In response to claims by Bernie Sanders and Prince Charles (and resulting inquiries from journalists), Marshall Burke and Solomon Hsiang published an Op-Ed in the LA Times explaining what we do and do not know about linkages between climate and social conflict.
Felipe González's paper Drug Trafficking Organizations and Local Economic Activity in Mexico was published in PLOS ONE.
(It's the first term paper from our course Spatial Data and Analysis to be published.)
Jonathan Proctor was awarded a grant to use machine learning to study the social consequences of drought by the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center. Proctor will lead a team of interdisciplinary graduate student collaborators from around the country.
Tamma Carleton and Solomon Hsiang led the first Summer Workshop in Climate Economics, where fifteen doctoral students from around the country learned econometric methods and worked with faculty and postdoc mentors to complete new research projects studying the impacts of climate change around the world.
Amir Jina, James Rising, and Solomon Hsiang were coauthors on the book "Economic Risks of Climate Change: An American Prospectus" published by Columbia University Press. The analysis in the book was the research behind the Risky Business initiative lead by Michael Bloomberg, Hank Paulson and Tom Steyer. Commentary by Karen Fisher-Vanden, Michael Greenstone, Geoffrey Heal, Michael Oppenheimer, and Nicholas Stern and Bob Ward enrich the original analysis.
I was driving into the office today when I heard on the radio that in a speech at the Coast Guard Academy graduation, President Obama said,
"Around the world, climate change increases the risk of instability and conflict. "
Not only that, but he gets it:
"Understand, climate change did not cause the conflicts we see around the world. Yet what we also know is that severe drought helped to create the instability in Nigeria that was exploited by the terrorist group Boko Haram. It’s now believed that drought and crop failures and high food prices helped fuel the early unrest in Syria, which descended into civil war in the heart of the Middle East."
The NSF awarded $2.9M to Berkeley for “Environment and Society: Data Science for the 21st Century (DS421),” a new National Science Foundation Research Traineeship (NRT). DS421 is an interdisciplinary graduate training program at UC Berkeley at the interface of data, social and natural sciences.
The American Climate Prospectus was cited in President Obama's proposed budget for 2016. One key feature of the budget highlighted by the White House was its strong focus on evaluating and managing climate change as a fiscal issue. There is an entire section of the budget on "Federal Budget Exposure to Climate Risk" which states:
The global climate is changing and is projected to continue to change over this century and beyond.1 Climate change impacts—such as rising sea level and more frequent and intense extreme weather events—will increasingly strain the Federal budget. The ability of policymakers to make smart investment decisions and to steward the Federal budget over the long term is increasingly dependent on understanding the Federal Government’s exposure to climate risks.