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Special Issue "The Impacts of Climate Changes: From Sustainability Perspectives"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 28 February 2018

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Rachel J.C. Chen

Director and Professor Center for Sustainable Business and Development, The University of Tennessee, 311 Conference Center Building, Knoxville, Tennessee 37996-4134, USA
Website | E-Mail
Phone: 1-865-974-0505
Fax: +1 865 974 1838
Interests: sustainable business; sustainable development; sustainable consumer services; sustainable hospitality and tourism; branding; marketing; forecasting models; economic impacts

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Numerous weather and climate extremes impact human society, the societal infrastructure, and the natural environment. Potential changes in climate are forecast to result in possible frequency and/or intensity changes in extreme events, increases in precipitation, decreases in extreme low temperatures, increases in extreme high temperature, and changes in ecological systems. Future research may consider focusing on future trends and changes in frequency of extreme events, based on the outcomes of the most integrated climate models to evaluate the relationships between the severe weather extremes and the continued greenhouse gas scenarios of the coming decades.

This Special Issue aims to discuss various impacts of climate changes on communities, public health, ecological systems, and/or infrastructures from scientific and/or sustainability perspectives. We invite you to contribute to this issue by submitting comprehensive reviews, case studies, or research articles that focus on scientific methods and innovatively statistical analyses. Papers selected for this Special Issue are subject to a rigorous peer review procedure with the aim of rapid and wide dissemination of research results, developments, and applications.

Prof. Dr. Rachel J.C. Chen
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


Keywords

  • climate extremes
  • human society
  • societal infrastructure
  • impacts of climate changes on communities
  • public health
  • ecological systems
  • scientific facts and trends
  • sustainability perspectives

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Quantitative Assessment of Vulnerability to Climate Change in Rural Municipalities of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Sustainability 2017, 9(7), 1208; doi:10.3390/su9071208
Received: 6 June 2017 / Revised: 3 July 2017 / Accepted: 8 July 2017 / Published: 10 July 2017
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Abstract
The rural population in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BH), which constitutes more than half of the total population, experienced serious incidences of extreme weather events in the past two decades. This part of the population is vulnerable to climate change due to significant dependence
[...] Read more.
The rural population in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BH), which constitutes more than half of the total population, experienced serious incidences of extreme weather events in the past two decades. This part of the population is vulnerable to climate change due to significant dependence on agriculture as a climate-sensitive livelihood option. However, the source of their vulnerability is due not only to the extent and magnitude of these extreme climate events, but also to the internal status within the vulnerable systems before the occurrence of such events. In order to explore the different dimensions of vulnerability, we used a set of 20 indicators to quantitatively assess the vulnerability of the rural population to climate change at the local level in BH. Two summarizing and two weighting methods were applied to assess vulnerability—Equal weights (EW) and principal component analysis (PCA). Based on the results obtained, we concluded that the current socio-economic conditions and the increased environmental pressure as a result of the present human-environment interactions are the main determinants of vulnerability in most vulnerable municipalities, rather than the degree to which these municipalities are exposed to significant climatic variations. Most vulnerable municipalities are located across the north, with a gradual decrease in vulnerability towards the central, north, and east of the country. Vulnerability increases again from here towards the south of the country. The number of municipalities classified as the highest and highly vulnerable increased when the second summarizing method and weighted indicators were used. However, the general geographic distribution of vulnerability did not change substantially compared to the first method. The approaches used in this study provide some valuable results at the local level, and are presented in a way that is practical for decision-making processes and may serve as a base for further research when designing effective adaptation and mitigation strategies, especially in the regions with similar climatic and socio-economic conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impacts of Climate Changes: From Sustainability Perspectives)
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Open AccessArticle Opportunities and Challenges in Public Health Data Collection in Southern Asia: Examples from Western India and Kathmandu Valley, Nepal
Sustainability 2017, 9(7), 1106; doi:10.3390/su9071106
Received: 24 May 2017 / Revised: 14 June 2017 / Accepted: 19 June 2017 / Published: 26 June 2017
PDF Full-text (471 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Small-scale local data resources may serve to provide a highly resolved estimate of health effects, which can be spatially heterogeneous in highly populated urban centers in developing countries. We aim to highlight the challenges and opportunities of health data registries in a developing
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Small-scale local data resources may serve to provide a highly resolved estimate of health effects, which can be spatially heterogeneous in highly populated urban centers in developing countries. We aim to highlight the challenges and opportunities of health data registries in a developing world context. In western India, government-collected daily mortality registry data were obtained from five cities, along with daily hospital admissions data from three government hospitals in Ahmedabad. In Nepal, individual-level data on hospital admissions were collected from six major hospitals in Kathmandu Valley. Our process illustrates many challenges for researchers, governments, and record keepers inherent to data collection in developing countries: creating and maintaining a centralized record-keeping system; standardizing the data collected; obtaining data from some local agencies; assuring data completeness and availability of back-ups to the datasets; as well as translating, cleaning, and comparing data within and across localities. We suggest that these “small-data” resources may better serve the analysis of health outcomes than exposure-response functions extrapolated from data collected in other areas of the world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impacts of Climate Changes: From Sustainability Perspectives)
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Open AccessArticle Development of the Korean Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment Tool (VESTAP)—Centered on Health Vulnerability to Heat Waves
Sustainability 2017, 9(7), 1103; doi:10.3390/su9071103
Received: 2 May 2017 / Revised: 2 June 2017 / Accepted: 19 June 2017 / Published: 24 June 2017
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Abstract
The purpose of this study was to develop a Korean climate change vulnerability assessment tool, the Vulnerability Assessment Tool to build Climate Change Adaptation Plan (VESTAP). Based on Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change methodology, VESTAP can be used to evaluate Korea’s vulnerability to
[...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to develop a Korean climate change vulnerability assessment tool, the Vulnerability Assessment Tool to build Climate Change Adaptation Plan (VESTAP). Based on Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change methodology, VESTAP can be used to evaluate Korea’s vulnerability to major climate impacts (including 32 conditions in 8 categories). VESTAP is based on RCP 4.5/8.5 scenarios and can provide evaluation results in 10-year intervals from the 2010s to 2040s. In addition, this paper presents the results of a case study using VESTAP for targeted assessment of health vulnerability to heat waves under the RCP 8.5 scenario for the 2040s. Through vulnerability assessment at the province level in South Korea, Daegu Metropolitan City was identified as the most vulnerable region. The municipality and submunicipality levels of Daegu were also assessed in separate stages. The results indicated that Pyeongni 3-Dong in Seo-Gu was most vulnerable. Through comprehensive analysis of the results, the climate exposure index was identified as the greatest contributor to health vulnerability in Korea. Regional differences in climate exposure can be moderated by social investment in improving sensitivity and adaptive capacity. This study is significant in presenting a quantitative assessment of vulnerability to climate change by the administrative unit in South Korea. The results of this study are expected to contribute to the efficient development and implementation of climate change adaptation policies in South Korea. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impacts of Climate Changes: From Sustainability Perspectives)
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Open AccessArticle Research of Interindividual Differences in Physiological Response under Hot-Dry and Warm-Wet Climates
Sustainability 2016, 8(9), 850; doi:10.3390/su8090850
Received: 30 May 2016 / Revised: 31 July 2016 / Accepted: 19 August 2016 / Published: 26 August 2016
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Abstract
Somatotype and habitus parameters may affect physiological control system, so the changes of physiological parameters are not the same when various people work in hot-dry and warm-wet climates. In this paper, a chamber built in Tianjin University was used to simulate comfortable, hot-dry
[...] Read more.
Somatotype and habitus parameters may affect physiological control system, so the changes of physiological parameters are not the same when various people work in hot-dry and warm-wet climates. In this paper, a chamber built in Tianjin University was used to simulate comfortable, hot-dry and warm-wet climates. Sixty healthy university students were selected as subjects who were divided into four groups based on somatotype and habitus differences. The subjects were asked to exercise on a treadmill at moderate and heavy work intensities. Physiological parameters (rectal temperature and heart rate) were measured after every 10-min work in the climate chamber. For different groups, the change trends of physiological parameters were different. With the enhancement of experimental conditions, the differences among four groups were weakened. Body surface area per unit of body mass (BSA/mass), percentage of body fat (%fat), and maximum oxygen consumption per unit of body mass (VO2max/mass) were adopt to establish a revised body characteristic index (RBCI). RBCI was proved having significant correlation with physiological parameters, which means RBCI as the combined factors of somatotype and habitus parameters can be applied to evaluate the effect of individual characteristics on physiological systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impacts of Climate Changes: From Sustainability Perspectives)
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Open AccessArticle A Climate Change Vulnerability Index and Case Study in a Brazilian Coastal City
Sustainability 2016, 8(8), 811; doi:10.3390/su8080811
Received: 14 July 2016 / Revised: 8 August 2016 / Accepted: 9 August 2016 / Published: 18 August 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2015 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Coastal areas are highly susceptible to the effects of climate change, particularly to sea-level rise and extreme rainfall events, resulting in increased social and environmental vulnerabilities. In this context, the need for predictive planning instruments, especially in densely populated coastal areas, is a
[...] Read more.
Coastal areas are highly susceptible to the effects of climate change, particularly to sea-level rise and extreme rainfall events, resulting in increased social and environmental vulnerabilities. In this context, the need for predictive planning instruments, especially in densely populated coastal areas, is a critical management priority. A number of indexes has been developed to assess coastal vulnerability. However, coastal vulnerability indexes are yet to simultaneously consider inland (e.g., landslides and flooding) and ocean (sea-level rise and coastal erosion) hazards in conjunction. To help fill this gap, we developed the Socio-Environmental Vulnerability Index for Coastal Areas. The proposed index is a diagnostic tool to assess the socio-environmental vulnerability of coastal regions in the context of climate change. Applied to the city of Santos, a coastal municipality in São Paulo state, Brazil, the index revealed that most of the city are in areas highly vulnerable to sea-level rise and floods related to extreme rainfall events. Findings show that, in fact, approximately 70% of the area of Santos (27.5 km2) consists of high vulnerability areas mostly located close to urban drainage channels, residential, and other built-in areas. Another 0.12% (0.05 km2) were classified as very high vulnerability areas compromising port and industrial infrastructure. These results highlights the susceptibility of the urban insular area of Santos to climatic change hazards. This study might prove relevant to support local decision-makers in preparing adaptation plans and responding to climate-related risks in vulnerable coastal cities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impacts of Climate Changes: From Sustainability Perspectives)
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Open AccessArticle Perceptions of Climate Change and the Potential for Adaptation in a Rural Community in Limpopo Province, South Africa
Sustainability 2016, 8(8), 672; doi:10.3390/su8080672
Received: 12 April 2016 / Revised: 5 July 2016 / Accepted: 8 July 2016 / Published: 4 August 2016
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Abstract
Perceptions of climate change by rural communities are centered on observations of variations in temperature and rainfall patterns supported by observations and projections on climate alterations in the form of increased temperatures and scarce rainfall by scientists worldwide. The present study documented perceptions
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Perceptions of climate change by rural communities are centered on observations of variations in temperature and rainfall patterns supported by observations and projections on climate alterations in the form of increased temperatures and scarce rainfall by scientists worldwide. The present study documented perceptions of climate variation and the community’s ability to adapt to climate change hazards threatening the production of subsistence crops. Data were collected through interactions with 100 participants. In the study, climate change is explained as variations in temperature and rainfall patterns which resulted in excessive heat, erratic rainfall patterns and drought negatively impacting on subsistence crop production. Community members have the potential to limit the impacts of climate hazards on subsistence crop production. The negative impacts of climate hazards are limited by community members’ indigenous knowledge of rainfall prediction, the seasons, crop diversification and mixed cropping. Mulching and the application of kraal manure improve the soil structure and fertility to reduce crop failure. These adaptation measures are resilient to the negative impact of climate hazards and may be helpful in the development of adaptation policies to assist rural communities vulnerable to climate change hazards. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impacts of Climate Changes: From Sustainability Perspectives)
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Open AccessArticle Evaluating the Relationship between the Population Trends, Prices, Heat Waves, and the Demands of Energy Consumption in Cities
Sustainability 2015, 7(11), 15284-15301; doi:10.3390/su71115284
Received: 29 October 2015 / Revised: 6 November 2015 / Accepted: 10 November 2015 / Published: 18 November 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1374 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The demands of energy consumption have been projected as a key factor that affects an economy at the city, national, and international level. Contributions to total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2012 by various urban sectors include electricity (31%), transportation (28%), industry (20%),
[...] Read more.
The demands of energy consumption have been projected as a key factor that affects an economy at the city, national, and international level. Contributions to total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2012 by various urban sectors include electricity (31%), transportation (28%), industry (20%), agriculture (10%), and commercial and residential (10%). Yet the heavy demands of energy consumption in the cities by residents, commercial businesses, industries, and transportation are important for maintaining and sustaining sufficient economic growth. The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationships between population trends, historical energy consumptions, the changes of average electricity price, average annual temperature, and extreme weather events for three selected cities: New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. These cities are exemplary of, metropolitan areas in the East, Middle, and the Western regions of the U.S. We find that the total energy consumptions of New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles are influenced to various degrees by changes in population, temperature and the average price of electricity and that only one city, Los Angeles, does price significantly affect electricity use. This finding has implications for policy making, suggesting that each city’s climate, size and general economic priorities must be considered in developing climate change mitigation strategies and incentives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impacts of Climate Changes: From Sustainability Perspectives)

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Open AccessConcept Paper Mindful Climate Action: Health and Environmental Co-Benefits from Mindfulness-Based Behavioral Training
Sustainability 2016, 8(10), 1040; doi:10.3390/su8101040
Received: 3 August 2016 / Revised: 23 September 2016 / Accepted: 10 October 2016 / Published: 17 October 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1911 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Greenhouse gases from human activities are causing climate change, creating risks for people around the globe. Behaviors involving transportation, diet, energy use, and purchasing drive greenhouse gas emissions, but are also related to health and well-being, providing opportunity for co-benefits. Replacing shorter automobile
[...] Read more.
Greenhouse gases from human activities are causing climate change, creating risks for people around the globe. Behaviors involving transportation, diet, energy use, and purchasing drive greenhouse gas emissions, but are also related to health and well-being, providing opportunity for co-benefits. Replacing shorter automobile trips with walking or cycling, or eating plants rather than animals, for example, may increase personal health, while also reducing environmental impact. Mindfulness-based practices have been shown to enhance a variety of health outcomes, but have not been adapted towards environmental purposes. We designed the Mindful Climate Action (MCA) curriculum to help people improve their health while simultaneously lowering their carbon footprints. Combining mindfulness-based practices with the Stages of Change theory, the MCA program aims to: (1) improve personal health and well-being; (2) decrease energy use; (3) reduce automobile use; (4) increase active transport; (5) shift diet towards plant-based foods; and (6) reduce unnecessary purchasing. Mindfulness practices will foster attentional awareness, openness, and response flexibility, supporting positive behavior change. We plan to test MCA in a randomized controlled trial, with rigorous assessment of targeted outcomes. Our long-term goal is to refine and adapt the MCA program to a variety of audiences, in order to enhance public health and environmental sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impacts of Climate Changes: From Sustainability Perspectives)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Reconfiguring the Contours of Statehood and the Rights of Peoples of Disappearing States in the Age of Global Climate Change
Author: Tracey Skillington
Affiliation: Department of Sociology, School of Sociology and Philosophy, Donovan’s Road, University College Cork, Ireland
Abstract: Many of the elements that have traditionally supported state level normative self-organisation, most notably territory, are being actively undermined today by rising sea levels, flooding, desertification and other climate change effects. As more and more states come to be redefined as “disappearing”, that is, states losing their territories to the natural environment through no specific fault of their own, the question arises as to how displaced communities will be assisted in their desire (and right) to continue to practice principles of self-determination and self-government? What is clear is that the international community can no longer continue with the fiction of a unified or unchanging model of the liberal democratic state (Osterdahl, 2005). Instead, alternative ontological models of sovereign community are required, as is a re-imagining of how statehood might be constituted or reformed in the future in response to deepening ecological problems (see Norwegian Refugee Council 2012). The international community must now begin to address the immanent reality of disappearing states and consider how a model of statehood that does not privilege territory as a fixed component of state identity could possibly be operationalized in the future? This paper considers how a democratic reform of statehood might proceed in the years ahead and resettlement agreements for displaced communities determined. The transition to an era of peaceful sovereign relations under deteriorating global climate conditions and growing natural resource scarcity, it argues, will require a significant extension of established traditions of democratic compromise, human rights solidarity and cosmopolitan justice.
Keywords: climate change; disappearing states; self-determination; territory; transnational deliberation; cosmopolitan belonging; global justice

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