Support for an International Climate Change Treaty among American and Chinese Adults

We empirically examined citizen views on climate change in China and the United States, including an analysis of factors affecting public support for joining an international climate change treaty. We conducted face-to-face intercept surveys of Chinese adults (N=2,047) and online surveys of American adults (N=1,306) between September and November 2013. Overall, Chinese adults were more likely to accept the realities of anthropogenic climate change. Although a supermajority of respondents in both countries support an international climate treaty, support for such action was significantly greater among Chinese respondents compared to Americans. Additionally, a variety of variables reflecting climate change views, including awareness and understanding, were positively correlated with support for a climate treaty in both countries. All else being equal, we also found that more exposure to media content on climate change increased support for a treaty. Lastly, political affiliation was found to have an important influence on support for an international climate treaty in the United States.

Evaluating Smallholder Farmers’ Perceptions of Climate Change: The Case of Chiredzi District, Zimbabwe

Climate change and variability has affected smallholder farmers in various ways. Without meaningful adaptation, many households dependent on agriculture will be more food insecure and become more vulnerable than ever to droughts, poverty, and other household emergencies. The objective of this research was to understand the perceptions of smallholder farmers on long term climate change and variability and to compare them to empirical historical long-term climate trends since perceptions are hypothesized to greatly influence climate adaptations. Cross-sectional data was collected from randomly selected farming households from purposively selected wards of Chiredzi District of Zimbabwe. Descriptive statistics and linear trend analyses were used to describe, analyze, and compare farmer perceptions and actual long-term historical trends in climate, respectively. Research findings showed that a very high proportion of smallholder farmers perceived adverse changes in long-term climate, which was in line with results of the linear trend analyses of empirical time series climate data from 1980 to 2011. Although farmers are diverse in terms of their demographic and socio-economic attributes as well as resource endowments, they were shown to exhibit almost homogeneous perceptions of long-term changes in climate. These perceptions are critical for determining, shaping up, and understanding smallholder farmer adaptation decisions at the farm-level. Policy implications are that climate resilient development interventions targeted at such communities have a high likelihood of success as uptake of adaptation strategies is highly favoured by their correct conception and appreciation of climate change in the district.

Pandora's Box: Neither Climate Refugee, Migrant, Stateless, or Exile

The groups most affected by environmental degradation induced by climate change have a vulnerable status and lack resources to migrate. Beyond lacking the resources to migrate out of degraded and/or adverse environments, there are significant socioeconomic political barriers in regards to obtaining emigration credentials. The objective of this article is to appraise the different aspects of climate change refugees, such as troublesome issues associated with population estimates, definitions, and the social and legal obstacles of achieving internationally recognized refugee, migrant, stateless, or exile status. Presently, it is essential to develop international and sustainable policies to ensure effective protection and assistance for vulnerable persons who are currently displaced or will need to migrate due to adverse environmental changes.

Climate Change, Conflict, and Moving Borders

Can climate change accelerate conflict by increasing the rate of natural border change? A review of nine historical cases shows peaceful and hostile responses to such border movements. In every case, the dispute comes down to differences in measurement rules and their interpretation. An examination of likely climate forecasts suggests greater border conflict due to changes in rivers, glaciers, and seas. Because of the potential danger of conflict, states should agree on principles for dispute resolution regarding moving borders. There are clear indicators in the nine cases of instances where border changes are more and less likely to lead to conflict. These lessons are instructive for dealing with future challenges and developing a system of policy responses.