One Earth
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Oct 23, 2020

Volume 3Issue 4p383-516
Open Archive
On the cover: This month's cover features The City of My Dream. Currently we are living in non-resilient, crowded, and heavily polluted communities. The artwork on this month's cover features a woman holding the city of her dreams, a well-planned community that is resilient, adaptable, and able to thrive in the face of climate change, where all life can live in peace and harmony. Cover by Nickson Jeremia ( courtesy of the artist....
On the cover: This month's cover features The City of My Dream. Currently we are living in non-resilient, crowded, and heavily polluted communities. The artwork on this month's cover features a woman holding the city of her dreams, a well-planned community that is resilient, adaptable, and able to thrive in the face of climate change, where all life can live in peace and harmony. Cover by Nickson Jeremia ( courtesy of the artist.


  • Adaptation at a Critical Point

    • The One Earth editorial team
    The global climate strikes in September 2019 saw millions of people coming together across 150 countries and all seven continents at an unprecedented scale to send a clear message: climate change is here, and we must act now.


  • Transformative Adaptation in Cities

    • Aromar Revi,
    • Isabelle Anguelovski,
    • Walter Leal Filho,
    • Marta Olazabal,
    • Eric Chu,
    • John T. Cooper,
    • Matthias Garschagen,
    • Donald R. Nelson
    Cities are projected to hold two-thirds of the world’s population by 2050, under a period of intensifying climate change. Ensuring sustainable, climate-resilient and equitable cities will require moving beyond incremental adaptation to transformative adaptation. What does transformative adaptation mean for cities, and how can it be achieved, particularly in cities with low adaptive capacity?


  • Sharing Adaptation Failure to Improve Adaptation Outcomes

    • Ross Westoby,
    • Mohammad Feisal Rahman,
    • Karen E. McNamara,
    • Saleemul Huq,
    • Rachel Clissold,
    • Mizan R. Khan
    Sharing lessons is critical for ensuring that finite funding for climate change adaptation is deployed in ways that provide the most value and impact. Successes are celebrated, but failures are habitually obscured, leaving a major knowledge base untapped. This commentary calls for the urgent sharing of failures as a source of critical learning.
  • Supporting Bottom-Up Human Agency for Adapting to Climate Change

    • Johan Colding,
    • Stephan Barthel,
    • Karl Samuelsson
    The metric focus of sustainability thinking is at risk of downplaying the role of climate-change adaptation as a strategy complementary to climate-change mitigation. The upcoming 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP26) needs to explore how adaptation based on human agency could contribute to dealing with climate change.
  • Urbanization, Migration, and Adaptation to Climate Change

    • W. Neil Adger,
    • Anne-Sophie Crépin,
    • Carl Folke,
    • Daniel Ospina,
    • F. Stuart Chapin III,
    • Kathleen Segerson,
    • Karen C. Seto,
    • John M. Anderies,
    • Scott Barrett,
    • Elena M. Bennett,
    • Gretchen Daily,
    • Thomas Elmqvist,
    • Joern Fischer,
    • Nils Kautsky,
    • Simon A. Levin,
    • Jason F. Shogren,
    • Jeroen van den Bergh,
    • Brian Walker,
    • James Wilen
    Climate change is reshaping the comparative advantage of regions and hence driving migration flows, principally toward urban areas. Migration has multiple benefits and costs in both origin and destination regions. Coordinated policies that recognize how and why people move can reduce future costs and facilitate adaptation to climate change both within borders and internationally.
  • COVID-19: Clinching the Climate Opportunity

    • Christian Stoll,
    • Michael Arthur Mehling
    The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has triggered the largest drop in greenhouse gas emissions since World War II. Evolving mobility patterns, in particular, have shown the short-term mitigation potential of behavioral change. Sustaining such changes could abate 15% of all transportation emissions with limited net impacts on societal well-being.
  • Global Adaptation to Sea-Level Rise and Coastal Hazards Must Fit Local Contexts

    • Siddharth Narayan
    Sea-level rise and coastal flooding threaten the lives and assets of millions. Adapting to these hazards is urgent, but to be effective and sustainable, adaptation strategies must be integrated into local contexts, needs, and priorities.


  • Maladaptation: When Adaptation to Climate Change Goes Very Wrong

    • E. Lisa F. Schipper
    Adapting to climate change is necessary to ensure that the impacts will not overwhelm societies and ecosystems around the world. But planning adaptation is an exercise in uncertainty, and built on imperfect information, many adaptation strategies fail. Some go even further, creating conditions that actually worsen the situation; this is called maladaptation. Aside from wasting time and money, maladaptation is a process through which people become even more vulnerable to climate change. Poor planning is the primary cause of maladaptation, yet the diverse manifestations are complex, and identifying maladaptation in advance with certainty is difficult. Nevertheless, there is now sufficient experience to give an indication of how maladaptation can take place, the contexts that may be more prone to such an outcome, and the design flaws in strategies that need to be avoided. Until adaptation projects directly address the drivers of vulnerability, however, maladaptation will continue to be a risk.


  • Let’s Talk about Climate Change: Developing Effective Conversations between Scientists and Communities

    • Rachel Kelly,
    • Jocelyn Nettlefold,
    • David Mossop,
    • Silvana Bettiol,
    • Stuart Corney,
    • Coco Cullen-Knox,
    • Aysha Fleming,
    • Peat Leith,
    • Jessica Melbourne-Thomas,
    • Emily Ogier,
    • Ingrid van Putten,
    • Gretta T. Pecl
    Globally, the increasing impacts of climate change can evoke feelings of overwhelm and helplessness. Many people feel ill equipped to fully perceive or take action against our changing climate. Here, we reflect upon the Curious Climate Tasmania project and demonstrate how innovative, collaborative communication can more effectively engage non-scientist communities in climate conversations.


  • Climate Adaptation and Resilience—Now Is the Time to Do More: Arame Tall

    Dr. Arame Tall, who coordinated the preparation of the World Bank Group’s Action Plan on Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience, spoke with One Earth about the urgency of climate effects on vulnerable communities; accelerating ambition, financing, and broad-based action on climate adaptation; and ways in which the scientific community can contribute to advance those goals. The views expressed by Dr. Arame Tall are hers only and not those of the World Bank.



  • Adaptation and Carbon Removal

    • Holly J. Buck,
    • Jay Furhman,
    • David R. Morrow,
    • Daniel L. Sanchez,
    • Frances M. Wang
    We need to better understand the range of interactions between adaptation and carbon removal. Attempts at aligning adaptation and carbon removal may genuinely increase adaptive capacity or introduce new vulnerabilities, depending on policy and project design. This Perspective examines four case studies of addressing adaptation needs with adaptive carbon removal and suggests three principles for how to maximize adaptive benefits and avoid maladaptations when integrating carbon removal and adaptation.
  • Transforming Cities through Water-Sensitive Principles and Practices

    • Tony H.F. Wong,
    • Briony C. Rogers,
    • Rebekah R. Brown
    The water-sensitive city represents an aspirational future state for water management to ensure long-term sustainability, liveability, resilience, and prosperity. Over the past decade, the principles for water-sensitive practice have been operationalized in projects globally, and across a wide range of social, institutional, and biophysical contexts. An overview of these projects, lessons learnt, and actions for mainstreaming water-sensitive practices are presented. The article proposes an emerging research agenda and explores opportunities to catalyze actions in sectors beyond water.
  • Ensuring a Post-COVID Economic Agenda Tackles Global Biodiversity Loss

    • Pamela McElwee,
    • Esther Turnout,
    • Mireille Chiroleu-Assouline,
    • Jennifer Clapp,
    • Cindy Isenhour,
    • Tim Jackson,
    • Eszter Kelemen,
    • Daniel C. Miller,
    • Graciela Rusch,
    • Joachim H. Spangenberg,
    • Anthony Waldron,
    • Rupert J. Baumgartner,
    • Brent Bleys,
    • Michael W. Howard,
    • Eric Mungatana,
    • Hien Ngo,
    • Irene Ring,
    • Rui Santos
    The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented impacts to global economies, and recovery from this pandemic needs to tackle the drivers that create ecological disruptions in the first place. We discuss a number of tools across a range of actors for both short-term stimulus measures and longer-term revamping of global, national, and local economies that take biodiversity into account. By treating the crisis as an opportunity to reset the global economy, we can reverse decades of biodiversity and ecosystem losses.
  • Effective Biodiversity Monitoring Needs a Culture of Integration

    • Hjalmar S. Kühl,
    • Diana E. Bowler,
    • Lukas Bösch,
    • Helge Bruelheide,
    • Jens Dauber,
    • David. Eichenberg,
    • Nico Eisenhauer,
    • Néstor Fernández,
    • Carlos A. Guerra,
    • Klaus Henle,
    • Ilka Herbinger,
    • Nick J.B. Isaac,
    • Florian Jansen,
    • Birgitta König-Ries,
    • Ingolf Kühn,
    • Erlend B. Nilsen,
    • Guy Pe'er,
    • Anett Richter,
    • Ralf Schulte,
    • Josef Settele,
    • Nicole M. van Dam,
    • Maria Voigt,
    • Wolfgang J. Wägele,
    • Christian Wirth,
    • Aletta Bonn
    Many people and organizations independently engage in biodiversity monitoring. It is important that independent biodiversity observations are integrated, in conjunction with structured core monitoring. In this Perspective, we propose a framework for aligning different efforts to realize large-scale, integrated biodiversity monitoring through a networked design of stakeholders, data, and biodiversity schemes. Recognizing and valuing distributed monitoring expertise is important and efforts for integrating these provide benefits for society, policy, science, and individuals.

Visual Earth

  • Lines (Miami Beach)

    Lines (Miami Beach) from Pekka Niittyvirta and Timo Aho is an installation that represents the predicted future sea-level rise caused by climate change. The work provokes a dialogue on how the rising sea levels will affect coastal areas, its inhabitants, and land usage in the future.
  • Fingerprinted

    Fingerprinted takes its name from “static-equilibrium fingerprints,” which refers to regional sea-level changes caused by the melting of land-based ice while also referencing the human hand and our own complicity in rising greenhouse gas emissions.


  • Past Extinctions of Homo Species Coincided with Increased Vulnerability to Climatic Change

    • Pasquale Raia,
    • Alessandro Mondanaro,
    • Marina Melchionna,
    • Mirko Di Febbraro,
    • Josè A.F. Diniz-Filho,
    • Thiago F. Rangel,
    • Philip B. Holden,
    • Francesco Carotenuto,
    • Neil R. Edwards,
    • Matheus S. Lima-Ribeiro,
    • Antonio Profico,
    • Luigi Maiorano,
    • Silvia Castiglione,
    • Carmela Serio,
    • Lorenzo Rook
    At least six different Homo species populated the World during the Pleistocene. The extinction of all but one of them is currently shrouded in mystery, despite the enormous importance of the matter. We used a novel past climate emulator and an extensive fossil database to model climatic niche evolution in Homo. We found statistically robust evidence that extinction in past Homo species has a genuine climatic drive. In the case of Neanderthals, the increased extinction risk was probably exacerbated by competition with H. sapiens.
  • Chinese Overseas Development Financing of Electric Power Generation: A Comparative Analysis

    • Xu Chen,
    • Kevin P. Gallagher,
    • Denise L. Mauzerall
    The Paris climate goals require rapid decarbonization of the global power generation sector. To achieve this goal, it is critical to redirect international development finance away from fossil fuel toward renewable energy technologies. We find that East Asian national DFIs have committed to finance a new generation of coal power plants. However, China’s new domestic decarbonization goal, if extended to its overseas finance, will be enormously valuable in reducing future carbon emissions from recipient countries.
  • Identifying Agricultural Frontiers for Modeling Global Cropland Expansion

    • Felix Eigenbrod,
    • Michael Beckmann,
    • Sebastian Dunnett,
    • Laura Graham,
    • Robert A. Holland,
    • Patrick Meyfroidt,
    • Ralf Seppelt,
    • Xiao-Peng Song,
    • Rebecca Spake,
    • Tomáš Václavík,
    • Peter H. Verburg
    Predicting where cropland is likely to expand globally has important implications for climate change and biodiversity. However, doing so is challenging because of a lack of data on key drivers of current expansion in so-called frontier areas (e.g., governance). Here, we show that using deviations from a model of cropland extent in 1992 built on all available data improves models of recent (1992–2015) cropland expansion over and above using the best available existing data.