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Sep 21, 2018, 12:17 PM
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 11 
 on: Today at 04:31 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja
Find a mate or stay safe? A tricky decision for male deer

Some male elk (a North American species of deer) shed their antlers earlier in the year, which favors them to get better mating partners. However, this also leaves them defenseless for a while — and wolves have picked up on this, targetting them specifically.

A male elk’s antlers are a good indication of strength and fertility, traits which are valued by potential mates.

The main purpose of antlers is sexual selection: males use antlers to compete with each other, and females also prefer males with big antlers, as they indicate strength and fertility. Like other deer, elk shed their antlers over a two-three month period, right after the mating season has ended. This allows them to grow new antlers by the next mating season.

But antlers also serve a secondary purpose — they help defend against predators like wolves, a new study suggests.

ElkS

Also called wapiti, elks (Cervus canadensis) are some of the largest deer species in the world.

They’re native to the forest edge habitats of North America and eastern Asia, but they have also adapted well to the countries in which they have been introduced, including Argentina and New Zealand.

Some cultures cherish them as a spiritual force, yet they are often hunted as game. In Asia, some of their body parts are used in traditional medicine.

Wolves, intelligent creatures that they are, picked up on this fact. In a new study published in Nature, University of Montana researchers report that wolves target elk who have shed their antlers, even if they are fitter and apparently more difficult to hunt.

    “We show, however, that male elk that cast their antlers early are preferentially hunted and killed by wolves, despite early casters being in better nutritional condition than antlered individuals,” researchers write. “Our results run counter to classic expectations of coursing predators preferring poorer-conditioned individuals, and in so doing, reveal an important secondary function for an exaggerated sexually selected weapon—predatory deterrence.”

So the elk are faced with an interesting trade-off: do they shed their antlers early, and face an increased wolf risk but raise their chances of finding a mate, or do they maintain them more — which keeps them safer, but makes them less attractive?

In this case, safety won, researchers say: uniquely among North American deer, elk retain their antlers long after they fulfill their primary role in reproduction. In other words, as exciting as mating is, not being eaten by wolves takes priority. However, researchers say, the need to regrow antlers results in a trade-off between these two functions — and this trade-off likely influenced the species’ evolution over time.

The study “Predation shapes the evolutionary traits of cervid weapons” has been published in Nature Ecology & Evolution

 12 
 on: Today at 04:26 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja
Beluga whales, killer whales, and narwhals also go through menopause

ZME
9/21/2018

It’s not just humans — researchers have found that at least four other species go through menopause, and they’re all toothed whales: belugas, narwhals, killer whales and short-finned pilot whales.

Beluga whale.

When it comes to menopause, we’re an outlier. Menopause has been observed in several species of primates, including rhesus monkeys and chimps, but as far as we can tell, most animals don’t go through menopause. However, the presence of menopause in other species remains an understudied field, and one which will likely yield more surprises in the future.

If you think about it, menopause doesn’t seem to make that much sense. In the “survive, reproduce, and conquer” of animal existence, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of incentive to stop reproducing. Even chimps, who do go through menopause, only do so in the final years of their lives, whereas in humans, it typically occurs between 49 and 52 years of age — with plenty of years still left. Alas, we’re not the only ones to do it. The authors of a new report, at the Universities of Exeter and of York in conjunction with the Center for Whale Research, focused on toothed whales.

Intriguingly, they found that menopause has evolved independently in three whale species: killer whales, short-finned pilot whales, and a common ancestor of the belugas and narwhals.

Menopause

Menopause is the natural cessation of menstruation. Women are born with a finite number of eggs and they don’t make any new ones during their lifetime. When the woman runs out of her supply of eggs, the ovaries stop making estrogen, and menopause commences.

But perhaps even more interestingly, this gives a remarkable insight into why menopause evolved in the first place. The key lies in the social structure.

    “For menopause to make sense in evolutionary terms, a species needs both a reason to stop reproducing and a reason to live on afterwards,” said first author Dr Sam Ellis, of the University of Exeter. “In killer whales, the reason to stop comes because both male and female offspring stay with their mothers for life – so as a female ages, her group contains more and more of her children and grandchildren.”

Killer whales live in highly social, matriarchal groups. Females are responsible for taking care of the education and discipline of the younger whales. This gives the female killer whales an incentive to carry on living, but a disincentive to carry on reproducing.

    “This increasing relatedness means that, if she keeps having young, they compete with her own direct descendants for resources such as food. The reason to continue living is that older females are of great benefit to their offspring and grand-offspring. For example, their knowledge of where to find food helps groups survive.”

Narwhals and belugas are not so well studied and their social structures are not as well known, but it’s likely that they share similar social characteristics.

The study has been published in Scientific Reports.

 13 
 on: Today at 04:21 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja
Here’s What Agriculture of the Future Looks Like: The Multiple Benefits of Regenerative Agriculture Quantified

By Ricardo Salvador
Ecowatch
9/21/2018

At the Union of Concerned Scientists, we have long advocated agricultural systems that are productive and better for the environment, the economy, farmers, farmworkers and eaters than the dominant industrial system. We refer to such a system as our Healthy Farm vision. Based on comprehensive science, we have specified that healthy farm systems must be multifunctional, biodiverse, interconnected and regenerative.

The scientific case for agricultural systems that renew rather than diminish resources is comprehensive, and research demonstrates the productivity and agronomic feasibility of such systems. Yet, economically viable real-world examples are necessary to spur acceptance and adoption of such schemes. Further, we need to overcome the limitations of economic thinking and measures that were developed in the 19th century—when it seemed that the earth's resources and its capacity to absorb waste were inexhaustible—and improve them to create more modern assessments, appropriate for the 21st century and beyond. A new report from our colleagues at Farmland LP, Delta Institute and Earth Economics will make a major contribution toward this end.

Our World In Data

Economists view agriculture as a primary sector of the economy, meaning that without the activity of that sector, the remainder of the economy (such as manufacturing and service) could not be developed. Together with other primary economic enterprises such as mining and forestry, agriculture has generally been practiced and acknowledged as an extractive industry. Whereas mining is visibly extractive, agriculture is less so, because degradative processes such as soil erosion, fertility loss, and water and air pollution are not as obvious as mountaintop removal and strip mining. Yet, as practiced industrially, agriculture is both extractive and more extensive than mining.

Extractive agricultural practices are abetted by strategies such as importing nutrients to compensate for loss of native soil fertility and by the fact that we value the gains from the extraction but don't discount the losses. For example, we measure crop and animal yield and translate that to sales and profit, but don't subtract from the ledger the soil, nutrients, air and water quality lost to produce crops and livestock. One superficial reason for this is that we don't know the "cost" of those resources, but that is simply a polite way to say that historically we don't value them. This is a perfect example of the nostrum that we measure what we care about and care about what we measure.

Yet, agriculture need not be inherently extractive. Through practices that build soil, recycle nutrients and store water it can become a regenerative system while still providing abundant food and other agricultural products. A key to shift from extractive to regenerative mode is to build a more complete picture of the total benefits and costs associated with agricultural management. For nearly a decade, the investment firm Farmland LP has been managing thousands of acres with regenerative techniques, thereby providing an opportunity for scientists and economists to assess the value of these practices to soil, water, climate, energy and social sectors. The Delta Institute and Earth Economics, with grant support from the Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service, worked with Farmland LP on just such a project.

Based on a comprehensive review of scientific literature examining the value of various ecosystem services, the researchers applied the rigorous methodologies of Ecosystem Services Valuation and Greenhouse Gas Accounting to assess the effects of farm management on items such as soil formation and quality, water capture and quality, pollination and seed dispersal, climate stability, disaster risk reduction, air quality and biological control. Using Colorado State University's COMET-Farm model, and the USDA's Revised Universal Soil Los Equation, the researchers evaluated the effect of regenerative techniques on farmed and non-farmed land under Farmland LP's management. They compared these model outputs with those from land managed conventionally to construct a comprehensive impact balance sheet.

The sums cited in this report are astounding, ascending into the millions of dollars of added ecological value from regenerative process—against millions of dollars of ecological losses due to standard industrial practices. The practices Farmland LP implements are well-known, backed by science and practice, and accessible to all farmers and farm managers with an interest in managing whole systems to increase returns to management. Examples include integrated crop and livestock production, crop rotation, biodiverse annual and perennial mixes, stream buffers, grassed waterways, organic fertilizers, biological pest control and uncultivated land to provide ecological services (erosion control, water capture, habitat and refugia for beneficial organisms.) The combination of these regenerative methods generated net value while industrial methods destroyed value—all while performing comparably on the dominant indicator of agricultural yield.

This assessment affirms the concrete value and effectiveness of multifunctional regenerative approaches. Since many of these ecosystem services are not currently quantified—much less traded—on markets that would remunerate farmers, the benefits are primarily experienced by way of cleaner environment, lower costs of production and added value of agricultural land. This is because land managed with regenerative practices will produce bountifully, at lower cost and for an indeterminate period of time, whereas the value of industrially managed land depends on false and brittle economies, such as access to government subsidies and the availability of cheap industrial fertilizer.

In fact, the main business of Farmland LP, a real estate investment trust, is to add long-term value to agricultural land for landowners and investors. A remarkable aspect of this strategy and business model, in addition to more faithfully reflecting actual ecological economics, is how quickly Farmland LP management has been able to produce results. In addition to demonstrating the effectiveness of regenerative methods, these findings indicate the kinds of practices that should be more broadly adopted across all of agriculture to assure our livelihood at present and far into the future.

The skilled agronomists and farm managers at Farmland LP, together with the rigorous scientists and economists who have developed and used the ecosystem evaluation technique, are demonstrating that regenerative agriculture is not an aspirational figment. It is real, it is possible, it is productive, it is profitable and it is environmentally beneficial. These things can all exist with one another. A successful business model is predicated on this. As long as reliable scientific information influences decisions and behavior, this report provides a beacon toward more viable, ethical and realistic agricultural practice for the long term.

 14 
 on: Today at 04:16 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja
World's Largest River Floods Five Times More Often Than It Used to

Ecowatch
9/21/2018

Extreme floods have become more frequent in the Amazon Basin in just the last two to three decades, according to a new study.

After analyzing 113 years of Amazon River levels in Port of Manaus, Brazil, researchers found that severe floods happened roughly every 20 years in the first part of the 20th century. Now, extreme flooding of the world's largest river occurs every four years on average—or about five times more frequently than it used to.

"With a few minor exceptions, there have been extreme floods in the Amazon basin every year from 2009 to 2015," study lead author, Jonathan Barichivich, environmental scientist at the Universidad Austral de Chile, said in a press release.

This increase in flooding could be disastrous for communities in Brazil, Peru and other Amazonian nations, the researchers pointed out.

"There are catastrophic effects on the lives of the people as the drinking water gets flooded, and the houses get completely destroyed," Barichivich told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The study, published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances, also determined that droughts in the Amazon Basin have increased in frequency.

"Our findings unravel the ultimate causes of the recent intensification—wet season getting wetter, and dry season getting drier—of the water cycle of the largest hydrological basin of the planet," Barichivich told Retuers.

The researchers linked the increase in flooding to a strengthening of the Walker circulation, which is induced by the contrast of warm Atlantic waters and the cooler waters of the Pacific.

This ocean-powered air circulation system, which influences weather patterns and rainfall in the tropics and elsewhere, can partly be attributed to shifts in wind belts caused by climate change, as Reuters noted about the study.

"This dramatic increase in floods is caused by changes in the surrounding seas, particularly the Pacific and Atlantic oceans and how they interact. Due to a strong warming of the Atlantic Ocean and cooling of the Pacific over the same period, we see changes in the so-called Walker circulation, which affects Amazon precipitation," study co-author Manuel Gloor, from Britain's University of Leeds, said in the press release. "The effect is more or less the opposite of what happens during an El Niño event. Instead of causing drought, it results in more convection and heavy rainfall in the central and northern parts of the Amazon basin."

With temperatures in the Atlantic expected to continue warming, the scientists expect to see more of these high water levels in the Amazon River.

"We think that it's going to continue for at least a decade," Barichivich told Reuters.

Inundated house along Solimões River (Central Amazonia) during the record-breaking flood in 2012
Jochen Schöngart / National Institute for Amazon Research

 15 
 on: Today at 04:15 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja

Journalist Dies in Clash Over Dirty Coal in Germany

By Andy Rowell
Ecowatch
9/21/2018

Over the last week, the German Police have deployed thousands of officers, backed up by water cannons and armored vehicles, to evict hundreds of climate activists trying to defend the last remnants of an ancient forest in Germany from being destroyed by RWE, which wants to expand the biggest open coal mine in Europe.

And Wednesday this brutal eviction ended in tragedy when it caused the loss of life of a young blogger and journalist, called Steffan. He reportedly fell from a suspension bridge between two cabins which had been built by activists high up in the trees to try and prevent the ancient 12,000 year old and much-loved Hambach forest—known locally as Hambi—being cut down.

After Steffan's death, tensions were running high. Last night activists pasted a statement that: "We are deeply shaken. All our thoughts and desires are with him. Our compassion goes to all the relatives, friends and people who feel concerned. We urge the police and RWE to leave the forest immediately and stop this dangerous operation. No further lives may be endangered."

The fight between RWE and climate activists has been going on for years and has become of the defining battles of fossil fuel extraction of our time. Activists are arguing RWE has to stop mining dirty coal to protect the oak and hornbeam forest, home to protected species such as bats, frogs and dormouse. They are also trying to prevent wider climate change too.

The Hambach open-pit mine is already vast: some 85 square kilometers or 33 square miles and a huge open scar on the landscape. One of the largest man-made holes in Europe, it is half the size of the U.S. capital of Washington DC. Most has already been ripped up and dug for lignite or brown coal, an especially dirty and carbon intensive fossil fuel. Of the 4,100 hectares that were there origin ally, some 90 percent has already been destroyed and only 200 hectares remain.

The tragedy could have been avoided. Like many other front-lines battles over fossil fuel extraction, it is a conflict that should not be taking place. We should not be expanding coal production. Steffan joins a list of people stretching back to Ken Saro-Wiwa in 1995, who have died fighting (or reporting on the fight) between Big Oil and Big Coal and those seeking to protect their land or the wider climate.

Undeterred by the protests and criticism, RWE belligerently plans to clear cut the forest next month and bull-doze two more villages: the 1000 year old village of Kerpen-Manheim and Morschenich. Four other villages have also been destroyed in the last thirty years, consumed by Germany's love of dirty coal. They were bulldozed for the "common good."

But the fight to protect the forest has been growing for years and has come to a head this week, with police trying to evict the protestors. Last Sunday, saw thousands of activists—some estimates say 9,000 people—march towards the woodland between Cologne and Aachen in support and solidarity.

Others remain in the treetops. One of them is Mux, who told DW: "The problem is that it's not only destroying the forest and nature here, as well as the place where people in this region live, it's also causing climate change. There are lots of people dying because of global climate change, which is caused here, so I think I have to use my privileges to stand against that. I have to do it because I can do it."

Another activist, Emil Freitag, from Aktion Unterholz, added: "It's not just about the forest, the forest is a symbol for climate justice and if we stop the eviction and the cutting of the forest, we can also stop the lignite mining in the area. That's what all this is about. We want Germany to stop coal mining immediately because it's the dirtiest form of power. So the forest is a kind of symbol."

He is not alone arguing that the forest is a symbol of the fight between dirty coal and a clean energy future. Andreas Büttgen of Buirer für Buir, a citizens' initiative from the nearby town of Buir, also saif: "The Hambach Forest—for us a symbol of a future-orientated society—now threatens to become a memorial for the destruction of our future."

And the figures back him up. Kai Niebert, head of environmental group, Deutscher Naturschutzring, argued that expanding the mine would make it almost impossible for Germany to meet its 2015 Paris agreement commitments. "There's around 1.5 billion tons of carbon under us here in the Hambach area," he said. "If it was burned, we would use up virtually all Germany's carbon budget, and that would be anything but a socially acceptable way to exit coal. It would mean all the other mines in Germany would have to close tomorrow."

After last night's tragedy, no one is sure what will now happen. In response to Steffan's death, the North Rhine-Westphalian state government has suspended the clearance "until further notice."

A petition signed by 500,000 people due to handed in today to North Rhine-Westphalia's state premier Armin Laschet calling for the state government to step in and save the forest, has been postponed.

If there is any good that can come out of Steffan's death it is that RWE should stop mining dirty coal. They should also stop clearing the forest immediately too and declare that this last remnant will never be cut down. And maybe they should rename this ancient beautiful forest of oaks and hornbeams after Steffan, too.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Oil Change International.

 16 
 on: Today at 04:12 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja

Hawaii's Cauliflower Coral Moves Toward Endangered Species Act Listing

Ecowatch
9/21/2018

Cauliflower coral, a bushy species in the Hawaiian Islands that has been devastated by ocean warming triggered by human-caused climate change, could soon get federal protection. The National Marine Fisheries Service Wednesday announced that listing the species may be warranted under the Endangered Species Act, based on a petition from the Center for Biological Diversity.

These shallow-water corals—which are typically green, pink or cream-colored—have declined significantly, including a 36 percent drop in coverage across Hawaii from 1999 to 2012.

"Cauliflower corals are in crisis, so this is great news. We need to take care of our coral reefs to maintain a healthy biodiversity in our oceans," said Maxx Phillips, Hawaii director at the Center for Biological Diversity. "Federal action is urgently need to protect cauliflower coral, called Ko`a in Hawaiian, and our coral ecosystems that are dying out from ocean warming and climate change."

In announcing a 90-day review for cauliflower coral (Pocillopora meandrina), the Fisheries Service said scientific evidence shows the species is likely to be listed as threatened or endangered throughout its range. It will accept public comment on the finding and conduct a full status review of the species and its threats. A listing proposal could come early next year.

Protecting corals ultimately requires reducing global temperature increases by drastically cutting fossil fuel emissions. The cauliflower coral is also threatened locally by land-based pollution, sedimentation and physical disturbance caused by human activities.

Cauliflower corals have been particularly vulnerable to bleaching episodes on reefs worldwide. Between 2014 and 2017, a massive coral-bleaching event swept across the planet, killing millions of corals on hundreds of reefs from Hawaii to the Great Barrier Reefs. Scientists say it was likely the most widespread, harmful and longest mass coral bleaching ever.

Endangered Species Act protection for the cauliflower coral will minimize key threats, including land-based pollution and runoff from islands in Hawaii. The Act has a 99 percent success rate in preventing extinction for species under its care.

An earlier coral petition, filed by the Center for Biological Diversity in 2006, resulted in the protection of elkhorn and staghorn corals, which became the first species ever to be protected under the Act because of the threat of global warming.

 17 
 on: Today at 04:11 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja

Greenpeace Report: Europe Has 10 Years Left to Ditch Fossil Fuel Cars

Ecowatch
9/21/2018

Europe must phase out the sales of new gasoline- and diesel-fueled cars by 2028 if it wants to live up to its Paris climate agreement emissions-reduction pledges, according to new research by Germany's Aerospace Center.

Even conventional hybrid cars, which feature gasoline-powered engines, would have to disappear by the mid-2030s if Europe intends to fulfill its part of the Paris deal to limit global warming to 1.5°C, according to the Greenpeace-commissioned study.

The researchers only analyzed the share of auto emissions in Europe. More research is needed for regions such as Asia or the Americas, as it is "entirely possible that some countries would need to phase out fossil fuel cars even quicker," Richard Casson, of Greenpeace's air pollution campaign, noted in a blog post about the new study.

For the study, the German researchers compared the European Union's current passenger car carbon emissions with the so-called "carbon budget" available to keep global warming under 1.5°C, with a likelihood of 50 percent and 66 percent respectively.

They found that if the current annual CO2 emissions from Europe's passenger cars continue unchecked, the carbon budget would be completely depleted within 10 years under the 50 percent scenario, and within 5 years in the 66 percent scenario.

The researchers warned that "quick and stringent" CO2 emission reductions are necessary from passenger cars.

"Auto CO2-emissions need to peak as soon as possible," German Aerospace Center Director Horst Friedrich told the Guardian. "Looking at the dwindling carbon budget it is crucial to push low-emitting cars into the market, the earlier the better, to renew the fleet."

Greenpeace tweeted Thursday, "We've got 10 years to ditch fossil fuel cars—or it's game over for the climate."

"The phasing-out of the internal combustion engine in passenger cars will not only benefit the climate, it will also help solve the air pollution crisis and improve quality of life for everyone," said Barbara Stoll, Greenpeace Clean Air campaigner, in a press release.

Greenpeace, however, is not asking every driver to make the switch to electric vehicles.

"Cutting pollution from transport doesn't only have to be a choice between fossil fuel power cars and electric ones," Casson wrote. "A truly sustainable plan for transport should be about constructing more bike lanes, building cycling infrastructure that would make it easier for people to get around without cars. It should be about making public transport more affordable, leading to more people using trains or buses to get around. And it should be about investing in car sharing schemes, and reducing the amount of vehicles on the road."

 18 
 on: Today at 04:08 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja
'Partying' Spiders Blanket Greek Beach on 1,000-Foot Cobweb

Ecowatch
9/21/2018

Arachnophobes beware. A shoreline by the Greek town of Aitoliko has been swamped by a mass of mating spiders and 1,000 feet of their cobwebs.

Earlier this week, a local named Giannis Giannakopoulos uploaded a YouTube video and posted several pictures of the spectacle on his Facebook page, showing shrubs, palm fronds and other greenery completely veiled by spider webs.

The webs were likely made by spiders of the Tetragnatha genus, which are sometimes called "stretch spiders" for their elongated bodies.

These insects tend to live by water and are excellent web builders, LiveScience reported, noting that their webs are used for nesting and to capture prey such as mosquitoes.

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdXtPMr3vj8

How did all those webs get there? Turns out, a bout of hot, humid weather as well as an increase in the mosquito population this year created favorable conditions for the spiders to reproduce and for their population to explode, an expert explained.

"The spiders are taking advantage of these conditions, and are having a kind of a party. They mate, they reproduce and provide a whole new generation," Maria Chatzaki, professor of molecular biology and genetics at Democritus University of Thrace, told the local publication Newsit (translated from Greek).

Chatzaki noted that massive cobwebs have been seen before in 2003.

"The phenomenon we observed in Aitoliko is not unprecedented," she said. "It is a seasonal phenomenon that occurs mainly at the end of the summer and early autumn."

The spiders do not harm humans and will not cause any damage to the environment. Eventually, the bugs will die off and their web will naturally degrade.

"The spiders will have their party and will soon die," she said.

 19 
 on: Today at 04:05 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja
New role-playing game engages people from all backgrounds with climate action

ZME
9/21/2018

More specifically, it can be the subject of an MIT Sloan role-playing video game. Dubbed World Climate Simulation, the game puts players in the shoes of UN members partaking in climate talks. Its developers report that over four-fifths of participants who played the game showed an increased desire to combat climate change, regardless of their political beliefs.
Climate UN-change

    “The big question for climate change communication is: how can we build the knowledge and emotions that drive informed action without real-life experience which, in the case of climate change, will only come too late?”, asks Prof. Juliette Rooney Varga, lead researcher of the study and Director of the University of Massachusetts Lowell Climate Change Initiative.

The team’s approach revolved around three elements: “information grounded in solid science, an experience that helps people feel for themselves on their own terms and social interaction arising from conversation with their peers,” explains co-author Andrew Jones of Climate Interactive.

In the game, developed countries pledge money through the Green Climate Fund to help developing nations cut emissions and adapt to climate change. The game’s core mechanics are handled by a real-life climate policy computer model known as C-ROADS. This model has been used to guide UN climate negotiations in the past, as it is a very powerful simulator of expected outcomes. Players’ choices were run through C-ROADS and resulted in immediate feedback on how each would ultimately affect the environment.

The group worked with 2,000 participants of various socioeconomic backgrounds and ages recruited from “eight different countries across four continents”, explains an MIT Sloan press release. Through the game, the team looked at each player’s beliefs regarding climate change, their emotional responses to its effects, and willingness to address the main drivers of climate change. By the conclusion of play trials, participants showed greater urgency in tackling the issue, the team reports.

Post-trial questions.

Post-survey responses to questions regarding (A) how engaging the World Climate simulation was as a learning experience, (B) the effects the simulation had on motivation to address climate change and (C) desire to learn more about climate change science, solutions, politics, economics, and policies.
Image credits J.N. Rooney-Varga et al., 2018, PLOS One.

The idea behind the game was to try and bridge the huge divides that the political spectrum imparts on the discussion, the team explains. By putting people in charge of tackling the issue and letting them see how their lives will be impacted, the game aims to engage those that aren’t very concerned about climate action.

The team reports that players go headlong into the first round of climate negotiations, usually being quite lax in the changes they call for. However, after C-ROADS showed the outcome of these talks to their health, prosperity, and welfare, the team adds, they generally went into the following rounds with a much more aggressive approach to achieving emissions cuts.

    “The first round of negotiations ends with a plenary session in which a representative from each delegation delivers a short speech describing their pledge and negotiating position, including concessions they seek from the other parties,” the paper explains.

    “In our experience, the first round of pledges always falls short of the emissions reductions required to limit expected warming to 2 °C and are often qualitatively similar to the actual pledges that emerged from the Paris Agreement, leading to warming of approximately 3.3 °C by 2100.”

    “Participants often express surprise that the impact of their pledges is not greater and ask many questions about the structure and dynamics of the climate system as they seek to understand why the simulation results differ from their expectations.”

Perhaps more importantly, they were also more hopeful in the eventual success of environmental actions, as well as a greater desire to understand climate science and the impact of climate change. Urgency is key to actually undergoing the societal, economic, and political changes required to combat climate change. The other two traits will help keep our eyes on the goal during difficult times and limit the effect of mumbo-jumbo à la ‘clean coal‘.

    “It was this increased sense of urgency, not knowledge, that was key to sparking motivation to act,” said Prof. Juliette Rooney Varga, lead researcher of the study and Director of the University of Massachusetts Lowell Climate Change Initiative.

In the end, the team hopes to push environmental talks to the forefront of national and international dialogue and policy-making and to take political interest out of climate action.

    “Gains were just as strong among American participants who oppose government regulation of free markets – a political ideology that has been linked to climate change denial in the US – suggesting the simulation’s potential to reach across political divides,” the paper reads.

    “Research shows that showing people research doesn’t work,” said John Sterman, co-author of the study and professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. “World Climate works because it enables people to express their own views, explore their own proposals and thus learn for themselves what the likely impacts will be.”

Schools in France, Germany, and South Korea have adopted World Climate Simulation as an official educational resource, the team adds.

The paper “Combining role-play with interactive simulation to motivate informed climate action: Evidence from the World Climate simulation” has been published in the journal PLOS One.

 20 
 on: Today at 02:18 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Stacie
God Bless <3

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