Training and Capacity Building Activities of Climate Adaptation Science Centers for the Benefit of Tribal and Indigenous Communities, 2010–2019

Download the report.

Tribal nations and Indigenous communities are key collaborators on adaptation work within the Climate Adaptation Science Center (CASC) network. The centers have partnered with numerous Tribal and Indigenous communities on projects or activities to better understand the communities’ specific knowledge of and exposure to impacts of climate change, to increase or assist with capacity to support adaptation planning, and to identify and address climate science needs. Projects and activities generated in the various CASC regions have different Tribal and Indigenous stakeholders, climate change contexts, and training needs. Consequently, these projects and activities were neither implemented nor reported consistently throughout the network. Information and materials on the various projects and activities were gathered and are presented in the Tribal and Indigenous Projects Data Sheet (hereafter, Data Sheet) with the goals of reducing inconsistencies between CASCs and benefitting other agencies who plan to implement similar activities. The Data Sheet is complementary to this report, which provides a synthesis of the CASC-led climate-related, capacity-building activities for Tribes and Indigenous communities. The results described in this report provide an analysis of the categorization of projects, activities, and individual trainings to highlight detailed information on the various ways each CASC works with and supports Native and Indigenous communities.

A big step toward ‘green’ ammonia and a ‘greener’ fertilizer

Read the full story from the University of California – Berkeley.

Synthesizing ammonia, the key ingredient in fertilizer, is energy intensive and a significant contributor to greenhouse gas warming of the planet. Chemists designed and synthesized porous materials — metal-organic frameworks, or MOFs — that bind and release ammonia at more moderate pressures and temperatures than the standard Haber-Bosch process for making ammonia. The MOF doesn’t bind to any of the reactants, making capture and release of ammonia less energy intensive and greener.

London Underground polluted with metallic particles small enough to enter human bloodstream

Read the full story from the University of Cambridge.

The London Underground is polluted with ultrafine metallic particles small enough to end up in the human bloodstream, according to researchers. These particles are so small that they are likely being underestimated in surveys of pollution in the world’s oldest metro system.

ESG Boycott Legislation in States: Municipal Bond Market Impact

Download the report.

In more than a dozen states across the country, state legislatures have either passed or have pending bills based on a piece of model legislation developed by the American Legislative Exchange Council known as the “Energy Discrimination Elimination Act.” These bills would essentially pull state funds from investment managers if they are deemed by government officials to be adverse to the oil and gas and coal industries in their investment strategies. Some of the same states – in addition to many others – are considering bills that would similarly punish or blacklist financial firms for including having strong Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) standards in their investment strategies.

The legislation has been accompanied by actions at other levels of government, including state executive actions by treasurers and governors, legal action by state attorneys general, and even the threat of federal action in the next Congress. At the tip of the spear of the state efforts to pressure financial institutions away from assessing and acting upon the financial risks of such issues as climate change, gun violence, and workers’ rights is the threat of pulling state funds from their asset managers.

Among many key unknowns associated with these legislative and executive actions are impacts to the residents and taxpayers of the states where they become law. Setting aside the implications of politics interfering in financial decisions, there is the question of how removing major, proven financial companies from the marketplace will affect competition. Restrictions on financial market participants, (and in this analysis we look at large investment banks), alter the outcomes of municipal bond market transactions and modify contractual engagements with state governments. It is therefore of tremendous importance that policymakers, business leaders, and the public have the tools to estimate and anticipate these impacts.

Ancient farming strategy holds promise for climate resilience

Read the full story from Cornell University.

Morgan Ruelle, M.S. ’10, Ph.D. ’15, was living in the remote mountains of Ethiopia in 2011, researching his dissertation on food diversity, when he kept hearing about a crop that confused him.

The farmers repeatedly mentioned a grain called “duragna” in Amharic that had no equivalent in English. “They kept saying, ‘Well, it’s not really wheat, it’s not really barley,’” Ruelle says. “I was just kind of stumped by it for several weeks.”

Eventually a farmer explained that duragna was actually a mix of both wheat and barley, and sometimes other grains too, planted together, rather than one type of grain sown in orderly rows.

He had stumbled upon one of the few places in the world where farmers still sow maslins, or cereal species mixtures, which can contain rice, millet, wheat, rye, barley, triticale, emmer and more.

The knowledge the farmers shared with Ruelle led to a paper by current and former Cornell researchers that suggests maslins, which have fed humans for millennia but now are largely forgotten, have the unique capacity to adapt in real time to increasingly unpredictable and extreme weather caused by climate change.

Managing river restoration and coastal erosion

Read the full story from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

A team has developed a more accurate formula to calculate how much sediment a fluid can push across a granular bed, which could help engineers manage river restoration and coastal erosion. The key to the new formula comes down to the shape of the sediment grains.

Noah’s Ark in a Warming World: Climate Change, Biodiversity Loss, and Public Adaptation Costs in the United States

Frances C. Moore, Arianna Stokes, Marc N. Conte, and Xiaoli Dong (2022). “Noah’s Ark in a Warming World: Climate Change, Biodiversity Loss, and Public Adaptation Costs in the United States.” Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists 9(5), 981-1015. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/716662 [open access]

Abstract: Climate change poses a growing threat to biodiversity, but the welfare consequences of these changes are not well understood. Here we analyze data on the US Endangered Species Act and project increases in species listing and spending due to climate change. We show that higher endangerment is strongly associated with the probability of listing but also find a large bias toward vertebrate species for both listing and spending. Unmitigated warming would cause the listing of an additional 690 species and committed spending of $21 billion by 2100. Several thousand more species would be critically imperiled by climate change but remain unlisted. Finally, we compare ESA spending with estimates of willingness to pay for conservation of 36 listed species. Aggregate WTP is larger than ESA spending for the vast majority of species even using conservative assumptions and typically one to two orders of magnitude larger than direct ESA spending using less restrictive assumptions. Dataverse data: https://doi.org/10.7910/DVN/2FDEFO

Enhancing Community Resilience through Social Capital and Connectedness Stronger Together!

Download the report.

Disasters caused by natural hazards and other large-scale emergencies are devastating communities in the United States. These events harm individuals, families, communities, and the entire country, including its economy and the federal budget. This report identifies applied research topics, information, and expertise that can inform action and opportunities within the natural hazard mitigation and resilience fields with the goal of reducing the immense human and financial toll of disasters.

Motivating Local Climate Adaptation and Strengthening Resilience Making Local Data Trusted, Useful, and Used

Download the report.

Local communities are already experiencing dire effects caused by climate change that are expected to increase in frequency, intensity, duration, and type. Public concern about climate-related challenges is increasing, available information and resources on climate risks are expanding, and cities across the country and the globe are developing approaches to and experience with measures for mitigating climate impacts. Building and sustaining local capacities for climate resilience requires both resilient physical and social infrastructure systems and inclusive, resilient communities.

At the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Motivating Local Climate Adaptation and Strengthening Resilience provides guidance for active and ongoing efforts to move science and data into action and to enable and empower applied research that will strengthen capacities for hazard mitigation and resilience in communities, across the nation, and around the world.

Gas, Guns, and Governments: Financial Costs of Anti-ESG Policies

Download the paper.

We study how regulation limiting ESG policies distorts financial market outcomes. In 2021 Texas enacted laws that prohibit municipalities from contracting with banks with certain ESG policies, leading to the exit of five of the largest municipal bond underwriters from the state. Issuers previously reliant on these underwriters face higher uncertainty and borrowing costs since the enactment of the laws. These effects are consistent with deterioration in underwriter competition as issuers face fewer potential underwriters. Texas issuers will incur $300-$500 million in additional interest on the $31.8 billion borrowed during the first eight months following enactment.