger, T., Bouvet, A., Bozzano,
 

What is science's crisis really about?

  
Futures, Vol. 91 (August 2017), pp. 5-11, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.futures.2017.05.010

Abstract

[Highlights] [::] Science’s crisis is real. A resolution is not in sight, but a Reformation is not impossible. [::] The mainstream interpretation of the root causes of the crisis (perverse incentive, too many papers) is insufficient. [::] The crisis is due to a transformed role: from emancipation and betterment of mankind to instrument of profit and growth [::] Scientists cannot resolve the problem alone and have high stakes in the preservation of the status quo. [::] Institutions are in denial pretending that current predicaments of science ...

 

Integrated environmental modeling: a vision and roadmap for the future

  
Environmental Modelling & Software, Vol. 39 (January 2013), pp. 3-23, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envsoft.2012.09.006

Abstract

Integrated environmental modeling (IEM) is inspired by modern environmental problems, decisions, and policies and enabled by transdisciplinary science and computer capabilities that allow the environment to be considered in a holistic way. The problems are characterized by the extent of the environmental system involved, dynamic and interdependent nature of stressors and their impacts, diversity of stakeholders, and integration of social, economic, and environmental considerations. IEM provides a science-based structure to develop and organize relevant knowledge and information and apply it to ...

 

To be a responsible researcher, reach out and listen

  

Abstract

[Excerpt] Vietnam’s Red River is a lifeblood of the country’s economy. But managing its delta region—which is home to 17 million people; hosts the capital city Hanoi, as well as extensive industrial, agricultural, and navigational activities; and provides crucial environmental services—is also a source of conflict between local stakeholders, each with different needs and priorities. [\n] Rodolfo Soncini-Sessa isn’t a local himself—he’s a professor of natural resources management a continent away, at the Polytechnic University of Milan in Italy. But after he ...

 

The role of community policies in defensible space compliance

  
Forest Policy and Economics, Vol. 11, No. 8. (02 December 2009), pp. 570-578, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.forpol.2009.07.004

Abstract

Recently enacted federal and state policies provide incentives, including financial assistance, for local jurisdictions to manage risks associated with wildland fire. This has led to an array of local-level policies designed to encourage homeowners to create fire-safe landscapes. This qualitative study collected data from focus group interviews with homeowners in three diverse communities and used the theory of reasoned action to interpret dimensions of local-level wildland fire policies that are associated with homeowner acceptance of or compliance with defensible space guidelines ...

 

Risk externalities and the problem of wildfire risk

  
Journal of Urban Economics, Vol. 64, No. 2. (September 2008), pp. 488-495, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jue.2008.05.001

Abstract

Homeowners living in the wildland–urban interface must decide whether or not to create a defensible space around their house in order to mitigate the risk of a wildfire destroying their home. Risk externalities complicate this decision; the risk that one homeowner faces depends on the risk mitigation decisions of neighboring homeowners. This paper models the problem as a game played between neighbors in a wildland–urban interface. The model explains why sub-optimal investment in defensible space is likely and provides insights into ...

 

Impact of population growth and population ethics on climate change mitigation policy

  
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 114, No. 46. (14 November 2017), pp. 12338-12343, https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1618308114

Abstract

[Significance] We investigate how future population growth is relevant to climate change policy. The answer depends importantly on ethical questions about whether our ultimate goal should be to increase the number of people who are happy or rather to increase the average level of people’s happiness. We calculate the best (optimal) emissions reduction pathway given each of these two different goals that society might have and calculate how much cheaper it would be to avoid dangerous interference with the climate given a ...

 

How population growth relates to climate change

  
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 114, No. 46. (14 November 2017), pp. 12103-12105, https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1717178114

Abstract

[Excerpt] Currently, around 7.5 billion people live on our planet and scenarios for the future show a plausible range from 8.5 to over 12 billion before the population will level off or start to decline, depending on the future course of fertility and mortality (1, 2). These people will also have to cope with the consequences of climate change that may be in the range of 1.5 °C to more than 3 °C, depending on the scale of mitigation efforts. The ...

 

Europe’s Joint Research Centre, although improving, must think bigger

  
Nature, Vol. 550, No. 7674. (3 October 2017), pp. 8-8, https://doi.org/10.1038/550008a

Abstract

External report criticizes lack of exploratory research. [Excerpt] The European Union’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) uses the label EU Science Hub now. Whether the rebranding will increase its profile is one question. What science gets done inside this hub is another. In response to that query, there is some positive news. It is doing what it should be, and doing it well: collecting scientific and technical evidence in support of EU policies. That’s according to the report of an external evaluation released ...

 

Climatological risk: wildfires

  
In Science for disaster risk management 2017: knowing better and losing less, Vol. 28034 (2017), pp. 294-305

Abstract

[Excerpt: Conclusions and key messages] There is a vast amount of information on wildfires at local, regional and global scales. However, problems remain at different scales in terms of harmonising or standardising practices for the assessment and management of wildfire risk. [\n] Resilience theory is providing a suitable framework by which to explain abrupt changes in socioecological systems. The importance of community participation and building social capital through collective learning and governance mechanisms has been highlighted as a required basis for building disaster resilience (Aldunce et al., 2015; Aldunce et al., 2016; Montiel and Kraus, 2010; O’Brien et al., ...

References

  1. SCION, 2009. Fire behavioiur app. https://www.scionresearch.com/research/forest-science/rural-fire-research/tools/fire-behaviour-smartphone-apps .
  2. NFPA, 2016 Firewise Communities Program. http://www.firewise.org/ .
  3. GOV.UK, n.d. LH1: Management of lowland heathlandhttps://www.gov.uk/countryside-stewardship-grants/management-of-lowland-heathland-lh1 .
  4. KWFW, 2014. Wildfire Threat Analysis (WTA):NERC-funded scoping project with Forestry Commission. http://www.kfwf.org.uk/_assets/documents/Wildfire_Threat_Analysis_post-project_report.pdf .
  5. HM Tresaury, 2013. Orange book: management of risk - principles and concepts. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/orange-book .
  6. Cabinet Office, 2015. National Risk
 

The most recent view of vulnerability

  
In Science for disaster risk management 2017: knowing better and losing less, Vol. 28034 (2017), pp. 70-84

Abstract

[Excerpt: Conclusions and key messages] Over the past decades, vulnerability research has made considerable progress in understanding some of the root causes and dynamic pressures that influence the progression of vulnerability and raised awareness that disasters are not natural but predominantly a product of social, economic and political conditions (Wisner et al., 2004). [\n] Vulnerability assessments are a response to the call for evidence by decision- makers for use in pre-disaster risk assessment, prevention and reduction, as well as the development and implementation of appropriate preparedness and effective disaster response strategies by providing information on people, communities or regions at risk. [\n] ...

References

  1. Alexander, D., Magni, M., 2013. Mortality in the L'Aquila ( Central Italy ) Earthquake of 6 April 2009. PLOS Current Disasters, (April 2009).
  2. Alexander, D., 2010. The L'Aquila Earthquake of 6 April 2009 and Italian Government Policy on Disaster Response. Journal of Natural Resources Policy Research, 2(4), 325–342.
  3. Alexander, D., 2013. Resilience and disaster risk reduction: An etymological journey. Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 13 (11), 2707–2716.
 

Fears rise for US climate report as Trump officials take reins

  
Nature, Vol. 548, No. 7665. (1 August 2017), pp. 15-16, https://doi.org/10.1038/548015a

Abstract

Officials at the US Environmental Protection Agency are consulting global-warming sceptics as they weigh up a technical review. ...

 

Global environmental issues and the emergence of Second Order Science

  
Vol. 12803 (1990)

Abstract

[Excerpt: Introduction] The fundamental achievements of science, like those of all creative activities, have a timeless quality. The social activity of science, like any other, evolves in response to its changing circumstances, in its objects, methods and social functions. In the high Middle Ages, the independence of secular learning was established in the universities, removed from the monasteries; and the boundary between the sacred and private on the one hand, and the secular and public on the other, was set for ...

 

Seven myths of risk

  
Risk Management In Risk Management, Vol. 7, No. 2. (01 April 2005), pp. 7-17, https://doi.org/10.1057/palgrave.rm.8240209

Abstract

Communication between experts and the public has turned out to be unusually difficult in the field of risk research. These difficulties are closely connected to a series of recalcitrant misconceptions of risk and its social preconditions. In this paper, seven of the most pernicious myths of risk are exposed, namely: first, that ‘risk’ must have a single, well-defined meaning; second, that the severity of risks should be judged according to probability-weighted averages of the severity of their outcomes; third, that decisions ...

 

Research on a razor's edge

  
Science, Vol. 356, No. 6342. (09 June 2017), pp. 1094-1094, https://doi.org/10.1126/science.356.6342.1094

Abstract

[Excerpt] [...] Scientists in the United States face a shortage of tenure-track faculty jobs and fierce competition for a shrinking pool of grants. These dimming prospects reflect decades of underinvestment in the sciences. The current administration threatens to make things worse. We are all doing research on a razor's edge. [\n] It's no surprise that American scientists are becoming increasingly curious about opportunities elsewhere in the world. U.S. spending on research and development still ranks among the highest, but those who are ...

 

Italy rebuked for failure to prevent olive-tree tragedy

  
Nature, Vol. 546, No. 7657. (7 June 2017), pp. 193-194, https://doi.org/10.1038/546193a

Abstract

European Commission reveals widespread delays by the country’s authorities to halt spread of deadly plant disease. [Excerpt] A vicious pathogen that is destroying historic olive groves in Puglia, southern Italy, is marching north and threatens to reach the rest of Europe. Yet Italian authorities last year failed to track the infection’s spread, and didn’t follow containment plans agreed with the European Commission, according to an audit released last week by the commission. [...] The pathogen — for which there is no cure ...

 

A climate policy pathway for near- and long-term benefits

  
Science, Vol. 356, No. 6337. (05 May 2017), pp. 493-494, https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aak9521

Abstract

The Paris Climate Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) explicitly links the world's long-term climate and near-term sustainable development and poverty eradication agendas. Urgent action is needed, but there are many paths toward the agreement's long-term, end-of-century, 1.5° to 2°C climate target. We propose that reducing short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) enough to slow projected global warming by 0.5°C over the next 25 years be adopted as a near-term goal, with many potential benefits toward achieving Sustainable ...

 

Unmask temporal trade-offs in climate policy debates

  
Science, Vol. 356, No. 6337. (04 May 2017), pp. 492-493, https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aaj2350

Abstract

Global warming potentials (GWPs) have become an essential element of climate policy and are built into legal structures that regulate greenhouse gas emissions. This is in spite of a well-known shortcoming: GWP hides trade-offs between short- and long-term policy objectives inside a single time scale of 100 or 20 years (1). The most common form, GWP100, focuses on the climate impact of a pulse emission over 100 years, diluting near-term effects and misleadingly implying that short-lived climate pollutants exert forcings in ...

 

Outreach: local problems are a low research priority

  
Nature, Vol. 544, No. 7648. (05 April 2017), pp. 35-35, https://doi.org/10.1038/544035e

Abstract

[Excerpt] You ask what science can do [...] suggesting that it would be useful to work with local communities on research problems that could improve [...] quality of life (Nature 542, 391; 2017). I disagree. [...] Universities are global institutions that have the primary objectives of creating knowledge and educating people to continue the development of our societies. Building stronger links with local society and solving local problems should never be a priority for any university. ...

 

Attempts to manufacture scientific discovery

  
Nature, Vol. 94, No. 2358. (7 January 1915), pp. 512-512, https://doi.org/10.1038/094512a0

Abstract

[Excerpt] In an excellent article forming one of his admirable series of essays entitled “Science from an Easy-chair,” published in the Daily Telegraph of December 15, 1914, Sir Ray Lankester deals particularly with the case of the recent proposal that the Lister Institute should be handed over to the Medical Research Committee of the National Insurance Commission. The proposal was rejected on November 18 by the votes of the members; and Sir Ray Lankester preaches a useful sermon upon this text. ...

 

Post-normal institutional identities: quality assurance, reflexivity and ethos of care

  

Abstract

[Highlights] [::] Given the current crises of legitimacy and quality in mainstream science, institutions that produce and govern science and those that provide scientific advice to policy need to change their modus operandis; we advocate for an ethos of care. [::] Post-normal science and other frameworks of scientific knowledge production may inspire trustfulness in institutions that provide scientific advice to policy. [::] In Europe, the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission has the necessary scaffolding to advise policy in view of public interest, ...

 

Communication: science censorship is a global issue

  
Nature, Vol. 542, No. 7640. (08 February 2017), pp. 165-165, https://doi.org/10.1038/542165b

Abstract

[Excerpt] [...] Regrettably, suppression of public scientific information is already the norm, or is being attempted, in many countries [...]. We fear that such gagging orders could encourage senior bureaucrats to use funding as a tool with which to rein in academic freedoms. [...] The response of scientists to this type of coercion has been to share scientific information widely and openly using such legal means as social media to defend facts and transparency [...] ...

 

Keep it complex

  
Nature, Vol. 468, No. 7327. (23 December 2010), pp. 1029-1031, https://doi.org/10.1038/4681029a

Abstract

When knowledge is uncertain, experts should avoid pressures to simplify their advice. Render decision-makers accountable for decisions, says Andy Stirling. ...

 

Model-based uncertainty in species range prediction

  
Journal of Biogeography, Vol. 33, No. 10. (October 2006), pp. 1704-1711, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2699.2006.01460.x

Abstract

[Aim]  Many attempts to predict the potential range of species rely on environmental niche (or ‘bioclimate envelope’) modelling, yet the effects of using different niche-based methodologies require further investigation. Here we investigate the impact that the choice of model can have on predictions, identify key reasons why model output may differ and discuss the implications that model uncertainty has for policy-guiding applications. [Location]  The Western Cape of South Africa. [Methods]  We applied nine of the most widely used modelling techniques to model potential ...

 

Living with wildfires: what science can tell us - A contribution to the science-policy dialogue

  
Vol. 15 (2009)
edited by Yves Birot

Abstract

[Excerpt: Introduction] Contrary to other natural hazards such as earthquakes or windstorms, wildfires are certainly among the most predictable ones. Therefore, it is a phenomenon which, in principle, should leave modern societies some degrees of freedom and margins of manoeuvre for implementing efficient counteracting strategies. However, this opportunity has not been properly used. Over the last decades, wildfires have proven to be a subject of growing concern for the Mediterranean Region. Woodlands, rangelands, maquis and garrigues in rural areas or at the interface with urban areas still ...

 

Forest value: more than commercial

  
Science, Vol. 354, No. 6319. (23 December 2016), pp. 1541-1541, https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aal2499

Abstract

[Excerpt] [...] Postulating a positive relation between tree species richness and commercial value could potentially have adverse environmental consequences. For example, concluding that megadiverse tropical forests have innate commercial value would make it unnecessary to supplement this supposed value with rewards for landowners who preserve their native forests. Landowners might then continue to convert such forests to profitable monocultures [...] which have real commercial value. Species-rich forests indeed have an extremely high conservation and ecosystem service value, but their commercial value ...

 

Forest value: more than commercial - Response

  
Science, Vol. 354, No. 6319. (23 December 2016), pp. 1541-1542, https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aal2612

Abstract

[Excerpt] Paul and Knoke address the commercial value and profitability of forest biodiversity, which differs fundamentally from the economic value that we outlined in our Research Article. [...] Our estimates pertain to the sole contribution of tree species diversity, as it exists today, to global forest productivity, from which the economic value accrues. Our analysis—which includes nonmarket values not commonly captured in commercial forestry but excludes the contribution of forest biodiversity to carbon sequestration, wildlife habitat, and aesthetic and cultural values—reflects ...

 

Post-truth: a guide for the perplexed

  
Nature, Vol. 540, No. 7631. (28 November 2016), pp. 9-9, https://doi.org/10.1038/540009a

Abstract

If politicians can lie without condemnation, what are scientists to do? Kathleen Higgins offers some explanation. [Excerpt] The Oxford Dictionaries named ‘post-truth’ as their 2016 Word of the Year. It must sound alien to scientists. Science’s quest for knowledge about reality presupposes the importance of truth, both as an end in itself and as a means of resolving problems. How could truth become passé? [\n] [...] [\n] Post-truth refers to blatant lies being routine across society, and it means that politicians can lie without ...

 

The challenge to keep global warming below 2 °C

  
Nature Climate Change, Vol. 3, No. 1. (2 December 2012), pp. 4-6, https://doi.org/10.1038/nclimate1783

Abstract

The latest carbon dioxide emissions continue to track the high end of emission scenarios, making it even less likely global warming will stay below 2 °C. A shift to a 2 °C pathway requires immediate significant and sustained global mitigation, with a probable reliance on net negative emissions in the longer term. ...

 

Why policy needs philosophers as much as it needs science

  
The Guardian, Vol. 2016, No. October, 13. (2016), 57b3q

Abstract

[Excerpt] In a widely-discussed recent essay for the New Atlantis, the policy scholar Daniel Sarewitz argues that science is in deep trouble. While modern research remains wondrously productive, its results are more ambiguous, contestable and dubious than ever before. This problem isn’t caused by a lack of funding or of scientific rigour. Rather, Sarewitz argues that we need to let go of a longstanding and cherished cultural belief – that science consists of uniquely objective knowledge that can put an end to ...

 

The development of environmental thinking in economics

  
Environmental Values, Vol. 8, No. 4. (November 1999), pp. 413-435, https://doi.org/10.3197/096327199129341897

Abstract

There has always been a sub-group of established economists trying to convey an environmental critique of the mainstream. This paper traces their thinking into the late 20th century via the development of associations and journals in the USA and Europe. There is clearly a divergence between the conformity to neo-classical economics favoured by resource and environmental economists and the acceptance of more radical critiques apparent in ecological economics. Thus, the progressive elements of ecological economics are increasingly incompatible with those practising ...

 

The trouble with negative emissions

  
Science, Vol. 354, No. 6309. (14 October 2016), pp. 182-183, https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aah4567

Abstract

In December 2015, member states of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) adopted the Paris Agreement, which aims to hold the increase in the global average temperature to below 2°C and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C. The Paris Agreement requires that anthropogenic greenhouse gas emission sources and sinks are balanced by the second half of this century. Because some nonzero sources are unavoidable, this leads to the abstract concept of “negative emissions,” the ...

 

The climate policy narrative for a dangerously warming world

  
Nature Climate Change, Vol. 4, No. 3. (1 March 2014), pp. 164-166, https://doi.org/10.1038/nclimate2148

Abstract

It is time to acknowledge that global average temperatures are likely to rise above the 2 °C policy target and consider how that deeply troubling prospect should affect priorities for communicating and managing the risks of a dangerously warming climate. ...

 

Green and blue water demand from large-scale land acquisitions in Africa

  
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 113, No. 41. (11 October 2016), pp. 11471-11476, https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1524741113

Abstract

[Significance] Freshwater appropriation can have vast impacts, depending on management and scale of water use. Since 2000, foreign investors have contracted an area the size of the United Kingdom in Africa, leading to increased pressure on water resources. Here we couple site-specific water demand for the crops planted there to the efficiency of different irrigation systems, while relating these estimates to local water availability. This approach enables us to identify “hotspot” areas of freshwater use where crops demand more water from irrigation ...

 

Risk and resilience lessons from Venice

  
Environment Systems and Decisions, Vol. 34, No. 3. (2014), pp. 378-382, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10669-014-9511-8

Abstract

In the history of disasters in Venice, there are implications for modern times in terms of complex systems management and emerging threats, in particular from examples of risk management and resilience achieved by the Venetian state during outbreaks of the plague. In fourteenth century Venice, risk assessment the way we practice it today would fail to provide meaningful recommendations to reduce the casualty rate of the plague epidemic because the cause and transmission of the disease was not understood. Instead, a ...

 

Changing the resilience paradigm

  
Nature Climate Change, Vol. 4, No. 6. (28 May 2014), pp. 407-409, https://doi.org/10.1038/nclimate2227

Abstract

Resilience management goes beyond risk management to address the complexities of large integrated systems and the uncertainty of future threats, especially those associated with climate change. [Excerpt] In summary, risk analysis and risk management based on probabilistic quantitative methods have been widely adopted and have been useful for dealing with foreseeable and calculable stress situations. Benchmarks and thresholds for risk analysis are built into the regulations and policies of organizations and nations; however, this approach is no longer sufficient to address the ...

 

Encourage governments to heed scientific advice

  
Nature, Vol. 537, No. 7622. (28 September 2016), pp. 587-587, https://doi.org/10.1038/537587a

Abstract

To stop evidence-based policy losing its clout, researchers need to engage with policymakers and understand their needs, says Bill Colglazier. [Excerpt] [...] Most governments do want to consider and harness science, technology and innovation. [...] Why, then, is science losing its clout in the current political debates? In my view, the explanation is relatively simple. In the short term, politics, or more precisely value judgements, trump science. This is especially true when there are scientific uncertainties. [\n] Value judgements come in three varieties. ...

 

The maximum climate ambition needs a firm research backing

  
Nature, Vol. 537, No. 7622. (28 September 2016), pp. 585-586, https://doi.org/10.1038/537585b

Abstract

We need to know what the 1.5 °C warming target will involve — even if we don’t reach it. [Excerpt] [...] The 2015 Paris climate agreement commits governments to keeping average global surface temperatures to between 1.5 °C and 2 °C above the preindustrial level. But warming has already passed the 1-degree mark, and some estimates suggest that even if current commitments are fully implemented, they would allow temperatures to rise nearly 3 °C. If the 2-degree goal seems implausible, given current politics, 1.5 °C is ...

 

Modelling the spatial patterns of ignition causes and fire regime features in southern France: implications for fire prevention policy

  
International Journal of Wildland Fire, Vol. 25, No. 7. (2016), 785, https://doi.org/10.1071/wf15205

Abstract

A good knowledge of the spatiotemporal patterns of the causes of wildfire ignition is crucial to an effective fire policy. However, little is known about the situation in south-eastern France because the fire database contains unreliable data. We used data for cases with well-established causes from 1973–2013 to determine the location of spatial hotspots, the seasonal distribution, the underlying anthropogenic and environmental drivers and the tendency of five main causes to generate large fires. Anthropogenic ignitions were predominant (88%) near human ...

 

More accountability for big-data algorithms

  
Nature, Vol. 537, No. 7621. (21 September 2016), pp. 449-449, https://doi.org/10.1038/537449a

Abstract

To avoid bias and improve transparency, algorithm designers must make data sources and profiles public. [Excerpt] [...] Algorithms, from the simplest to the most complex, follow sets of instructions or learn to accomplish a goal. In principle, they could help to make impartial analyses and decisions by reducing human biases and prejudices. But there is growing concern that they risk doing the opposite, and will replicate and exacerbate human failings [...]. And in an era of powerful computers, machine learning and big data, ...

 

Does background matter? Disciplinary perspectives on sustainable forest management

  
Biodiversity and Conservation, Vol. 23, No. 14. (2014), pp. 3373-3389, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-014-0816-1

Abstract

Although sustainable forest management (SFM) has become increasingly popular during recent decades, approaches towards it are still imprecise and lack consistency. Within this “chaos”, scientists are increasingly expected to further develop the concept across disciplinary boundaries, including normative statements relating to the future. However, we assume that disciplinary boundaries in the construction of SFM still exist due to prevalent interests and political intentions within scientific communities. Therefore, our aim is to analyse and explain qualitative differences in the construction of SFM ...

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