Reviews & Analysis

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  • Using a multi-sector model of human and natural systems, we find that the nationwide cost from state-varying climate policy in the United States is only one-tenth higher than that of nationally uniform policy. The benefits of state-led action — leadership, experimentation and the practical reality that states implement policy more reliably than the federal government — do not necessarily come with a high economic cost.

    • Wei Peng
    • Gokul Iyer
    • David G. Victor
    Policy Brief
  • Improvements in public transport are often regarded as essential to combat climate change. A study investigating the Chinese high-speed rail system suggests that these benefits could operate through channels other than those that one might expect.

    • Armin Schmutzler
    News & Views
  • Carbon capture and storage is key to strong climate change mitigation scenarios, but growth is slow. This Perspective argues that confidence in the expansion of carbon capture and storage requires greater attention to reducing uncertainty over injection dynamics and the pace of storage investment decision-making.

    • Joe Lane
    • Chris Greig
    • Andrew Garnett
    Perspective
  • Disclosure of climate risk to investments was expected to drive divestment from high-carbon assets. This Perspective considers the limitations of transparency to shift investment and the different markets of low- and high-carbon assets; mobilizing finance requires more than disclosure.

    • Nadia Ameli
    • Sumit Kothari
    • Michael Grubb
    Perspective
  • Atmospheric rivers substantially affect the global hydrologic cycle, yet their response to past and future anthropogenic forcing remains highly uncertain. New research reveals the counterbalancing effects of aerosols and greenhouse gases and how this balance will shift to favour stronger atmospheric rivers in the coming decades.

    • Breanna L. Zavadoff
    News & Views
  • Climate change generates multifaceted and difficult-to-measure risks to human and natural systems. Now, research offers a composite indicator of global climate risk that may help track progress in addressing climate change.

    • Robert J. Lempert
    News & Views
  • Economic models of climate change are the basis for climate policy design. However, incorrect representation of physical dynamics in these models could lead to biased advice.

    • Richard S. J. Tol
    News & Views
  • Thawing permafrost in the Arctic may release microorganisms, chemicals and nuclear waste that have been stored in frozen ground and by cold temperatures. This Review discusses the current state of potential hazards and their risks under warming to identify prospective threats to the Arctic.

    • Kimberley R. Miner
    • Juliana D’Andrilli
    • Charles E. Miller
    Review Article
  • While earlier reproduction in a great tit population is expected to help with warmer springs, oak tree health seems to influence their ability to modulate their breeding period.

    • Suzanne Bonamour
    News & Views
  • Increased flood risk from climate change requires adaptation, but future protection may leave communities with residual risk that is overlooked. Research now quantifies residual flood damage globally, highlighting the need to lower costs and time to deploy flood management infrastructure, particularly in vulnerable regions.

    • Daniel Eisenberg
    News & Views
  • Observational data from long-term monitoring plots show that the carbon sink of remaining, undisturbed African and Amazonian tropical rainforest is declining. A study now finds that simulations from Earth system models cannot reproduce this decline.

    • Anja Rammig
    • David M. Lapola
    News & Views
  • Climate models disagree on how the year-to-year variability of the El Niño/Southern Oscillation will change in a warmer world. Using a high-resolution climate model with an improved tropical Pacific mean state, research now suggests that El Niño activity tends to get weaker under GHG-induced warming.

    • Shineng Hu
    News & Views
  • Changes in river discharge due to climate change are highly uncertain, and a recent study used a global streamflow dataset to assess whether such trends are detectable. Streamflow changes occurred more often in basins impacted by human disturbances than in pristine ones, and there was no clear signal from climate change alone.

    • Gabriele Villarini
    • Conrad Wasko
    News & Views
  • Economically optimal climate strategies may be politically less feasible because they need strong collective action. Fortunately, achieving climate goals through more realistic differentiated policies may not be much more expensive.

    • Aleh Cherp
    News & Views
  • Climate services have long sought to bridge the gap between climate science and improved societal decision-making. Now, a study finds that fulfilling that promise will require rethinking the norms, institutions and governance of science itself.

    • Meaghan Daly
    News & Views
  • As climate change impacts marine ecosystems, fish must migrate or adapt and eventually speciate to preserve their diversity. Research now shows that warming has coincided with reduced fish body size throughout evolutionary history, hindering both preservation strategies.

    • Joseph Flannery-Sutherland
    News & Views
  • Climate change is having a profound impact on modern agriculture and plant health. Now research suggests that while crop yields may increase at high latitudes in light of climate change, these gains could be severely impacted by parallel shifts in disease risk.

    • Diane G. O. Saunders
    News & Views
  • Litigation is growing in importance as a way to achieve mitigation and equity in the face of ongoing climate change. Research now shows that currently cases are not using the latest state-of-the-art attribution science, and doing so could improve causation determination.

    • Lindene E. Patton
    News & Views