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Special Issue "On the Socioeconomic and Political Outcomes of Global Climate Change"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2012)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Rafael Reuveny

School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA), Indiana University, East 10th Street, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA
E-Mail
Interests: international political economy with emphasis on globalization; rise and fall of major powers; political conflict and how it interacts with international trade, democracy, and the environment; sustainable development; Middle East political economy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) expects that climate change will accelerate in this century, assuming business as usual climate change policy. By now, there have been several attempts to develop a global mitigation plan, but they have failed. It seems mitigation will remain an illusionary target in the short to medium run, if not forever. And so that “dreadful” word, adaptation, which we have all hoped will not take the driver seat, becomes for all practical purposes the only viable option to deal with climate change. It is within this larger picture that I invite the academic, practitioner, and the policy communities to address the question of this special issue.

Given the enormity of the expected effects of climate change on the environment worldwide -- including sea level rising and inundation; arable land degradation; changes in precipitation; changes in the patterns of the seasons; salinazation, drying, and dwindling fresh water resources; and more intense weather-related natural disasters such as windstorms, extreme precipitation, floods, droughts, heat waves, extreme temperatures, infestations, spread of diseases, and wet landslides – we must wonder what could be the sociopolitical outcomes within and across countries worldwide. The issue has received some attention in the literature, but it should be addressed more systematically if we are to learn to live with climate change.

Unlike the natural sciences, where we may conduct controlled experiments, in the macro social sciences the only meaningful laboratory is reality. In addressing the question of this issue, out best bet is to look for hints in the current and historical reality. If certain climate change-induced environmental effects have led to some sociopolitical outcomes, we may expect more of them in the future, as climate change accelerates.

I invite empirical contributions. The idea is to develop research questions that are linked to empirical data and show how they have linked to some or all of the environmental outcomes that are said to be associated with climate change.

The focus should be empirical, though the empirical method could take any desired form, including (but not limited to), detailed case studies, comparative case studies, qualitative analyses of data, statistical analyses of all types, simulations of analytical models calibrated to the real world, interviews of policymakers and stake holders, content analysis of media and other sources in the public domain, and surveys of various relevant stake holders.

Prof. Dr. Rafael Reuveny
Guest Editor

Keywords

  • internal, within country, human displacement
  • international, between countries, legal human migration
  • international illegal immigration
  • immigration policy (e.g., quotas, border control, deportation, amnesty)
  • international refugees and asylum seeking
  • internal political stability and discontent
  • international political stability and discontent
  • the scope and content of democracy and/or autocracy
  • conflict resolution and peace plans
  • the domestic economy
  • international economic interdependence
  • global distribution of income and other economic aspects of the North-South gap
  • the welfare state
  • the onset, duration, geographical and temporal distributions, and frequency of civil wars, rebellions, and insurgencies
  • the onset, duration, geographical and temporal distributions, and frequency of international wars and military disputes
  • the incidence, severity, and geographical and temporal distributions of terrorism
  • attitudes toward religion and God, and the role of humanity versus nature in a world subject to climate change
  • the role of religion in international and domestic relations
  • international alliances, agreements, and other forms of political cooperation
  • international polarity and polarization
  • global organizations such as the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary fund, and World Trade Organization
  • regional forms of economic and political integration
  • international economic and political methods of influence
  • ongoing adaptation for climate change across the world in various areas related to the above issues, including national security

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Exploring Future Impacts of Environmental Constraints on Human Development
Sustainability 2012, 4(5), 958-994; doi:10.3390/su4050958
Received: 20 February 2012 / Revised: 17 March 2012 / Accepted: 26 April 2012 / Published: 10 May 2012
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (392 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Environmental constraints have always had, and will always have, important consequences for human development. They have sometimes contributed to, or even caused, the reversal of such development. The possibility that such constraints, including climate change, will grow significantly this century raises the concern
[...] Read more.
Environmental constraints have always had, and will always have, important consequences for human development. They have sometimes contributed to, or even caused, the reversal of such development. The possibility that such constraints, including climate change, will grow significantly this century raises the concern that the very significant advances in human development across most of the world in recent decades will slow or even reverse. We use the International Futures (IFs) integrated forecasting system to explore three scenarios: a Base Case scenario, an Environmental Challenge scenario, and an Environmental Disaster scenario. Our purpose is to consider the impact of different aspects and levels of environmental constraint on the course of future human development. Using the Human Development Index (HDI) and its separate components as our key measures of development, we find that environmental constraints could indeed greatly slow progress and even, in disastrous conditions, begin to reverse it. Least developed countries are most vulnerable in relative terms, while middle-income countries can suffer the greatest absolute impact of constraints, and more developed countries are most resilient. Education’s advance is the aspect of development tapped by the HDI that is most likely to continue even in the face of tightening environmental constraints, and that is one reason why human development shows great momentum even in the face of environmental challenges. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue On the Socioeconomic and Political Outcomes of Global Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle Land Use Adaptation to Climate Change: Economic Damages from Land-Falling Hurricanes in the Atlantic and Gulf States of the USA, 1900–2005
Sustainability 2012, 4(5), 917-932; doi:10.3390/su4050917
Received: 1 February 2012 / Revised: 25 April 2012 / Accepted: 25 April 2012 / Published: 7 May 2012
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (995 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Global climate change, especially the phenomena of global warming, is expected to increase the intensity of land-falling hurricanes. Societal adaptation is needed to reduce vulnerability from increasingly intense hurricanes. This study quantifies the adaptation effects of potentially policy driven caps on housing densities
[...] Read more.
Global climate change, especially the phenomena of global warming, is expected to increase the intensity of land-falling hurricanes. Societal adaptation is needed to reduce vulnerability from increasingly intense hurricanes. This study quantifies the adaptation effects of potentially policy driven caps on housing densities and agricultural cover in coastal (and adjacent inland) areas vulnerable to hurricane damages in the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal regions of the U.S. Time series regressions, especially Prais-Winston and Autoregressive Moving Average (ARMA) models, are estimated to forecast the economic impacts of hurricanes of varying intensity, given that various patterns of land use emerge in the Atlantic and Gulf coastal states of the U.S. The Prais-Winston and ARMA models use observed time series data from 1900 to 2005 for inflation adjusted hurricane damages and socio-economic and land-use data in the coastal or inland regions where hurricanes caused those damages. The results from this study provide evidence that increases in housing density and agricultural cover cause significant rise in the de-trended inflation-adjusted damages. Further, higher intensity and frequency of land-falling hurricanes also significantly increase the economic damages. The evidence from this study implies that a medium to long term land use adaptation in the form of capping housing density and agricultural cover in the coastal (and adjacent inland) states can significantly reduce economic damages from intense hurricanes. Future studies must compare the benefits of such land use adaptation policies against the costs of development controls implied in housing density caps and agricultural land cover reductions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue On the Socioeconomic and Political Outcomes of Global Climate Change)
Open AccessArticle Strengthening Sovereignty: Security and Sustainability in an Era of Climate Change
Sustainability 2011, 3(9), 1416-1451; doi:10.3390/su3091416
Received: 1 August 2011 / Accepted: 12 August 2011 / Published: 31 August 2011
PDF Full-text (818 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Using Pakistan and the Arctic as examples, this article examines security challenges arising from climate change. Pakistan is in crisis, and climate change, a transnational phenomenon perhaps better characterized as radical enviro-transformation, is an important reason. Its survival as a state may depend
[...] Read more.
Using Pakistan and the Arctic as examples, this article examines security challenges arising from climate change. Pakistan is in crisis, and climate change, a transnational phenomenon perhaps better characterized as radical enviro-transformation, is an important reason. Its survival as a state may depend to great extent on how it responds to 2010’s devastating floods. In the Arctic, the ice cap is melting faster than predicted, as temperatures there rise faster than in almost any other region. Unmanaged, a complex interplay of climate-related conditions, including large-scale “ecomigration”, may turn resource competition into resource conflict. Radical enviro-transformation has repeatedly overborne the resilience of societies. War is not an inevitable by-product of such transformation, but in the 21st Century climate-related instability, from resource scarcity and “ecomigration”, will likely create increasingly undesirable conditions of insecurity. Weak and failing states are one of today’s greatest security challenges. The pace of radical enviro-transformation, unprecedented in human history, is accelerating, especially in the Arctic, where a new, open, rich, and accessible maritime environment is coming into being. The international community must work together to enhance security and stability, promote sustainability, and strengthen sovereignty. Radical enviro-transformation provides ample reason and plentiful opportunity for preventative, collaborative solutions focused broadly on adaptation to climate change, most particularly the effects of “ecomigration”. Nations must work together across the whole of government and with all instruments of national power to create conditions for human transformation—social, political, and economic—to occur stably and sustainably, so as to avoid or lessen the prospects for and consequences of conflict. Collaborative international solutions to environmental issues, i.e., solutions that mobilize and share technology and resources, will build nations and build peace. The military, through “preventative engagement” will play a more and more important role. Further research and analysis is needed to determine what changes in law and policy should be made to facilitate stable and secure “ecomigration” on an international scale, over a long timeline. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue On the Socioeconomic and Political Outcomes of Global Climate Change)
Open AccessArticle Climate Change and Industrial Policy
Sustainability 2011, 3(7), 1003-1021; doi:10.3390/su3071003
Received: 24 June 2011 / Accepted: 30 June 2011 / Published: 14 July 2011
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (402 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Industrial policy (IP) can make an important contribution to both environmental and social sustainability. The purpose of this paper is to explore the new rationale for IP due to climate change and to determine its implications for the how of industrial policy. Five
[...] Read more.
Industrial policy (IP) can make an important contribution to both environmental and social sustainability. The purpose of this paper is to explore the new rationale for IP due to climate change and to determine its implications for the how of industrial policy. Five implications are discussed, namely the need for international coordination of IPs; for putting human-development, and not emission targets, as the overriding objective of low-carbon IP; of stimulating innovation for energy efficiency, energy diversification, and carbon capture and storage; and for aligning IP with trade policies. Finally the funding needs of low-carbon IPs are discussed, and the importance of private sector funding emphasized. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue On the Socioeconomic and Political Outcomes of Global Climate Change)

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