In the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, many beach houses were wiped out. One building has stood the test of the strongest storm that ever struck Florida's Panhandel since hurricane was first recorded. NYT reported this remarkable building, which highlights the importance of voluntary decision to build "for the big one."
William Nordhaus was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences because of his decades' effort to integrate climate sciences into economic models. His Dynamic Integrated Climate and Economy (DICE) is used to explain how Greenhouse Gases emissions if not tamed could lead to catastrophes down the road. This pioneering effort is not immune to criticism. Using climate-economy integrated models to design and implement specific climate policies is subject to misuses, as Robert Pindyck contended. According to Pindyck, modeler's limited knowledge about climate sensitivity and arbitrary selection of functional forms and parameter values do not make results from complicated models more valid than modeler's own "expert" opinion.
Two events with significance for the climate community took place today. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) just released a special report on Global Warming of 1.5 °C . Half of the Nobel Prize in Economics was awarded to an economist who integrates climate change into economical models and puts a price tag on carbon emissions.
I am featured in this article on hurricane risk perceptions published on Medium today.
A year after Hurricane Harvey, the decisions to rebuild can affect the future. I just published an analysis article on the Conversation. Here is the last paragraph:
"My recent research shows that even with their flaws, FEMA flood maps influence decisions to purchase flood insurance and overall support for flood mitigation. Policy makers need to seriously consider how to accurately communicate increasing flood risks to the public. Reverting to old flood maps and granting variances to promote development is a recipe for more disasters down the road."
Hat tip to Emily Powell at the National Wildlife Federation, who brought this situation to my attention.
Climate change in everything: extreme temperature reduces daily oversight of police officers and food safety inspectors
A new paper published on the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences find evidence to suggest that environmental stressors such as hot temperature can negatively affect the psychological and physiological well-being of police officers and food safety inspectors and reduce their daily oversight activities.
The New York Time magazine just published a 30000-word long report on the history of climate politics. However, many scientists and historians of science do not think this report accurately portrays the history.
A new study published on Nature Climate Change used comprehensive data from multiple decades and social media data to test whether temperature increase would deteriorate mental well-being and further lead to rising suicide rates. They found evidence in both the U.S. and Mexico.
A new NBER working paper shows aggregate-level evidence that indicates cumulative exposure to heat can have detrimental impacts on learning. The authors suggest school air conditioning can help mitigate the adverse effects. Evidently, more studies need to be conducted in developing countries where air conditioning is not universally available.
I am honored to be invited to give a seminar talk, entitled "Understanding Human Judgement on Environmental Risks and Hazards in a Geographic Context," at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Princeton University on June 21.
The abstract of the talk is as follows:
"The coupling effects of changing climate and rising concentration of population and assets in the coastal regions have increased the threat of potential damages. There is an urgent need for coastal communities to prepare well for future hazards through mitigation and adaptation measures. A growing number of empirical studies have found that peoples’ motivation of voluntary risk mitigation and adaptation is low unless actual risk can be perceived. Risk perception is thus the precondition for adaptive behavior. It is of both intellectual and practical interests to study what affects individuals’/communities’ risk perceptions. In this talk, I will present four of my previous studies. The first three studies are focused on the individual level and the fourth on the aggregate level. I will start with understanding how local weather and climate affect American public risk perceptions of climate change. I will then discuss how the spatial context represented by past flooding events and estimated flooding risks influence costal residents’ voluntary flood insurance purchase decisions and their support for flood adaptation policies. As many policies are designed and implemented at an aggregate level (i.e., state, county, city), it is necessary to examine aggregate-level risk perceptions. In the fourth study, I will focus on how the contextual hurricane risks in conjunction with community resilience shape county-level perceptions of hurricane-related risks. I will end with a research agenda linking communities’ perception with contextual risks and community resilience. I contend that the cognitive dimension including both risk perceptions and perceived adaptive capacity is not represented in any of the existing community resilience indexes, and therefore needs to be measured, quantified, and incorporated into a more comprehensive index."