Skeptical Science New Research for Week #37, 2021

Source: SkepticalScience

Go with real guilt, or imaginatively hide?

This week’s New Research includes a couple of interesting papers exploring the confused, noisy marketplace of ideas, volitions and impulses we call “the human mind,” in connection with thinking about climate change and our responsibility for causing harm and remedy. 

We’re all (surely?) familiar with now near-continuous warnings from experts about the trajectory to disaster we’re creating in connection with Earth’s climate. Whether these warnings are effective is not a closed case and in particular how such warnings might work is an open question needing more investigation. Reactions to warnings in the climate commons leads us through a synopsis of innate or explicit vehicles for delivering cautionary information on climate and possible mechanisms for action elicited by such communications, respectfully noting limitations of prior research on the topic. Lead author Annika Wyss and her team of coathors zero in on the powerful role our emotions seem to play in our comprehension leading to productive responses in our actual behavior, especially feelings of guilt. For those of us familiar with functional guilt as a means of combating procrastination, the authors’ conclusions are not necessarily surprising:

Across two studies, we investigated people’s affective and behavioral reactions in response to environmental warnings in a threshold public goods game where unsustainable decisions are associated with actual CO2 externalities. We demonstrated that participants show a lasting, yet diminishing decrease in resource extraction after receiving a warning that their group would surpass a critical threshold causing a CO2 emission, should their level of extracting points remain unsustainable. Importantly, our results show that experienced guilt is consistently associated with behavioral change. More specifically, guilt mediates the effect of warnings on pro-environmental behavioral change, meaning that higher levels of guilt are predictive of a stronger reduction of resource extraction after receiving an environmental warning.

At our core and as a species we’re of course bent on survival, and survival needs backup mechanisms for when “normal” processes fail. Supposing that we can’t feel guilty enough to face the future by behaving better, it appears we have other means of soothing our anxieties.  Avoidance, rationalization, and denial: Defensive self-protection in the face of climate change negatively predicts pro-environmental behavior by Wullenkord & Reese explores our facile competence in avoiding emotional overload by lapsing into irrational reinterpretation and analysis of facts. The authors’ findings suggest that guilt goes out the window if  we can (and we do!)  construct a happy story that “it’s not going to be that bad”  when presented with a picture so dismal that it might instead arrest us in our tracks. Instead, we hypothesize more comfortable scenarios.

Wullenkord & Reese’s findings smack of potential immediate relevance. Faced with a seemingly overwhelmingly challenge, the self-defensive protections they describe may be a circuit breaker tripping in enough heads to affect results in the real world, in a factually negative way that won’t be wished out of existence. It’s not about denial in the simple sense with which we’re familiar; we can see the graveyard and yet whistle past. In enough company as a chorus this is of course detrimental to a better future. Along with the fantasy comes some baggage: we don’t feel motivated to do anything concrete to improve outcomes, because of course that motivation will be in conflict with our self-constructed perceptions. “Concrete” not least means clear direction to those giving overall shape to public policy, namely legislators, who in turn direct the efforts of operational civil servants. If we bury our concerns and feelings in elusive wishful thinking, it seems reasonable to conjecture (or, why not leap to a conclusion?) that we won’t communicate real world requirements to public servants needing guidance. 

107 articles by 652 contributing authors

Observations of climate change, effects

Linking Arctic variability and change with extreme winter weather in the United States
Cohen et al. Science
Open Access pdf 10.1126/science.abi9167

Global increase in tropical cyclone rain rate
Guzman & Jiang Nature Communications
Open Access pdf 10.1038/s41467-021-25685-2

High-resolution mapping of ice cover changes in over 33,000 lakes across the North Temperate Zone
Wang et al. Geophysical Research Letters
10.1029/2021gl095614

Historical evidence of climate change impact on drought outlook in river basins: analysis of annual maximum drought severities through daily SPI definitions
Onu?luel Gül et al. Natural Hazards
10.1007/s11069-021-04995-0

Numerical assessment of climatological trends for annual and seasonal wave characteristics during recent 41 years
Rajasree et al. Climate Dynamics
10.1007/s00382-021-05956-w

Quantifying the Precipitation-Temperature Relationship in China during 1961–2018
Liu & Wu International Journal of Climatology
10.1002/joc.7384

Changes in unevenness of wet-day precipitation over China during 1961–2020
Han et al. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
10.1029/2020jd034483

Late twentieth century rapid increase in high Asian seasonal snow and glacier-derived streamflow tracked by tree rings of the upper Indus River basin
Chen et al. Environmental Research Letters
Open Access 10.1088/1748-9326/ac1b5c

Growing threats from unprecedented sequential flood-hot extremes across China
Liao et al. Geophysical Research Letters
10.1029/2021gl094505

Anthropogenic climate change has altered lake state in the Sierra Nevada (California, USA)
Streib et al. Global Change Biology
10.1111/gcb.15843

Is There Interdecadal Variation in the South Asian High?
Zhang et al. Journal of Climate Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics
10.1175/jcli-d-21-0059.1

Late Holocene sea-surface changes in the North Water polynya reveal freshening of northern Baffin Bay in the 21st century
Koerner et al. Global and Planetary Change
10.1016/j.gloplacha.2021.103642

Instrumentation & observational methods of climate change, effects

Vegetation responses to climate extremes recorded by remotely sensed atmospheric formaldehyde
Morfopoulos et al. Global Change Biology
10.1111/gcb.15880

Stratospheric fluorine as a tracer of circulation changes: comparison between infrared remote-sensing observations and simulations with five modern reanalyses
Prignon et al. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
10.1029/2021jd034995

Modeling, simulation & projection of climate change, effects

Future intensification of extreme Aleutian low events and their climate impacts
Giamalaki et al. Scientific Reports
Open Access pdf 10.1038/s41598-021-97615-7

Differences in multi-model ensembles of CMIP5 and CMIP6 projections for future droughts in South Korea
Song et al. International Journal of Climatology
10.1002/joc.7386

Dynamical downscaling projections of extreme temperature for the major river basins in China under SSP scenarios
Zou International Journal of Climatology
10.1002/joc.7383

Projected changes in winter-season wet days over the Himalayan region during 2020–2099
Ballav et al. Theoretical and Applied Climatology
10.1007/s00704-021-03765-z

(provisional link) North Atlantic jet stream projections in the context of the past 1,250 years
10.1073/pnas.2104105118

Projecting climate change in South America using variable-resolution CESM: An application to Chile
Bambach et al. International Journal of Climatology
10.1002/joc.7379

Hot Spots and Climate Trends of Meteorological Droughts in Europe–Assessing the Percent of Normal Index in a Single-Model Initial-Condition Large Ensemble
Böhnisch et al. Frontiers in Water
Open Access pdf 10.3389/frwa.2021.716621

Advances in climate & climate effects modeling, simulation & projection

The Cause of the Large Cold Bias in the Northwestern Pacific Ocean
Feng et al. Geophysical Research Letters
10.1029/2021gl094616

Cold Season Performance of the NU-WRF Regional Climate Model in the Great Lakes Region
Notaro et al. Journal of Hydrometeorology
10.1175/jhm-d-21-0025.1

Evaluating the Aptitude of GCMs from CMIP5 and CMIP6 in Capturing the Historical Observations of Monsoon Rainfall over Sudan from 1946-2005
Hamadalnel et al. International Journal of Climatology
10.1002/joc.7387

Suppressed late-20th Century warming in CMIP6 models explained by forcing and feedbacks
Smith & Forster Geophysical Research Letters
10.1029/2021gl094948

A Regime-based Investigation into the Errors of CMIP6 Simulated Cloud Radiative Effects Using Satellite Observations
Miao et al. Geophysical Research Letters
10.1029/2021gl095399

How well do the CMIP6 models simulate dust aerosols?
Zhao et al.
Open Access pdf 10.5194/acp-2021-578

Slowdown of the greening trend in natural vegetation with further rise in atmospheric CO2
Winkler et al. Biogeosciences
Open Access pdf 10.1002/essoar.10503202.2

The Brewer–Dobson circulation in CMIP6
Abalos et al. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Open Access pdf 10.5194/acp-21-13571-2021

Cryosphere & climate change

High-resolution mapping of ice cover changes in over 33,000 lakes across the North Temperate Zone
Wang et al. Geophysical Research Letters
10.1029/2021gl095614

Natural climate variability is an important aspect of future projections of snow water resources and rain-on-snow events
Schirmer et al.
Open Access pdf 10.5194/tc-2021-276

Seasonal Influence of the Atmosphere and Ocean on the fall Sea Ice Extent in the Barents-Kara Seas
Chen et al. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
10.1029/2021jd035144

Biophysical permafrost map indicates ecosystem processes dominate permafrost stability in the Northern Hemisphere
Ran et al. Environmental Research Letters
Open Access 10.1088/1748-9326/ac20f3

Sea level & climate change

Recent trends in inland water level change in coastal Bangladesh–implications of sea level rise in low-lying deltas
Feist et al. Global and Planetary Change
10.1016/j.gloplacha.2021.103639

Projected ocean warming constrained by the ocean observational record
Lyu et al. Nature Climate Change
10.1038/s41558-021-01151-1

Paleoclimate

Deglacial bottom water warming intensified Arctic methane seepage in the NW Barents Sea
El bani Altuna et al. Communications Earth & Environment
Open Access pdf 10.1038/s43247-021-00264-x

(provisional link) North Atlantic jet stream projections in the context of the past 1,250 years
10.1073/pnas.2104105118

Late Holocene sea-surface changes in the North Water polynya reveal freshening of northern Baffin Bay in the 21st century
Koerner et al. Global and Planetary Change
10.1016/j.gloplacha.2021.103642

Biology & climate change

Ectomycorrhizal access to organic nitrogen mediates CO2 fertilization response in a dominant temperate tree
Pellitier et al. Nature Communications
Open Access pdf 10.1038/s41467-021-25652-x

Impact of dust addition on Mediterranean plankton communities under present and future conditions of pH and temperature: an experimental overview
Gazeau et al. Biogeosciences
Open Access pdf 10.5194/bg-18-5011-2021

Slowdown of the greening trend in natural vegetation with further rise in atmospheric CO2
Winkler et al. Biogeosciences
Open Access pdf 10.1002/essoar.10503202.2

Climate change and deforestation increase the vulnerability of Amazonian forests to post-fire grass invasion
De Faria et al. Global Ecology and Biogeography
10.1111/geb.13388

Future phytoplankton diversity in a changing climate
Henson et al. Nature Communications
Open Access pdf 10.1038/s41467-021-25699-w

Intracanopy CO2 and light interactions on Humulus lupulus L. net canopy carbon gain under current and future atmospheric CO2 concentrations
Bauerle Agricultural and Forest Meteorology
10.1016/j.agrformet.2021.108621

Anthropogenic climate change has altered lake state in the Sierra Nevada (California, USA)
Streib et al. Global Change Biology
10.1111/gcb.15843

Timing and magnitude of climatic extremes differentially elevate mortality but enhance recovery in a fish population
Chiu et al. Global Change Biology
10.1111/gcb.15886

Lowered nutritional quality of plankton caused by global environmental changes
Lau et al. Global Change Biology
10.1111/gcb.15887

Not all species will migrate poleward as the climate warms: The case of the seven baobab species in Madagascar
Tagliari et al. Global Change Biology
10.1111/gcb.15859

Shape-shifting: changing animal morphologies as a response to climatic warming
Ryding et al. Trends in Ecology & Evolution
Open Access pdf 10.1016/j.tree.2021.07.006

In situ experimental evidences for responses of abyssal benthic biota to shifts in phytodetritus compositions linked to global climate change
Nomaki et al. Global Change Biology
Open Access pdf 10.1111/gcb.15882

GHG sources & sinks, flux, related geochemistry

Global sensitivities of forest carbon changes to environmental conditions
Besnard et al. Global Change Biology
10.1111/gcb.15877

Improved accuracy and reduced uncertainty in greenhouse gas inventories by refining the IPCC emission factor for direct N2O emissions from nitrogen inputs to managed soils
K. Supporting data of the manuscript Hergoualc’h et al. (2021) Improved accuracy and reduced uncertainty in greenhouse gas inventories by refining the IPCC emission factor for direct N2O emissions from nitrogen inputs to managed soils Global Change Biology
Open Access 10.17528/cifor/data.00273

Future weakening of the ENSO ocean carbon buffer under anthropogenic forcing
Liao et al. Geophysical Research Letters
10.1029/2021gl094021

A new divergence method to quantify methane emissions using observations of Sentinel-5P TROPOMI
Liu et al. Geophysical Research Letters
Open Access 10.1029/2021gl094151

Plant input does not exert stronger control on topsoil carbon persistence than climate in alpine grasslands
Wu et al. Ecology Letters
Open Access pdf 10.22541/au.162610069.98503366/v1

Impact of prior terrestrial carbon fluxes on simulations of atmospheric CO2 concentrations
FU et al. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
10.1029/2021jd034794

The relationship between state-level carbon emissions and average working hours in the United States: a replication study
Mallinson & Cheng Environmental Sociology
10.1080/23251042.2021.1975350

Greenhouse gas footprints of utility-scale photovoltaic facilities at the global scale
Bosmans et al. Environmental Research Letters
Open Access 10.1088/1748-9326/ac1df9

Seasonality of DOC export from a Russian subarctic catchment underlain by discontinuous permafrost, highlighted by high-frequency monitoring
Gandois et al. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences
10.1029/2020jg006152

Unveiling the driving factors of carbon emissions from industrial resource allocation in China: A spatial econometric perspective
Wang et al. Energy Policy
10.1016/j.enpol.2021.112557

Limitations of the Radon Tracer Method (RTM) to estimate regional Greenhouse Gases (GHG) emissions – a case study for methane in Heidelberg
Levin et al.
Open Access pdf 10.5194/acp-2021-661

Large Herbivores Affecting Permafrost – Impacts of Grazing on Permafrost Soil Carbon Storage in Northeastern Siberia
Windirsch et al.
Open Access pdf 10.5194/bg-2021-227

Higher Autumn Temperatures Lead to Contrasting CO2 Flux Responses in Boreal Forests Versus Tundra and Shrubland
Randazzo et al. Geophysical Research Letters
10.1029/2021gl093843

Acclimation of coastal wetland vegetation to salinization results in the asymmetric response of soil respiration along an experimental precipitation gradient
Li et al. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology
10.1016/j.agrformet.2021.108626

Modulation of ocean acidification by decadal climate variability in the Gulf of Alaska
Hauri et al. Communications Earth & Environment
Open Access pdf 10.1038/s43247-021-00254-z

Effects of climate change in the European croplands and grasslands: productivity, GHG balance and soil carbon storage
Carozzi et al.
Open Access pdf 10.5194/bg-2021-241

Quantifying fossil fuel methane emissions using observations of atmospheric ethane and an uncertain emission ratio
Ramsden et al.
Open Access pdf 10.5194/acp-2021-734

Significant emissions from forest drainage ditches – an unaccounted term in anthropogenic greenhouse gas inventories?
Peacock et al. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences
Open Access pdf 10.1029/2021jg006478

CO2 removal & sequestration science & engineering

Land sharing strategies for addressing the trade-off between carbon storage and crop production in France
Shi et al. Regional Environmental Change
10.1007/s10113-021-01818-7

Depth assessed and up-scaling of single case studies might overestimate the role of C sequestration by pastures in the commitments of Brazil’s low-carbon agriculture plan
Oliveira et al. Carbon Management
10.1080/17583004.2021.1977390

Investigation and development of the multicycle of CO2 mineralization with wastewater under standard conditions
Thamsiriprideeporn & Suekane Greenhouse Gases: Science and Technology
10.1002/ghg.2123

(provisional link) Effect of micropores on the structure and CO2 methanation performance of supported Ni/SiO2 catalyst
10.3390/catal11040443

Carbon sequestration and storage value of coffee forest in Southwestern Ethiopia
Fekadu Hailu et al. Carbon Management
10.1080/17583004.2021.1976676

Decarbonization

(provisional link) Deep decarbonization impacts on electric load shapes and peak demand
10.1088/1748-9326/ac2197

Co-benefits of deep carbon reduction on air quality and health improvement in Sichuan Province of China
Zhang et al. Environmental Research Letters
Open Access 10.1088/1748-9326/ac1133

Techno-economic optimisation of long-term energy supply strategy of Vienna city
Horak et al. Energy Policy
10.1016/j.enpol.2021.112554

Unextractable fossil fuels in a 1.5 °C world
Welsby et al. Nature
Open Access pdf 10.1038/s41586-021-03821-8

Geoengineering climate

Sensitivity of total column ozone to stratospheric sulfur injection strategies
Tilmes et al. Geophysical Research Letters
10.1029/2021gl094058

In search of weakened resolve: Does climate-engineering awareness decrease individuals’ commitment to mitigation?
Austin & Converse Journal of Environmental Psychology
10.1016/j.jenvp.2021.101690

Climate change communications & cognition

The cognitive and experiential effects of flood risk framings and experience, and their influence on adaptation investment behaviour
Markanday & Galarraga Climate Risk Management
Open Access 10.1016/j.crm.2021.100359

Reactions to warnings in the climate commons
Wyss et al. Journal of Environmental Psychology
Open Access 10.1016/j.jenvp.2021.101689

In search of weakened resolve: Does climate-engineering awareness decrease individuals’ commitment to mitigation?
Austin & Converse Journal of Environmental Psychology
10.1016/j.jenvp.2021.101690

Exploring public opinions on climate change policy in “Big Data Era”—A case study of the European Union Emission Trading System (EU-ETS) based on Twitter
Wei et al. Energy Policy
10.1016/j.enpol.2021.112559

Avoidance, rationalization, and denial: Defensive self-protection in the face of climate change negatively predicts pro-environmental behavior
Wullenkord & Reese Reese Journal of Environmental Psychology
Open Access pdf 10.1016/j.jenvp.2021.101683

Agronomy, animal husbundry, food production & climate change

Global greenhouse gas emissions from animal-based foods are twice those of plant-based foods
Xu et al. Nature Food
10.1038/s43016-021-00358-x

Environmental heat stress in rabbits: implications and ameliorations
Oladimeji et al. International Journal of Biometeorology
10.1007/s00484-021-02191-0

Land sharing strategies for addressing the trade-off between carbon storage and crop production in France
Shi et al. Regional Environmental Change
10.1007/s10113-021-01818-7

Impact of climate change on the potential geographical suitability of cassava and sweet potato vs. rice and potato in India
Raji et al. Theoretical and Applied Climatology
10.1007/s00704-021-03763-1

Climate warming promotes pesticide resistance through expanding overwintering range of a global pest
Ma et al. Nature Communications
Open Access pdf 10.1038/s41467-021-25505-7

Projecting the Impact of Socioeconomic and Policy Factors on Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Carbon Sequestration in U.S. Forestry and Agriculture
Wade et al. Journal of Forest Economics
10.1561/112.00000545

Carbon sequestration and storage value of coffee forest in Southwestern Ethiopia
Fekadu Hailu et al. Carbon Management
10.1080/17583004.2021.1976676

Effect of organic carbon addition on paddy soil organic carbon decomposition under different irrigation regimes
Deroo et al. Biogeosciences
Open Access pdf 10.5194/bg-18-5035-2021

Effects of climate change in the European croplands and grasslands: productivity, GHG balance and soil carbon storage
Carozzi et al.
Open Access pdf 10.5194/bg-2021-241

Significant emissions from forest drainage ditches – an unaccounted term in anthropogenic greenhouse gas inventories?
Peacock et al. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences
Open Access pdf 10.1029/2021jg006478

Hydrology & climate change

Water is the middle child in global climate policy
Miralles-Wilhelm Nature Climate Change
10.1038/s41558-021-01154-y

Climate change and the future of western US water governance
Hedden-Nicely Nature Climate Change
10.1038/s41558-021-01141-3

Quantifying the Precipitation-Temperature Relationship in China during 1961–2018
Liu & Wu International Journal of Climatology
10.1002/joc.7384

Future climatic projections and hydrological responses in the Upper Beijiang River Basin of South China using bias-corrected RegCM 4.6 data
Chen et al. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
10.1029/2021jd034550

A framework for risk-based assessment of urban floods in coastal cities
Kumar et al. Natural Hazards
Open Access 10.1007/s11069-021-05024-w

Economic value of freshwater provisioning services of the cryosphere in the Urumqi River, Northwest China
Xue-Ting et al. Advances in Climate Change Research
Open Access 10.1016/j.accre.2021.09.003

Climate change economics Climate change mitigation public policy research

Risk-opportunity analysis for transformative policy design and appraisal
Mercure et al. Global Environmental Change
Open Access 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2021.102359

Utilitarian benchmarks for emissions and pledges promote equity, climate and development
Budolfson et al. Nature Climate Change
10.1038/s41558-021-01130-6

Assessing policy barriers to the energy transition in South Africa
Todd & McCauley Energy Policy
Open Access 10.1016/j.enpol.2021.112529

National Energy and Climate Plans for the island of Ireland: wind curtailment, interconnectors and storage
Newbery Energy Policy
10.1016/j.enpol.2021.112513

Integration of climate change mitigation and sustainable development planning: Lessons from a national planning process in Nigeria
Malley et al. Environmental Science & Policy
Open Access 10.1016/j.envsci.2021.08.022

Projecting the Impact of Socioeconomic and Policy Factors on Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Carbon Sequestration in U.S. Forestry and Agriculture
Wade et al. Journal of Forest Economics
10.1561/112.00000545

Climate change adaptation & adaptation public policy research

The immobility-relocation continuum: Diverse responses to coastal change in a small island state
Piggott-McKellar & McMichael Environmental Science & Policy
10.1016/j.envsci.2021.08.019

The cognitive and experiential effects of flood risk framings and experience, and their influence on adaptation investment behaviour
Markanday & Galarraga Climate Risk Management
Open Access 10.1016/j.crm.2021.100359

Matches, mismatches and priorities of pathways from a climate-resilient development perspective in the mountains of Nepal
Pandey et al. Environmental Science & Policy
10.1016/j.envsci.2021.08.013

Increased risk of extreme heat to European roads and railways with global warming
Mulholland & Feyen Climate Risk Management
Open Access 10.1016/j.crm.2021.100365

Assessing the full costs of floodplain buyouts
Curran-Groome et al. Climatic Change
Open Access pdf 10.1007/s10584-021-03178-x

Rural institutions, social networks, and self-organized adaptation to climate change
Fischer et al. Environmental Research Letters
Open Access 10.1088/1748-9326/ac22bf

Climate change impacts on human health

The half-degree matters for heat-related health impacts under the 1.5 °C and 2 °C warming scenarios: evidence from ambulance data in Shenzhen, China
He et al. Advances in Climate Change Research
Open Access 10.1016/j.accre.2021.09.001

Future Projections of Heat Mortality Risk for Major European Cities
Karwat & Franzke Franzke Weather, Climate, and Society
10.1175/wcas-d-20-0142.1

Climate change impacts on human culture Other

Climate change and the demand for recreational ecosystem services on public lands in the continental United States
Wilkins et al. Global Environmental Change
10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2021.102365

A Tale of Two Rapidly Intensifying Supertyphoons: Hagibis (2019) and Haiyan (2013)
Lin et al. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society
Open Access pdf 10.1175/bams-d-20-0223.1

Sustainable, green, and climate-resilient cities: an analysis of multilateral development banks
Bazbauers Climate and Development Development Policy Review
10.1080/17565529.2021.1974331

(provisional link) Book review: How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need

Informed opinion, nudges & major initiatives

Water is the middle child in global climate policy
Miralles-Wilhelm Nature Climate Change
10.1038/s41558-021-01154-y

Climate change and the future of western US water governance
Hedden-Nicely Nature Climate Change
10.1038/s41558-021-01141-3

Conditions are ideal for a new climate club
Tagliapietra & Wolff Energy Policy
10.1016/j.enpol.2021.112527

Reviews and syntheses: Arctic fire regimes and emissions in the 21st century
McCarty et al. Biogeosciences
Open Access pdf 10.5194/bg-2021-83

 


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