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Über dieses Buch

Responding to a need for a deeper and more nuanced understanding of the consequences of climate change, this book brings experts in climate science, engineering, urban planning, and conservation biology into conversation with scholars in law, geography, anthropology and ethics. It provides insights into how climate change is conceptualized in different fields. The book also aims to contribute to developing successful and multifaceted strategies that promote global, intergenerational and environmental justice. Among the topics addressed are the effects of climate change on the likelihood and magnitude of natural hazards, an assessment of civil infrastructure vulnerabilities, resilience assessment for coastal communities, an ethical framework to evaluate behavior that contributes to climate change, as well as policies and cultural shifts that might help humanity to respond adequately to climate change.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Introduction

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Risks and Values: New and Interconnected Challenges of Climate Change

This introductory chapter provides a brief summary of the main aims of the book. We also provide an overview of the structure of the volume as a whole and the main points of each chapter.

Colleen Murphy, Paolo Gardoni, Robert McKim

The Paris Agreement, Policy and Climate Justice

Frontmatter

Chapter 2. Climate Change in the 21st Century: Looking Beyond the Paris Agreement

The science is clear that the Earth’s climate, including that of the United States, is changing, changing much more rapidly than generally occurs naturally, and it is happening primarily because of human activities. This chapter discusses the science underlying climate change and the current understanding of how our planet is being affected. In addition to the global analysis, there is special attention given to the findings for the United States. Humanity is already feeling the effects from increasing intensity of certain types of extreme weather and from sea level rise that are fueled by the changing climate. Climate change affects many sectors of our society, including threats on human health and well-being. Climate change will, absent other factors, amplify some of the existing threats we now face. The effects on humanity are already significant, costing us many billions of dollars each year along with the effects on human lives and health. Policy to respond to climate change is imperative—we have three choices, mitigation, adaptation, or suffering. Right now we are doing some of all three. The Paris Agreement begins the process internationally of really doing something to slow down change. But the current agreement is just the beginning and we will need to do much more.

Donald J. Wuebbles

Chapter 3. Cumulative Harm as a Function of Carbon Emissions

Anthropogenic climate change is indisputably harmful. Yet the nature, extent, and duration of this harm, and hence the extent of our individual and collective causal responsibility for it, are underappreciated. Climate disruption may persist for millennia, during which its harmful effects, lessened by adaptation and moderating temperatures, might diminish in frequency but will nevertheless continue to accumulate in number. Total harm can therefore be meaningfully estimated only relative to some specified time period. With regard to varying emissions scenarios, harm during any such time period within the next few millennia increases directly and (to a close approximation) continuously with cumulative prior anthropogenic carbon emissions up through that period. It follows that even small emissions can in the long run cause significant harm.

John Nolt

Chapter 4. Justice in Mitigation After Paris

Justice between generations requires that the present generation takes significant steps to limit and then halt global warming. International justice requires that this be done in a manner that is consistent with poorer states continuing to pursue energy intensive, poverty eradicating human development strategies. The de-centralized process of pledging emissions reductions incorporated in Paris Agreement provides significant protection to poor states, and it is to be cheered by advocates of international justice. But this same process is thus far inadequate to the task of realizing intergenerational justice. States must increase the ambition of their pledges significantly. And the burden in that regard must fall primarily on wealthy countries in order to ensure that poverty eradicating human development can continue where it is needed. But collective action problems may undermine efforts to ramp up ambition. If the price of renewable energy does not fall sufficiently, states may be likely to shirk their responsibilities. Even if the price of fossil fuels continues to fall, the political influence of the fossil fuel industry could frustrate the mitigation effort. The best prospects for achieving justice in mitigation after the Paris Agreement lies in the success of movements that seek to redirect energy investment and policy towards renewable energy.

Darrel Moellendorf

Chapter 5. Utilitarianism, Prioritarianism, and Climate Change: A Brief Introduction

This chapter compares prioritarianism and utilitarianism as frameworks for evaluating climate policies. Prioritarianism is an ethical view that gives greater weight to well-being changes affecting worse-off individuals. This view has been much discussed in recent moral philosophy but, thus far, has played little role in scholarship on climate change—where the utilitarian approach has, to date, been dominant. Prioritarianism and utilitarianism can be operationalized as policy-evaluation methodologies using the formalism of the “social welfare function” (SWF). Outcomes are converted into vectors (lists) of well-being numbers, one for each person in the population of concern. These lists are then ranked using some rule. The dominant approach in climate economics is to employ a discounted-utilitarian SWF. Well-being numbers are multiplied by a discount factor that decreases with time; these discounted numbers are then summed. The discounted-utilitarian SWF is problematic, both in incorporating an arbitrary preference for earlier generations, and in ignoring the well-being levels of individuals affected by policies. By contrast, the non-discounted prioritarian SWF eschews a discount factor, and adjusts well-being numbers so as to give priority to the worse off. This chapter describes the discounted-utilitarian and nondiscounted-prioritarian SWFs, and compares them with reference to three important topics in climate policy: the Ramsey formula, the social cost of carbon, and optimal mitigation.

Matthew D. Adler

Natural Hazards, Resilience and Mitigation

Frontmatter

Chapter 6. Assessing Climate Change Impacts on Hurricane Hazards

This chapter summarizes recent work to examine whether there be any effect of postulated climate change scenarios on the hurricane (joint wind and rain) hazard. Considering a worst-case climate change scenario from the most recent IPCC report and region along the US coastline that saw the largest increase in sea surface temperature under that scenario, results show conclusively that there is an effect on the hurricane hazard. The results of event-based simulation can be used to statistically characterize the hurricane hazard (wind-only, or wind and rain). This information can inform decision-makers, planners, emergency managers, electric power or other utilities, transportation and other public works departments, insurers or other risk portfolio managers. Results from such analyses also can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of possible mitigation strategies to ameliorate expected impacts and moderate risks (or consequent losses) to an acceptable level.

David V. Rosowsky

Chapter 7. Climate Change, Heavy Precipitation and Flood Risk in the Western United States

Current flood management, including flood control structures, land use regulations, and insurance markets, is adapted to historic flood risks, often using data from the past 100 years. In places where climate change will increase the flood risk outside the historic exposure, current management practices may not be adequate and losses could become increasingly catastrophic. For planning purposes, communities require scenarios of likely future flood inundation, which requires modeling the combined effects of sea level rise and changing peak flows along the relevant rivers, which in turn are derived from climate models and downscaling methods. In many regions, including the western United States, extreme precipitation is projected to increase with climate change, and these changes would have substantial impacts on flood risk. Simulating the effects of climate change on extreme precipitation presents substantial modeling challenges due to the complex weather dynamics of these events. Downscaling methods are critical to adequately incorporate the effects of climate change on extreme events and to simulate the response of local flood risk to these changes at the spatial and temporal scales most relevant to assessing community-scale risks from flooding. Statistical and dynamical downscaling is discussed and the implications of these methods for flood risk projections is evaluated. A case study is presented that illustrates three primary pathways for climate change impacts on a flood plain (sea level rise, reduced snowpack and higher intensity precipitation extremes) and illustrates the importance of methodological choices.

Eric P. Salathé, Guillaume Mauger

Chapter 8. The Impact of Climate Change on Resilience of Communities Vulnerable to Riverine Flooding

Riverine flooding due to intense precipitation or snowmelt is one of the most devastating natural hazards in the United States in terms of annual damages and economic losses to the built environment and social impacts on communities. Flood inundation mapping, where the likely depths of extreme floods are placed on a map of the community, is important for evaluating flood risks and for enhancing community resilience. However, the Flood Insurance Rate Maps developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency are not adequate for the evolving needs for community resilience assessment and decision-making over the next century, during which climate change effects are likely to be significant. In this study, we develop a flood hazard modeling framework to support community resilience assessment. This framework couples a hydrological model, which simulates the hydrological processes in a community at a coarser resolution using measured and/or remote sensed precipitation, with a hydraulic analysis module, which computes localized flood depths, velocities and inundated areas at a finer spatial resolution. The Wolf River Basin in Shelby County, Tennessee, which includes the city of Memphis, is used as a testbed to calibrate and validate this coupled model using precipitation and streamflow data obtained from gauge stations operated by the US Geological Survey and to illustrate the potential impacts of climate change in the 21st Century on civil infrastructure, revealing that such impacts are non-negligible but are manageable by proper engineering.

Xianwu Xue, Naiyu Wang, Bruce R. Ellingwood, Ke Zhang

Chapter 9. Planning for Community Resilience Under Climate Uncertainty

Community resilience requires an accurate estimate of the stressors to which that community could be subjected, and the likelihood of their occurrences and magnitudes. Causation of natural hazards can be categorized conveniently into four general classifications: hydrological, climatological, meteorological and geophysical. For all of these categories, future risk generally has been based on probability models calibrated from past experience. But for the first three, climate uncertainty demands a reexamination of that approach. This reassessment is particularly important for communities subjected to riverine and coastal flooding. In this chapter we address the vulnerability of flood-prone communities as a whole, rather than their individual structures. We look at community vulnerability, first to dams and levees and then to coastal flooding, and then introduce the concept of adaptive management for a changing climate. Finally, we examine the importance of incorporating future cots in community decision-making.

Ross B. Corotis

Responding to Climate Change: Mitigation and Adaptation

Frontmatter

Chapter 10. Climate Change Governance and Local Democracy: Synergy or Dissonance

This chapter focuses on governance arrangements in the reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, plus the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries (REDD+) initiative. The United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN-REDD Programme) supports developing countries adopting REDD+, and commits to strengthen local democracy as a safeguard such that REDD+ benefits to local people are not captured by elites. The chapter questions whether the UN-REDD funded Nigeria-REDD program meets this safeguard requirement. Research methods included literature review, semi-structured interviews, focus group meetings and participant observation. The study finds that the design of Nigeria-REDD was not inclusive of democratically elected local government authority. The UN-REDD approved the Nigeria-REDD proposal, trusting that NGOs who were involved in designing Nigeria-REDD, will push for democratic governance. However, NGOs do not have a mandate to democratically respond to the needs of local people. The chapter recommends that UN-REDD should not only engage with NGOs, but also with elected local government authority, if it is to strengthen local democracy as a safeguard against elite capture of REDD+ benefits.

Emmanuel O. Nuesiri

Chapter 11. Sea Level Rise and Social Justice: The Social Construction of Climate Change Driven Migrations

One outcome of climate change will be sea level rise. Sea level rise, and subsequent flooding, may cause displacement of certain people and communities. Social science research has argued that disaster outcomes, such as displacement by flooding, are socially constructed—that is, they are the outcomes of decisions made about where to develop, who the state protects, and how communities recover following an environmental hazard. This chapter addresses the idea that sea level rise is intimately linked to questions of social justice using three case studies. First the chapter investigates vulnerability as an outcome of colonization practices in Alaska. Next, the chapter addresses the impacts of cost-benefit analysis for beach nourishment on coastal populations. Finally, the chapter will look at the Isle de Jean Charles example from Louisiana to understand how cost-benefit analysis impacts levee protection decisions. Ultimately the chapter will argue that the suffering caused by sea level rise is a social construct, as well as an outcome of ecological shift. Here we see that habitual marginalization and economic and political systems of disenfranchisement render certain populations invisible or “less valuable” to protect, and that this, in turn, perpetuates cycles of vulnerability under climate change regimes.

Elizabeth Marino

Chapter 12. Recovery After Disasters: How Adaptation to Climate Change Will Occur

Adaptation to climate change in general, and sea level rise in particular, will be a complex process involving difficult decisions for communities. Scores of coastal cities will need to make some adjustments to rising sea level. In most cases, communities will confront disruptive new sea levels through large coastal storms and storm surges rather than as a result of slowly rising waters. Thus, adaptation to sea level rise will occur, to a great extent, through the process of long-term post-disaster recovery following these episodic disasters. If severe coastal storms are the carrier of sea level rise, then post-disaster recovery is the means of adaptation. This paper briefly summarizes what we know about the process of post-disaster recovery, with particular attention to the process of community relocation after disasters. We know that recovery is a fast-paced process with many actors, and that smart recovery requires intention, resources, and organizations designed to operate effectively in post-disaster compressed time environments. Successful recovery requires citizen involvement, and relocation in particular requires citizens to be empowered to be partners in the decisions. Still, relocation is inherently challenging, because it is expensive, residents have strong attachments to place, and relocations often disrupt social and economic networks and impede livelihoods.

Robert B. Olshansky

Responding to Climate Change: Priorities, Perspectives, and Solutions

Frontmatter

Chapter 13. The Climate-Change Challenge to Human-Drawn Boundaries

The plights of climate-change migrants raise serious questions about human-drawn territorial boundaries, among nation states, among political subdivisions, and indeed between and among private property owners. These questions go beyond matters of social justice and individual rights to include matters relating to the abilities of local people everywhere to live in ways that keep them, and their lands and waters, healthy. The challenges of migrants thus are usefully considered as part of a larger inquiry into how we live in nature and what it will take for us and our natural homes to thrive over time. That larger inquiry needs to pay particular attention to the root causes of our misuses of nature, including (but hardly limited to) our behaviors that stimulate climate change. Good policies would help people everywhere succeed at this foundational task of living on land without degrading it, and they would help migrants through means that respect local efforts to live rightly in nature. Wisely drawn and understood, human-drawn boundaries of all types could help make this overall goal possible, likely giving rise to political and proprietary boundaries that are, in various ways, both more and less permeable than those we have today.

Eric T. Freyfogle

Chapter 14. Neoliberal (Mis)Management of Earth-Time and the Ethics of Climate Justice

In this chapter I will argue that present day forms of economic accounting and management are changing the public and private representation of costs and benefits of consumption and production activities, including those which impact on climate change and energy use. I These foster a culture focused on near-term quantitative targets instead of attending to the intrinsic goods of production and service activities. The resultant short-termist mentality has notable impacts on the ecological sustainability of public and private investments. In this study of faith-based climate activism I show that individuals and communities who commit to ecologically sustainable activities do so primarily not from an accounting frame of near term risks and benefits. Instead they act because of their knowledge of the impacts of climate change on already existing persons, including farmers in developing countries, or climate risks for their own children and grandchildren. This relational frame for responding to environmental risks arguably has more cultural power in fostering sustainability than the narrowly quantitative cost benefit frame fostered by economic neoliberalism.

Michael S. Northcott

Chapter 15. Human Capital in a Climate-Changed World

At the center of the crisis of climate change is an amazingly efficient but inert fossil fuel-centered energy industry. What makes the energy industry so inert is its massive stock of capital: the facilities, structures, networks, and other physical assets required to extract, process, distribute, and combust fossil fuels. This capital stock is predicated on fossil fuel exploitation, and does not adapt well to alternative methods of meeting energy needs. Fossil fuel subsidies have bloated capital investments in the energy sector, producing low prices and in turn, economic development. It has thus been widely assumed that this is the most reliable model for economic development. Two things have become increasingly clear: (i) that fossil fuel subsidies and low energy prices are not a condition precedent to economic development, and (ii) human capital development, primarily through broad provision of education, is a condition precedent to economic development. The climate crisis highlights the environmental harms of fossil fuel combustion, but it also shines a spotlight on the faulty economic reasoning behind a fossil fuel-centered model of economic growth. This chapter suggests that as a minimum, two no-regrets policies be linked: the phase-out of fossil fuel subsidies, and the robust financing of broader access to education. The climate crisis introduces a new set of inequalities, those in which some countries have benefited disproportionately from the combustion of fossil fuels, and a mostly different set of countries will suffer disproportionately from the harms of climate change. Effecting a direct transfer of fossil fuel subsidies to educational objectives simultaneously reduces the inert capital in fossil fuel industries, increases more productive capital in the form of human capital, and provides a compensatory mechanism for those disproportionately harmed by climate change. Ultimately, the most beneficial and lasting aid that can be provided for developing countries most vulnerable to climate change is one that increases human capital through broad educational initiatives.

Shi-Ling Hsu

Chapter 16. A Wild Solution for Climate Change

In addition to the physical impacts of climate change—the retreat of ice in most places, change in fire regimes, extreme weather events (droughts, major storms), sea level rise and ocean acidification, there are multiple biological impacts. The latter are no longer just modest changes in phenology and geographical distribution. The shift to accelerating change makes a strong case for limiting climate change to no more than 1.5° above pre-industrial temperature. That challenging goal can only be achieved by lowering greenhouse gas concentrations. Restoration of extensive historically degraded and destroyed ecosystems has the potential to substantially lower atmospheric CO2 concentrations—hence a “wild solution” to climate change.

Thomas E. Lovejoy
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