Enhanced weathering is a promising approach to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. However, it may also pose environmental risks through the release of heavy metals, in particular nickel and chromium. In this perspective article I explore the potential role of plants in modulating these heavy metal fluxes. Agricultural basaltic soils may be valuable study sites in this context. However, the effect of biomass harvesting on the accumulation of heavy metals is currently not well studied. Mostly caused by different parent rock concentrations, there is a large variability of heavy metal concentrations in basaltic and ultramafic soils. Hence, to minimize environmental risks of enhanced weathering, basalts with low heavy metal concentrations should be favored. Existing phytoremediation strategies may be used to “phytoprevent” the accumulation of nickel and chromium released from enhanced weathering in soils. As a result, elevated nickel and chromium concentrations in rocks must not preclude enhanced weathering in all settings. In particular, hyperaccumulating plants could be used as part of a crop rotation to periodically remove heavy metals from soils. Enhanced weathering could also be employed on fields or forests of (non-hyper) accumulating plants that have a high primary production of biomass. Both approaches may have additional synergies with phytomining or bioenergy carbon capture and storage, increasing the total amount of carbon dioxide drawdown and at the same time preventing heavy metal accumulation in soils.
A changing climate makes the evaluation of human impacts on natural systems increasingly uncertain and affects the risk associated with management decisions. This influences both the achievability and meaning of marine conservation and resource management objectives. A risk-based framework that includes a risk equivalence approach in the evaluation of the potential consequences from human activity, can be a powerful tool for timely and consistent handling of environmental considerations in management advice. Risk equivalence permits a formal treatment of all sources of uncertainty, such that objectives-based management decisions can be maintained within acceptable risk levels and deliver outcomes consistent with expectations. There are two pathways to risk equivalence that can be used to account for the short-term and longer-term impacts of a changing environment: adjusting the degree of exposure to human pressure and adjusting the reference levels used to measure the risk. The first uses existing data and knowledge to derive risk conditioning factors applied to condition management advice on environmental departures from baseline conditions. The second is used to formalise the review and update of management objectives, reference levels and risk tolerances, so they remain consistent with potential consequences from human activity under new biological, ecological and socio-economic realities. A risk equivalence approach is about adapting existing practice to frame environmental considerations within objectives-based risk frameworks, systematically exploring alternative scenarios and assumptions, and conditioning management advice on environmental status. It is applicable to the management of all human activities impacting biological and ecological systems. Concepts of risk, risk conditioning factors, and incremental changes in risk, provide a common currency for the inclusion and communication of environmental effects into advice. Risk equivalence can ensure timely delivery of robust management advice accounting for demonstrated, anticipated or projected environmental effects. This can guide management decisions in a changing world, and greatly facilitate the implementation of an ecosystem approach for the management of human activities.
There is a growing evidence that emotions shape people's reactions to the climate crisis in profound but complex ways. Climate emotions are related to resilience, climate action, and psychological well-being and health. However, there is currently a lack of research about the array of various climate emotions. There is also a need for more integration with general research about emotions. This article conducts a preliminary exploration of the taxonomy of climate emotions, based on literature reviews and philosophical discussion. The term emotion is used here in a broad sense, as is common in climate emotion research. Because of the urgency of the climate crisis and the lack of previous research, this kind of exploration is aimed to be helpful for both practical climate work and for future research which would include more systematic reviews of the topic. Research items which discuss at least five different climate emotions, based on empirical observations, are used as major sources and a table about them is provided. Climate emotions are discussed on the basis of interdisciplinary research. The article considers many aspects of the phenomena of climate anxiety and climate grief.
The risk of compound events describes potential weather and climate events in which the combination of multiple drivers and hazards consolidate, resulting in extreme socio-economic impacts. Compound events affecting exposed societies can therefore be deemed a crucial security risk. Designing appropriate preparation proves difficult, as compound events are rarely documented. This paper explores the understanding and practices of climate risk management related to compound events in specific Danish municipalities vulnerable to flood hazards (i.e., Odense, Hvidovre, and Vejle). These practices illuminate that different understandings of compound events steer risk attitudes and consequently decisions regarding the use of different policy instruments. Through expert interviews supported by policy documents, we found that the municipalities understand compound events as either a condition or situation and develop precautionary strategies to some extent. Depending on their respective geographical surroundings, they observe compound events either as no clear trend (Odense), a trend to be critically watched (Hvidovre), or already as a partial reality (Vejle). They perceive flood drivers and their combinations as major physical risks to which they adopt different tailor-made solutions. By choosing a bottom-up approach focusing on local governance structures, it demonstrated that the mismatch between responsibility and capacity and the ongoing separation of services related to climatic risks in the Danish municipality context need to be critically considered. The findings highlight that the complex challenge of compound events cannot be solved by one (scientific) discipline alone. Thus, the study advocates a broader inclusion of scientific practices and increased emphasis on local focus within compound event research to foster creative thinking, better preparation, and subsequently more effective management of their risks.
This article examines the public perceptions on the drafting process of Finnish Climate Act amendment, which is a legislation on the climate policy that aims to mitigate climate change and secure adaptive capacity. In this paper we present results of a thematic analysis, which reveals citizens' perceptions of the procedural values, with respect to transparency, participation, and acceptance, and the objectives of the amendment, such as the climate neutrality target for 2035. The research data consisted of 2,458 answers to a citizen survey on the Finnish Climate Change Act amendment. Our results reveal that the opinions of citizens ranged from highlighting the urgency of political action to climate denials, with varying perceptions on process and proposed outcomes. While over half of citizens felt positively about the 2035 climate neutrality target created in the Climate Change Amendment Act, only a third believed that there was appropriate opportunity for public participation in the amendment process. Based on these findings, we suggest that participatory and transparent processes in legislative drafting are prerequisites for the sustainability transition and the implementation of international climate mitigation targets.
The Polar Regions chapter of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC) provides a comprehensive assessment of climate change impacts on polar marine ecosystems and associated consequences for humans. It also includes identification of confidence for major findings based on agreement across studies and weight of evidence. Sources of uncertainty, from the extent of available datasets, to resolution of projection models, to the complexity and understanding of underlying social-ecological linkages and dynamics, can influence confidence. Here we, marine ecosystem scientists all having experience as lead authors of IPCC reports, examine the evolution of confidence in observed and projected climate-linked changes in polar ecosystems since SROCC. Further synthesis of literature on polar marine ecosystems has been undertaken, especially within IPCC's Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) Working Group II; for the Southern Ocean also the Marine Ecosystem Assessment for the Southern Ocean (MEASO). These publications incorporate new scientific findings that address some of the knowledge gaps identified in SROCC. While knowledge gaps have been narrowed, we still find that polar region assessments reflect pronounced geographical skewness in knowledge regarding the responses of marine life to changing climate and associated literature. There is also an imbalance in scientific focus; especially research in Antarctica is dominated by physical oceanography and cryosphere science with highly fragmented approaches and only short-term funding to ecology. There are clear indications that the scientific community has made substantial progress in its ability to project ecosystem responses to future climate change through the development of coupled biophysical models of the region facilitated by increased computer power allowing for improved resolution in space and time. Lastly, we point forward—providing recommendations for future advances for IPCC assessments.
The investigation of regional vulnerability to extreme hydroclimatic events (e.g., floods and hurricanes) is quite challenging due to its dependence on reliable precipitation estimates. Better understanding of past precipitation trends is crucial to examine changing precipitation extremes, optimize future water demands, stormwater infrastructure, extreme event measures, irrigation management, etc., especially if combined with future climate and population projections. The objective of the study is to investigate the spatial-temporal variability of average and extreme precipitation at a sub-regional scale, specifically in the Southern Mid-Atlantic United States, a region characterized by diverse topography and is among the fastest-growing areas in North America. Particularly, this work investigates past precipitation trends and patterns using the North American Land Data Assimilation System, Version 2 (NLDAS-2, 12 km/1 h resolution) reanalysis dataset during 1980–2018. Both parametric (linear regression) and non-parametric (e.g., Theil-Sen) robust statistical tools are employed in the study to analyze trend magnitudes, which are tested for statistical significance using the Mann-Kendall test. Standard precipitation indices from ETCCDI are also used to characterize trends in the relative contribution of extreme events to precipitation in the area. In the region an increasing trend (4.3 mm/year) is identified in annual average precipitation with ~34% of the domain showing a significant increase (at the 0.1 significance level) of +3 to +5 mm/year. Seasonal and sub-regional trends are also investigated, with the most pronounced increasing trends identified during summers along the Virginia and Maryland border. The study also finds a statistically significant positive trend (at a 0.05 significance level) in the annual maximum precipitation. Furthermore, the number of daily extremes (daily total precipitation higher than the 95th and 99th percentiles) also depicts statistically significant increases, indicating the increased frequency of extreme precipitation events. Investigations into the proportion of annual precipitation occurring on wet days and extremely wet days (95th and 99th percentile) also indicate a significant increase in their relative contribution. The findings of this study have the potential to improve local-scale decision-making in terms of river basin management, flood control, irrigation scheme scheduling, and stormwater infrastructure planning to address urban resilience to hydrometeorological hazards.
Despite recent and mostly global efforts to promote climate services in developing countries, Africa still faces significant limitations in its institutional infrastructure and capacity to develop, access, and use decision-relevant climate data and information products at multiple levels of governance. The Enhancing National Climate Services (ENACTS) initiative, led by Columbia University's International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI), strives to overcome these challenges by co-developing tailored, actionable, and decision-relevant climate information with and for a wide variety of users at the local, regional, and national levels. This is accomplished through an approach emphasizing direct engagement with the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHS) and users of their products, and investments in both technological and human capacities for improving the availability, access, and use of quality climate data and information products at decision-relevant spatial and temporal scales. In doing so, the ENACTS approach has been shown to be an effective means of transforming decision-making surrounding vulnerabilities and risks at multiple scales, through implementation in over a dozen countries at national level as well as at the regional levels in both East and West Africa. Through the ENACTS approach, challenges to availability of climate data are alleviated by combining quality-controlled station observations with global proxies to generate spatially and temporally complete climate datasets. Access to climate information is enhanced by developing an online mapping service that provides a user-friendly interface for analyzing and visualizing climate information products. Use of the generated climate data and the derived information products is promoted through raising awareness in relevant communities, training users, and co-production processes.
Cultivated lands that support high productivity have the potential to produce a large amount of GHG emissions, including carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O), and methane (CH4). Intensive land management practices can stimulate CO2, N2O, and CH4 emissions from the soil. Cover crop establishment is considered as one of the sustainable land management strategies under warm and humid environmental conditions. To better understand how the incorporation of cover crops affect three major GHGs, we compared trace gas fluxes in a no-till maize field over the whole growing season in 2018 in a no cover crop (Tr) system and three cover crop systems: crimson clover (CC), cereal rye (CR), and living mulch (LM) using white clover. In 2019, we further explored potential differences in the three GHGs between in-row (IR) and between-row (BWR) of maize for LM and Tr systems during the early growing season. Measurements were taken using a cavity ring-down spectroscopy gas analyzer in Watkinsville, GA. In 2018, the highest CO2 flux (7.00 μmol m−2 s−1) was observed from BWR of maize for LM. The maximum N2O flux observed in LM on June 20th in 2018 was when soil N increase rate was the largest. Soils served as sinks for CH4 and Tr system served as the smallest CH4 sink compared to the other three cover crop systems. For N2O, the highest fluxes were observed from the TrIR plot (4.13 μmol m−2 hr−1) in 2019 with the greatest N inputs. In 2019, we observed a smaller CH4 sink in TrIR (−0.13 μmol m−2 hr−1) compared to TrBWR (−0.67 μmol m−2 hr−1) due potentially to greater NH4+ inhibition effects on CH4 consumption from greater N fertilizer inputs. The net carbon equivalent (CE) from May 23rd to Aug 16th in 2018, taking into account the three GHG fluxes, soil carbon content, and fertilizer, irrigation, and herbicide application, were 32–97, 35–101, 63–139, and 40–106 kg ha−1 yr−1 for CC, CR, LM, and Tr, respectively. LM had the lowest net CE after removing white clover respiration (−16–60 kg ha−1 yr−1). Our results show that implementing different types of cover crop systems and especially the LM system have some potential to mitigate climate change.