Nav: Home

Global 2 degrees C rise doubles population exposed to multiple climate risks compared to 1.5 degrees C

May 16, 2018

New research identifying climate vulnerability hotspots has found that the number of people affected by multiple climate change risks could double if the global temperature rises by 2°C, compared to a rise of 1.5°C.

The team, led by IIASA Energy Program researcher Edward Byers, investigated the overlap between multiple climate change risks and socioeconomic development to identify the vulnerability hotspots if the global mean temperature should rise by 1.5°C, 2°C and 3°C by 2050, compared to the pre-industrial baseline. Since those in poverty are much more vulnerable to climate change impacts, knowing where and how many vulnerable people are at high risk is therefore important for creating policies to mitigate the situation.

The researchers from IIASA, Global Environment Facility (GEF), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the University of Oxford, and the University of Washington, developed 14 impact indicators in three main sectors - water, energy, and food & environment - using a variety of computer models. The indicators include a water stress index, water supply seasonality, clean cooking access, heat stress events, habitat degradation, and crop yield changes. They compared the potential risks at the three global temperatures and in a range of socioeconomic pathways, to compare more equitable, sustainable development with pathways characterized by development failures and high inequality.

In 2011, an estimated 767 million people were living on less than US$1.90 per day, classed as extreme poverty, and the research team estimated that a further 3.5 billion people are "vulnerable to poverty", living on less than US$10 per day.

"Few studies have consistently investigated so many overlapping climate and development challenges," says Byers. "The research considers both different global mean temperature rises, such as the differences between 1.5°C and 2.0°C, and uses new socioeconomic datasets of income levels and inequality, to identify where and to what extent the most vulnerable in society are exposed to these climate-development challenges."

Multisector risk is one where the risk goes beyond tolerable in at least two of the three main sectors. At lower temperatures, hotspots occur primarily in south and east Asia, but with higher global temperatures, hotspots further spread to Central America, west and east Africa, the Middle East and the Mediterranean. The actual global land mass affected is relatively small, at 3-16% depending on the scenario. However, the areas at highest risk tend to be densely populated. At 1.5°C of warming, 16% of the population of the world in 2050, 1.5 billion people, will have moderate-to-high levels of multisector risk. At 2°C of warming, this almost doubles to 29% of the global population, 2.7 billion people. At 3°C of warming, that figure almost doubles again, to 50% of the population, or 4.6 billion people.

Depending on the scenario, 91-98% of the exposed and vulnerable population live in Asia and Africa. Around half of these live in south Asia alone, but Africa is likely to face greater risks as the least developed region with high social inequality.

With the world already around 1.0°C warmer than pre-industrial averages, in 2015 global leaders agreed in Paris to limit average warming by 2°C, with the ambition of limiting warming to 1.5°C if possible. The large differences, the researchers note, even between warming of 1.5°C compared to 2°C, are striking, and underline the multidimensional risks of climate change and the need to keep warming as low as possible.

Targeting socioeconomic development in hotspot areas is particularly important for reducing vulnerability in places where impacts will be most severe. Sustainable development in hotspot areas could reduce the number of people who are exposed and vulnerable by an order of magnitude, from 1.5 billion to 100 million, compared to the high inequality scenario. The poorest in society will likely be disproportionately impacted by climate change, and greater efforts to reduce inequality and promote adaptation are urgently needed.

"The research will be most relevant to policymakers and others looking to understand the benefits of keeping the average global temperature rise to 1.5°C rather than 2°C, as well as providing insights into the regions most at risk across different sectors. The poorest and most vulnerable countries are most at risk and this work will aid to identify integrated, cross-sectoral approaches and target resources for maximum impact," says Astrid Hillers, senior environmental specialist at GEF.

Keywan Riahi, IIASA Energy program director, adds: "The research indicates locations where meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is not only important but also very challenging, and shows the substantial importance of targeted poverty reduction that is required in some regions to reduce vulnerability."
-end-
The research is part of a large ongoing partnership project, Integrated Solutions for Water Energy and Land (ISWEL), between IIASA, GEF, and UNIDO, who co-developed the research and are co-funders of the project.

Reference

Byers E, Gidden M, Leclere D, Balkovic J, Burek P, Ebi KL, Greve P, Grey D, et al. (2018). Global exposure and vulnerability to multi-sector development and climate change hotspots. Environmental Research Letters [pure.iiasa.ac.at/id/eprint/15235/]

Contacts:

Edward Byers
Research Scholar
Energy
+43 2236 807 262
byers@iiasa.ac.at

Keywan Riahi
Energy Program Director
+43(0) 2236 807 491
riahi@iiasa.ac.at

Helen Tunnicliffe
IIASA Press Office
Tel: +43 2236 807 316
Mob: +43 676 83 807 316
tunnicli@iiasa.ac.at

About IIASA:

The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) is an international scientific institute that conducts research into the critical issues of global environmental, economic, technological, and social change that we face in the twenty-first century. Our findings provide valuable options to policymakers to shape the future of our changing world. IIASA is independent and funded by prestigious research funding agencies in Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe. http://www.iiasa.ac.at

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis

Related Climate Change Articles:

The black forest and climate change
Silver and Douglas firs could replace Norway spruce in the long run due to their greater resistance to droughts.
For some US counties, climate change will be particularly costly
A highly granular assessment of the impacts of climate change on the US economy suggests that each 1°Celsius increase in temperature will cost 1.2 percent of the country's gross domestic product, on average.
Climate change label leads to climate science acceptance
A new Cornell University study finds that labels matter when it comes to acceptance of climate science.
Was that climate change?
A new four-step 'framework' aims to test the contribution of climate change to record-setting extreme weather events.
It's more than just climate change
Accurately modeling climate change and interactive human factors -- including inequality, consumption, and population -- is essential for the effective science-based policies and measures needed to benefit and sustain current and future generations.
Climate change scientists should think more about sex
Climate change can have a different impact on male and female fish, shellfish and other marine animals, with widespread implications for the future of marine life and the production of seafood.
Climate change prompts Alaska fish to change breeding behavior
A new University of Washington study finds that one of Alaska's most abundant freshwater fish species is altering its breeding patterns in response to climate change, which could impact the ecology of northern lakes that already acutely feel the effects of a changing climate.
Uncertainties related to climate engineering limit its use in curbing climate change
Climate engineering refers to the systematic, large-scale modification of the environment using various climate intervention techniques.
Public holds polarized views about climate change and trust in climate scientists
There are gaping divisions in Americans' views across every dimension of the climate debate, including causes and cures for climate change and trust in climate scientists and their research, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.
The psychology behind climate change denial
In a new thesis in psychology, Kirsti Jylhä at Uppsala University has studied the psychology behind climate change denial.

Related Climate Change Reading:

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Climate Change (The Politically Incorrect Guides)
by Marc Morano (Author)

Less freedom. More regulation. Higher costs. Make no mistake: those are the surefire consequences of the modern global warming campaign waged by political and cultural elites, who have long ago abandoned fact-based science for dramatic fearmongering in order to push increased central planning. The Politically Incorrect Guide to Climate Change gives a voice -- backed by statistics, real-life stories, and incontrovertible evidence -- to the millions of "deplorable" Americans skeptical about the multibillion dollar "climate change" complex, whose claims have time and time again been... View Details


Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know®
by Joseph Romm (Author)

Climate change will have a bigger impact on humanity than the Internet has had. The last decade's spate of superstorms, wildfires, heat waves, and droughts has accelerated the public discourse on this topic and lent credence to climatologist Lonnie Thomson's 2010 statement that climate change "represents a clear and present danger to civilization." In June 2015, the Pope declared that action on climate change is a moral issue.

This book offers the most up-to-date examination of climate change's foundational science, its implications for our future, and the core clean energy solutions.... View Details


This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate
by Naomi Klein (Author)

The most important book yet from the author of the international bestseller The Shock Doctrine, a brilliant explanation of why the climate crisis challenges us to abandon the core “free market” ideology of our time, restructure the global economy, and remake our political systems.

In short, either we embrace radical change ourselves or radical changes will be visited upon our physical world. The status quo is no longer an option.

In This Changes Everything Naomi Klein argues that climate change isn’t just another issue to be neatly filed between taxes and... View Details


Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know®
by Joseph Romm (Author)

"This is, for my money, the best single-source primer on the state of climate change." - New York Magazine

"The right book at the right time: accessible, comprehensive, unflinching, humane." - The Daily Beast

"A must-read." - The Guardian

The essential primer on what will be the defining issue of our time, Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know® is a clear-eyed overview of the science, conflicts, and implications of our warming planet.

From Joseph Romm, Chief Science... View Details


Climate Change: The Facts
by J.Abbot (Author), J.S. Armstrong (Author), A.Bolt (Author), R.Carter (Author), R.Darwall (Author), J.Delingpole (Author), C.Essex (Author), S.Franks (Author), K.Green (Author), D.Laframboise (Author), N.Lawson (Author), B.Lewin (Author), R.Lindzen (Author), J.Marohasy (Author), R.McKitrick (Author), P.Michaels (Author), A.Moran (Author), J.Nova (Author), G.Paltridge (Author), I.Plimer (Author), W.Soon (Author), M.Steyn (Author), A.Watts (Author), Alan Moran (Editor)

Tirelessly promoted by princes, presidents, actors and activists, "climate change" has become a dominant theme of global politics. But what's really going on as the "pause" in global warming prepares to enter its third decade? In this new anthology, leading scientists and commentators from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia consider the climate from every angle - the science, the policy and the politics. View Details


A Global Warming Primer: Answering Your Questions About The Science, The Consequences, and The Solutions
by Jeffrey Bennett (Author)

Winner:
2017 NSTA, Outstanding Science Trade Books
2017 Children's Book Council, Best STEM Books
Nautilus Book Award, Silver, Ecology and Environment

Is human-induced global warming a real threat to our future? Most people will express an opinion on this question, but relatively few can back their opinions with solid evidence. Many times we’ve even heard pundits say “I am not a scientist” to avoid the issue altogether. But the truth is, the basic science is not that difficult. Using a question and answer format, this book will help readers achieve three major... View Details


The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History
by Elizabeth Kolbert (Author)

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE
ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW'S 10 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST

A major book about the future of the world, blending intellectual and natural history and field reporting into a powerful account of the mass extinction unfolding before our eyes

Over the last half-billion years, there have been Five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists... View Details


Climate Change: The Facts 2017
by Jennifer Marohasy (Editor)

Climate Change: The Facts 2017 contains 22 essays by internationally-renowned experts and commentators, including Dr Bjorn Lomborg, Dr Matt Ridley, Professor Peter Ridd, Dr Willie Soon, Dr Ian Plimer, Dr Roy Spencer, and literary giant Clive James. The volume is edited by Dr Jennifer Marohasy, Senior Fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs. Fourteen of the contributors currently hold or have held positions at a university or a scientific research organisation.

Dr Jennifer Marohasy said, "Climate Change: The Facts 2017 presents the case for climate change policies... View Details


Lyme: The First Epidemic of Climate Change
by Mary Beth Pfeiffer (Author)

"Superbly written and researched." Booklist

"Builds a strong case." Kirkus

Lyme disease is spreading rapidly around the globe as ticks move into places they could not survive before. The first epidemic to emerge in the era of climate change, the disease infects half a million people in the US and Europe each year, and untold multitudes in Canada, China, Russia, and Australia.

Mary Beth Pfeiffer shows how we have contributed to this growing menace, and how modern medicine has underestimated its danger. She... View Details


The Thinking Person's Guide to Climate Change
by Robert Henson (Author)

Everybody can be a thinking person when it comes to climate change, and this book is a perfect roadmap.  Start a web search for “climate change” and the first three suggestions are “facts,” “news,” and “hoax.” The Thinking Person's Guide to Climate Change is rooted in the first, up to date on the second, and anything but the last. Produced by one of the most venerable atmospheric science organizations, it is a must-read for anyone looking for the full story on climate change.

Using global research and written with nonscientists in mind, the Guide... View Details

Best Science Podcasts 2018

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2018. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Attention Please
In an age of constant information and infinite distractions, how can we pay more attention to our ... attention? This hour, TED speakers explore the battle for our awareness during the digital age. Guests include sociologist Zeynep Tufekci, podcast host Manoush Zomorodi, neuroscientist Amishi Jha, designer Tristan Harris, and computer scientist Jaron Lanier.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#475 Mother Nature is Trying to Kill You (Rebroadcast)
This week, we're learning how deadly and delightful our planet and its ecosystem can be. We're joined by biologist Dan Riskin, co-host of Discovery Canada's Daily Planet, to talk about his book "Mother Nature Is Trying to Kill You: a Lively Tour Through the Dark Side of the Natural World." And we'll talk to astronomer and author Phil Plait about Science Getaways, his company that offers educational vacation experiences for science lovers.