Climate change round-up: CCC chair, uncertainty, international action, Indian attitudes, governance…
A round-up of recent news, research and publications highlighted by our partner, the Sustainable Development Research Network (SDRN). For more news on sustainable development research and publications, join the network and receive regular SDRN mailings.
In this round-up:
- New chairman of the Committee on Climate Change announced (CCC news)
- Unquestioned answers or unanswered questions? (Talking Climate research)
- The critical decade: International action on climate change (Australia Climate Commission report)
- Climate Change in the Indian Mind (Yale Project on Climate Change)
- Climate Change Governance (new book)
- Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions Associated with Consumption: A methodology for Scenario Analysis (Stockholm Environment Institute paper)
Read about more recent publications and research in the latest SDRN bulletin…
Conservative peer John Gummer (now known as Lord Deben) has been confirmed as Chairman of the Committee on Climate Change. This follows a successful pre-appointment hearing on 4 September and approval from the House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee on 11 September. Gummer, who takes over from Adair Turner, gave an assurance that the committee would “remain firmly independent, giving impartial, scientifically well-founded advice to the UK Government and devolved administrations”.
Dr Anna Rabinovich from Exeter University explains the key findings from her new paper on communicating uncertainty in climate science, with the somewhat unexpected conclusion that uncertainty could – under the right circumstances – enhance, as well as obscure, the effectiveness of climate change messages.
An interesting, non-UK perspective on international action on climate change is provided by Australia’s Climate Commission.
The report concludes that every major economy is tackling climate change, using a mix of regulation, carbon pricing, renewable energy targets and investment. It notes that ‘there is bipartisan recognition that protecting Australia’s prosperity requires Australia to contribute to the global effort to reduce greenhouse gases.
The sooner Australia reduces emissions the cheaper those reductions will become’ and ‘Australia is a world leader in some areas of clean technology research and development, with immense resources in sun, wind and other renewable energy. As the world moves, opportunities open for Australian business.’
The Yale Project on Climate Change Communication has released an interesting new addition to its series on climate change in the American Mind – an overview of what Indian citizens think about climate change in 2012.
It found that millions of Indians are observing changes in their local rainfall, temperatures, and weather, report more frequent droughts and floods, and a more unpredictable monsoon. A majority of respondents said their own household’s drinking water and food supply, health, and income are vulnerable to a severe drought or flood and that it would take them months to years to recover. Only 7 per cent of respondents said they know “a lot” about global warming, while 41 per cent had never heard of it or said, “I don’t know.” However, after hearing a short definition of global warming, 72 per cent said they believe global warming is happening, 56 per cent said it is caused mostly by human activities, 50 per cent said they have already personally experienced the effects, and 61 per cent said they are worried about it.
Many books have been produced on general matters related to climate change, such as climate modelling, temperature variations, sea level rise, but, to date, very few publications have addressed the political, economic and social elements of climate change and their links with governance.
This book aims to fill this gap. This book includes a wide range of steering mechanisms ranging from informal cooperation between different institutions and actors to hierarchical forms of regulation. The governance of climate change is dealt with in detail, including the application of economic models used in change management, which enable organisational structures to be developed for public administration, contractors or private bodies.
This paper describes the development of a new methodology for constructing long-term scenarios of a transition to low-GHG consumption.
In recent years, climate policy analysts have explored the links between consumption patterns and greenhouse gases (GHGs) by developing methods to estimate life-cycle emissions associated with different categories of consumption – a carbon “footprint” or a “consumption-based” GHG inventory. However, surprisingly few studies have attempted to construct long-term scenarios for how shifts in consumption patterns and behaviour could reduce emissions. Here the authors develop a methodology to construct such scenarios and apply it to a major US city (Seattle), which has been active in climate action planning and helped persuade over one thousand U.S. mayors to adopt GHG-reduction goals.
The Sustainable Development Research Network (SDRN) is an initiative funded by Defra and coordinated by the Policy Studies Institute in London.
SDRN aims to facilitate and strengthen the links between providers of research and policymakers across government, in order to improve evidence-based policymaking to deliver the UK government’s objectives for sustainable development.
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