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.
It is widely known that severe air pollution can cause public health crises. A working paper specifically links air pollution with dementia among the aging population. It finds that long-term exposure to air pollution can increase the prevalence of dementia, suggesting the air pollutants' impairment of cognition.
Scholars have long speculated the function of religion as a psychological coping mechanism to mitigate life's unpredictable tragedies and adversities. This paper uses earthquakes, one manifestation of unpredictable tragedy, as a determinant in models explaining variations of individual religiosity. It finds that people all over the world become more religious when struck by earthquakes.
I am featured in this article on hurricane risk perceptions published on Medium today.
When many people thought 2018 would be a relatively quiet hurricane season, monstrous Hurricane Florence is barreling towards the east coast. More than one millions coastal residents are facing mandatory evacuation order. It is now classified as Category 4 hurricane. The Saffir-Simpson scale only considers wind speed. In addition to destructive wind, hurricanes bring heavy rainfall as we witnessed during Hurricane Harvey last year and dangerous storm surge. There will be imminent flooding risks.
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.
Decades of research has been dedicated to finding the solution to Common-pool resource (CPR) dilemmas or the tragedy of the commons. Successful CPR management requires community members to put their "skin in the game," to use Nassim Taleb's words. Specifically, members of a community need to share the same set of social norms, within which the sense of right and wrong can guide members' behaviors. Resources need to be allocated fairly deemed by members. A recent study published on Nature Human Behavior find some evidence that children by the age of six can develop skills to solve CPR dilemmas as adults do.
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.