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Talking Point articles

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More frequent moments in the climate-change debate as emissions continue

Having plotted a timeline of significant climate meetings and reports against metrics of atmospheric greenhouse-gas changes and global temperature, Chris Huntingford and Pierre Friedlingstein believe it is an open question whether the timeline implies a lack of progress in constraining climate change despite multiple recent keynote meetings, or the increasing level of debate is encouragement that solutions will be found to prevent any dangerous warming.

On methods for assessing water-resource risks and vulnerabilities

Much more can and should be done with new data and methods to improve our understanding of water challenges, says Peter Gleick.

Greater understanding is needed of whether warmer and shorter winters associated with climate change could reduce winter mortality

It's important that health systems continue to ensure adequate health protection against cold temperatures even as temperatures warm, says Kristie Ebi

Vulnerability – a fragile definition?

Researchers in disaster-risk reduction and climate-change adaptation don't see vulnerability the same way. Although their views are moving closer together, according to a new review.

Mediterranean climate future: an insightful look into the Basin's precipitation response to greenhouse gas forcing

Yochanan Kushnir discusses improvements in climate models to better simulate the impact of greenhouse gas warming in this critical world region.

Reporting carbon losses from tropical deforestation with Pan-tropical biomass maps

Data and methods are no longer an obstacle to the inclusion of REDD+ in a new climate agreement, argue Frédéric Achard and Joanna House.

1.5°C Special Report: let’s accept the challenge

We have to meet the UNFCCC’s request for details by 2018 of the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, argue Christopher Reyer and Katja Frieler

How does gender affect vulnerability to climate change?

Researchers must put more emphasis on nuance, review finds, while Asia and Central and South America lack studies

High-energy focus: bringing disciplines together

There’s more to high-energy particles than clouds and cosmic rays, says Giles Harrison of the University of Reading, UK.

Towards typologies of urban climate and global environmental change

We need an understanding of which kind of cities can contribute what kind of measures to mitigate and adapt to global environmental change, says Felix Creutzig.

The Arctic matters: extreme weather responds to diminished Arctic Sea ice

The short answer to whether the disappearance of multi-year Arctic sea ice will make extreme weather events more frequent is yes....and no, according to Jennifer Francis.

Industrial concessions, fires and air pollution in Equatorial Asia

There's a compelling justification to prevent reclassification of logging concessions into oil palm or timber concessions after logging, say Dominick Spracklen et al.

Oil palm deserves government attention in Brazil

José R Moreira and José Goldemberg analyse biodiesel production from oil palm plantations as one possible way to mitigate climate change while providing cost effective results.

Use of models and observations in event attribution

Gabriele Hegerl gives her take on an important step towards improving the reliability of event attribution results.

Prioritizing urban sustainability solutions: coordinated approaches must incorporate scale-dependent built environment induced effects

Contemporary and future design of settlements demands cooperative participation between planners, architects, and relevant stakeholders, with the urban and global climate community, say Matei Georgescu et al.

Research follow-up: assessing groundwater beneath Africa

Alan MacDonald and colleagues published their map of African groundwater resources in Environmental Research Letters three years ago; since then there’s been much progress, including the commencement of the UPGro (Unlocking the Potential of Groundwater for the Poor) programme

Grazing in Arctic peatlands – an unknown agent in the global carbon budget

Falk et al's recent finding highlights the potential of grazers to alter ecosystem processes in Arctic peatlands and so to act as a major player in the global carbon budget, according to Sari Stark and Henni Ylänne

US agricultural policy, land use change, and biofuels: are we driving our way to the next dust bowl?

Recently documented cropland expansion suggests the need to reform national policies in the wake of an emerging era of US agriculture characterized by rapid land cover/land use change, says Christopher Wright.

Civil aviation, air pollution and human health

Whilst aircraft emissions are often considered as dominant near runways, there are a number of other sources and processes related to aviation that still need to be accounted for, say Roy M Harrison, Mauro Masiol and Sotiris Vardoulakis

A new drought tipping point for conifer mortality

Thomas Kolb examines the link between the standardized precipitation–evapotranspiration index (SPEI) and annual tree ring growth in semi-arid forests.