Inducing climate-smart global supply networks: Nature Commentary

February 05, 2014

In a Nature Commentary he proposes a community effort to collect economic data on the new website zeean.net. The aim is to better understand economic flows and to thereby induce a transformation of our supply chains into a stable, climate-smart network that renders our societies less vulnerable to future climate impacts.

"Storms, floods or droughts in one place can have considerable effects all around the world," Levermann explains. "Take for instance the devastating flood in Thailand in 2011: The local impact was calamitous. Its effect on hard-disk production made it also a global event causing a worldwide shortage for months afterwards." Flows of materials, communication and energy, their interactions and market dynamics can be subject to climatic extremes - directly but also indirectly via their supply chains. "If the associated risk and vulnerability to climate impacts is to be included into the planning of companies or public institutions, the first step is to identify the vulnerable bottlenecks of our global supply networks," Levermann says.

Open data and open source algorithms

With the newly launched website zeean.net Levermann aims to kick-start a community effort to generate a global economic networks database of unprecedented comprehensiveness. In order to study the impact of climate extremes, highly detailed information is needed. Similar to the architecture of Wikipedia, any registered and vetted user of zeean.net can enter data about flows between different regional economic sectors, while each piece of information posted will be cross-checked and validated by other users to assess the input quality. The idea is to instigate a community that creates a system of checks-and-balances towards high accuracy of the data. Only open sources will be used and only open source algorithms and analysis tools will be employed to ensure maximum transparency and traceability.

So far, only few research groups around the world compile and use supply chain data. Zeean.net will built on the work of Australian researchers from the University of Sydney, providing information on economic flows between 26 sectors in 186 regions of the world during the past 23 years. With each piece of valid information added, zeean.net will become more accurate and comprehensive, while users see a network evolving that depicts the connectivity of supply chains and enables to identify fragile links. Eventually, the economic data is to be combined with probability assessments of future climate extremes from global and regional climate impact models.

"Our growing insight into climatic extremes needs to be complemented with increasing knowledge about the flows of resources, goods, energy and information that keep our societies running", Levermann says. "Making this information public might induce self-organized dynamics in our global supply network and will hopefully make our economies more resilient against future climate extremes."
-end-
Article: Levermann, A. (2014): Comment: Make supply chains climate-smart. Nature 506, 27-29.

Weblink to Zeean: http://www.zeean.net/

For a preview of Zeean before the official launch please use: http://www.zeean.net/beta/

For further information please contact:

PIK press office
Phone: +49 331 288 25 07
E-Mail: press@pik-potsdam.de
Twitter: @PIK_Climate

Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)

Related Climate Articles from Brightsurf:

Are climate scientists being too cautious when linking extreme weather to climate change?
Climate science has focused on avoiding false alarms when linking extreme events to climate change.

Climate Insights 2020: Climate opinions unchanged by pandemic, but increasingly entrenched
A new survey provides a snapshot of American opinion on climate change as the nation's public health, economy, and social identity are put to the test.

Climate action goes digital
More transparent and accessible to everyone: information and communication technologies bring opportunities for transforming traditional climate diplomacy.

Sub-national 'climate clubs' could offer key to combating climate change
'Climate clubs' offering membership for sub-national states, in addition to just countries, could speed up progress towards a globally harmonized climate change policy, which in turn offers a way to achieve stronger climate policies in all countries.

Review of Chinese atmospheric science research over the past 70 years: Climate and climate change
Over the past 70 years since the foundation of the People's Republic of China, Chinese scientists have made great contributions to various fields in the research of atmospheric sciences, which attracted worldwide attention.

How aerosols affect our climate
Greenhouse gases may get more attention, but aerosols -- from car exhaust to volcanic eruptions -- also have a major impact on the Earth's climate.

Believing in climate change doesn't mean you are preparing for climate change, study finds
Notre Dame researchers found that although coastal homeowners may perceive a worsening of climate change-related hazards, these attitudes are largely unrelated to a homeowner's expectations of actual home damage.

How trees could save the climate
Around 0.9 billion hectares of land worldwide would be suitable for reforestation, which could ultimately capture two thirds of human-made carbon emissions.

Climate undermined by lobbying
For all the evidence that the benefits of reducing greenhouse gases outweigh the costs of regulation, disturbingly few domestic climate change policies have been enacted around the world so far.

Climate education for kids increases climate concerns for parents
A new study from North Carolina State University finds that educating children about climate change increases their parents' concerns about climate change.

Read More: Climate News and Climate Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.