Melbourne Law School - Research Publications

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    A systematic global stocktake of evidence on human adaptation to climate change
    Berrang-Ford, L ; Siders, AR ; Lesnikowski, A ; Fischer, AP ; Callaghan, MW ; Haddaway, NR ; Mach, KJ ; Araos, M ; Shah, MAR ; Wannewitz, M ; Doshi, D ; Leiter, T ; Matavel, C ; Musah-Surugu, JI ; Wong-Parodi, G ; Antwi-Agyei, P ; Ajibade, I ; Chauhan, N ; Kakenmaster, W ; Grady, C ; Chalastani, V ; Jagannathan, K ; Galappaththi, EK ; Sitati, A ; Scarpa, G ; Totin, E ; Davis, K ; Hamilton, NC ; Kirchhoff, CJ ; Kumar, P ; Pentz, B ; Simpson, NP ; Theokritoff, E ; Deryng, D ; Reckien, D ; Zavaleta-Cortijo, C ; Ulibarri, N ; Segnon, AC ; Khavhagali, V ; Shang, Y ; Zvobgo, L ; Zommers, Z ; Xu, J ; Williams, PA ; Canosa, IV ; van Maanen, N ; van Bavel, B ; van Aalst, M ; Turek-Hankins, LL ; Trivedi, H ; Trisos, CH ; Thomas, A ; Thakur, S ; Templeman, S ; Stringer, LC ; Sotnik, G ; Sjostrom, KD ; Singh, C ; Sina, MZ ; Shukla, R ; Sardans, J ; Salubi, EA ; Chalkasra, LSS ; Ruiz-Diaz, R ; Richards, C ; Pokharel, P ; Petzold, J ; Penuelas, J ; Avila, JP ; Murillo, JBP ; Ouni, S ; Niemann, J ; Nielsen, M ; New, M ; Schwerdtle, PN ; Alverio, GN ; Mullin, CA ; Mullenite, J ; Mosurska, A ; Morecroft, MD ; Minx, JC ; Maskell, G ; Nunbogu, AM ; Magnan, AK ; Lwasa, S ; Lukas-Sithole, M ; Lissner, T ; Lilford, O ; Koller, SF ; Jurjonas, M ; Joe, ET ; Huynh, LTM ; Hill, A ; Hernandez, RR ; Hegde, G ; Hawxwell, T ; Harper, S ; Harden, A ; Haasnoot, M ; Gilmore, EA ; Gichuki, L ; Gatt, A ; Garschagen, M ; Ford, JD ; Forbes, A ; Farrell, AD ; Enquist, CAF ; Elliott, S ; Duncan, E ; de Perez, EC ; Coggins, S ; Chen, T ; Campbell, D ; Browne, KE ; Bowen, KJ ; Biesbroek, R ; Bhatt, ID ; Kerr, RB ; Barr, SL ; Baker, E ; Austin, SE ; Arotoma-Rojas, I ; Anderson, C ; Ajaz, W ; Agrawal, T ; Abu, TZ (NATURE PORTFOLIO, 2021-10-28)
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    Ten new insights in climate science 2021: a horizon scan
    Martin, MA ; Alcaraz Sendra, O ; Bastos, A ; Bauer, N ; Bertram, C ; Blenckner, T ; Bowen, K ; Brando, PM ; Rudolph, TB ; Buchs, M ; Bustamante, M ; Chen, D ; Cleugh, H ; Dasgupta, P ; Denton, F ; Donges, JF ; Donkor, FK ; Duan, H ; Duarte, CM ; Ebi, KL ; Edwards, CM ; Engel, A ; Fisher, E ; Fuss, S ; Gaertner, J ; Gettelman, A ; Girardin, CAJ ; Golledge, NR ; Green, JF ; Grose, MR ; Hashizume, M ; Hebden, S ; Hepach, H ; Hirota, M ; Hsu, H-H ; Kojima, S ; Lele, S ; Lorek, S ; Lotze, HK ; Matthews, HD ; McCauley, D ; Mebratu, D ; Mengis, N ; Nolan, RH ; Pihl, E ; Rahmstorf, S ; Redman, A ; Reid, CE ; Rockstrom, J ; Rogelj, J ; Saunois, M ; Sayer, L ; Schlosser, P ; Sioen, GB ; Spangenberg, JH ; Stammer, D ; Sterner, TNS ; Stevens, N ; Thonicke, K ; Tian, H ; Winkelmann, R ; Woodcock, J (CAMBRIDGE UNIV PRESS, 2021-10-18)
    Non-technical summary We summarize some of the past year's most important findings within climate change-related research. New research has improved our understanding about the remaining options to achieve the Paris Agreement goals, through overcoming political barriers to carbon pricing, taking into account non-CO2 factors, a well-designed implementation of demand-side and nature-based solutions, resilience building of ecosystems and the recognition that climate change mitigation costs can be justified by benefits to the health of humans and nature alone. We consider new insights about what to expect if we fail to include a new dimension of fire extremes and the prospect of cascading climate tipping elements. Technical summary A synthesis is made of 10 topics within climate research, where there have been significant advances since January 2020. The insights are based on input from an international open call with broad disciplinary scope. Findings include: (1) the options to still keep global warming below 1.5 °C; (2) the impact of non-CO2 factors in global warming; (3) a new dimension of fire extremes forced by climate change; (4) the increasing pressure on interconnected climate tipping elements; (5) the dimensions of climate justice; (6) political challenges impeding the effectiveness of carbon pricing; (7) demand-side solutions as vehicles of climate mitigation; (8) the potentials and caveats of nature-based solutions; (9) how building resilience of marine ecosystems is possible; and (10) that the costs of climate change mitigation policies can be more than justified by the benefits to the health of humans and nature. Social media summary How do we limit global warming to 1.5 °C and why is it crucial? See highlights of latest climate science.
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    Interactions between two existential threats: COVID-19 and climate change
    Ebi, KL ; Bowen, KJ ; Calkins, J ; Chen, M ; Huq, S ; Nalau, J ; Palutikof, JP ; Rosenzweig, C (ELSEVIER, 2021-09-09)
    The COVID-19 pandemic and climate change are complex existential threats, unpredictable in many ways and unprecedented in modern times. There are parallels between the scale and scope of their impacts and responses. Understanding shared drivers, coupled vulnerabilities, and criteria for effective responses will help societies worldwide prepare for the simultaneous threats of climate change and future pandemics. We summarize some shared characteristics of COVID-19 and climate change impacts and interventions and discuss key policy implications and recommendations.
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    Taking globally consistent health impact projections to the next level
    Rocklov, J ; Huber, V ; Bowen, K ; Paul, R (ELSEVIER SCI LTD, 2021-07-01)
    Despite intensive research activity within the area of climate change, substantial knowledge gaps still remain regarding the potential future impacts of climate change on human health. A key shortcoming in the scientific understanding of these impacts is the lack of studies that are conducted in a coordinated and consistent fashion, producing directly comparable outputs. This Viewpoint discusses and exemplifies a bottom-up initiative generating new research evidence in a more coordinated and consistent way compared with previous efforts. It describes one of the largest model comparisons of projected health impacts due to climate change, so far. Yet, the included studies constitute only a selection of health impacts in a variety of geographical locations, and are therefore not a comprehensive assessment of all possible impact pathways and potential consequences. The new findings of these studies shed light on the complex and multidirectional impacts of climate change on health, where impacts can be both adverse or beneficial. However, the adverse impacts dominate overall, especially in the scenarios with more greenhouse gas forcing. Overall, the future population at risk of disease and incidence rates are predicted to increase substantially, but in a highly location-specific and disease-specific fashion. Greenhouse gas emission mitigation can substantially reduce risk and resultant morbidity and mortality. The potential positive impact of adaptation has not been included in the models applied, and thus remains a major source of uncertainty. This bottom-up initiative lays out a research strategy that brings more meaningful research outputs and calls for greater coordination of research initiatives across the health community.
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    Global evidence of constraints and limits to human adaptation
    Thomas, A ; Theokritoff, E ; Lesnikowski, A ; Reckien, D ; Jagannathan, K ; Cremades, R ; Campbell, D ; Joe, ET ; Sitati, A ; Singh, C ; Segnon, AC ; Pentz, B ; Musah-Surugu, JI ; Mullin, CA ; Mach, KJ ; Gichuki, L ; Galappaththi, E ; Chalastani, VI ; Ajibade, I ; Ruiz-Diaz, R ; Grady, C ; Garschagen, M ; Ford, J ; Bowen, K (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2021-09-01)
    Abstract Constraints and limits to adaptation are critical to understanding the extent to which human and natural systems can successfully adapt to climate change. We conduct a systematic review of 1,682 academic studies on human adaptation responses to identify patterns in constraints and limits to adaptation for different regions, sectors, hazards, adaptation response types, and actors. Using definitions of constraints and limits provided by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), we find that most literature identifies constraints to adaptation but that there is limited literature focused on limits to adaptation. Central and South America and Small Islands generally report greater constraints and both hard and soft limits to adaptation. Technological, infrastructural, and ecosystem-based adaptation suggest more evidence of constraints and hard limits than other types of responses. Individuals and households face economic and socio-cultural constraints which also inhibit behavioral adaptation responses and may lead to limits. Finance, governance, institutional, and policy constraints are most prevalent globally. These findings provide early signposts for boundaries of human adaptation and are of high relevance for guiding proactive adaptation financing and governance from local to global scales.
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    The effects on public health of climate change adaptation responses: a systematic review of evidence from low- and middle-income countries
    Scheelbeek, PFD ; Dangour, AD ; Jarmul, S ; Turner, G ; Sietsma, AJ ; Minx, JC ; Callaghan, M ; Ajibade, I ; Austin, SE ; Biesbroek, R ; Bowen, KJ ; Chen, T ; Davis, K ; Ensor, T ; Ford, JD ; Galappaththi, EK ; Joe, ET ; Musah-Surugu, IJ ; Alverio, GN ; Schwerdtle, PN ; Pokharel, P ; Salubi, EA ; Scarpa, G ; Segnon, AC ; Sina, M ; Templeman, S ; Xu, J ; Zavaleta-Cortijo, C ; Berrang-Ford, L (IOP Publishing Ltd, 2021-07-01)
    Climate change adaptation responses are being developed and delivered in many parts of the world in the absence of detailed knowledge of their effects on public health. Here we present the results of a systematic review of peer-reviewed literature reporting the effects on health of climate change adaptation responses in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The review used the 'Global Adaptation Mapping Initiative' database (comprising 1682 publications related to climate change adaptation responses) that was constructed through systematic literature searches in Scopus, Web of Science and Google Scholar (2013-2020). For this study, further screening was performed to identify studies from LMICs reporting the effects on human health of climate change adaptation responses. Studies were categorised by study design and data were extracted on geographic region, population under investigation, type of adaptation response and reported health effects. The review identified 99 studies (1117 reported outcomes), reporting evidence from 66 LMICs. Only two studies were ex ante formal evaluations of climate change adaptation responses. Papers reported adaptation responses related to flooding, rainfall, drought and extreme heat, predominantly through behaviour change, and infrastructural and technological improvements. Reported (direct and intermediate) health outcomes included reduction in infectious disease incidence, improved access to water/sanitation and improved food security. All-cause mortality was rarely reported, and no papers were identified reporting on maternal and child health. Reported maladaptations were predominantly related to widening of inequalities and unforeseen co-harms. Reporting and publication-bias seems likely with only 3.5% of all 1117 health outcomes reported to be negative. Our review identified some evidence that climate change adaptation responses may have benefits for human health but the overall paucity of evidence is concerning and represents a major missed opportunity for learning. There is an urgent need for greater focus on the funding, design, evaluation and standardised reporting of the effects on health of climate change adaptation responses to enable evidence-based policy action.
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    A planetary health blind spot: the untapped potential of women to safeguard nature and human resilience in LMICs
    de Paula, N ; Jung, L ; Mar, K ; Bowen, K ; Maglakelidze, M ; Funderich, M ; Otieno, M ; El Omrani, O ; Baunach, S ; Gepp, S (ELSEVIER SCI LTD, 2021-03-10)
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    Using Implementation Science For Health Adaptation: Opportunities For Pacific Island Countries
    Boyer, CJ ; Bowen, K ; Murray, V ; Hadley, J ; Hilly, JJ ; Hess, JJ ; Ebi, KL (PROJECT HOPE, 2020-12-01)
    The health risks of a changing climate are immediate and multifaceted. Policies, plans, and programs to reduce climate-related health impacts exist, but multiple barriers hinder the uptake of these strategies, and information remains limited on the factors affecting implementation. Implementation science-a discipline focused on systematically examining the gap between knowledge and action-can address questions related to implementation and help the health sector scale up successful adaptation measures in response to climate change. Implementation science, in the context of a changing climate, can guide decision makers in introducing and prioritizing potential health adaptation and disaster risk management solutions, advancing sustainability initiatives, and evaluating and improving intervention strategies. In this article we highlight examples from Pacific Island countries and outline approaches based on implementation science to enhance the capacity of health systems to anticipate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from climate-related exposures.
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    Guidelines for Modeling and Reporting Health Effects of Climate Change Mitigation Actions
    Hess, JJ ; Ranadive, N ; Boyer, C ; Aleksandrowicz, L ; Anenberg, SC ; Aunan, K ; Belesova, K ; Bell, ML ; Bickersteth, S ; Bowen, K ; Burden, M ; Campbell-Lendrum, D ; Carlton, E ; Cisse, G ; Cohen, F ; Dai, H ; Dangour, AD ; Dasgupta, P ; Frumkin, H ; Gong, P ; Gould, RJ ; Haines, A ; Hales, S ; Hamilton, I ; Hasegawa, T ; Hashizume, M ; Honda, Y ; Horton, DE ; Karambelas, A ; Kim, H ; Kim, SE ; Kinney, PL ; Kone, I ; Knowlton, K ; Lelieveld, J ; Limaye, VS ; Liu, Q ; Madaniyazi, L ; Martinez, ME ; Mauzerall, DL ; Milner, J ; Neville, T ; Nieuwenhuijsen, M ; Pachauri, S ; Perera, F ; Pineo, H ; Remais, JV ; Saari, RK ; Sampedro, J ; Scheelbeek, P ; Schwartz, J ; Shindell, D ; Shyamsundar, P ; Taylor, TJ ; Tonne, C ; Van Vuuren, D ; Wang, C ; Watts, N ; West, JJ ; Wilkinson, P ; Wood, SA ; Woodcock, J ; Woodward, A ; Xie, Y ; Zhang, Y ; Ebi, KL (The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), 2020-11-10)
    Modeling suggests that climate change mitigation actions can have substantial human health benefits that accrue quickly and locally. Documenting the benefits can help drive more ambitious and health-protective climate change mitigation actions; however, documenting the adverse health effects can help to avoid them. Estimating the health effects of mitigation (HEM) actions can help policy makers prioritize investments based not only on mitigation potential but also on expected health benefits. To date, however, the wide range of incompatible approaches taken to developing and reporting HEM estimates has limited their comparability and usefulness to policymakers.
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    Health Synergies across International Sustainability and Development Agendas: Pathways to Strengthen National Action
    Bowen, KJ ; Murphy, N ; Dickin, S ; Dzebo, A ; Ebikeme, C (MDPI, 2021-02-01)
    Since 2015 there has been a surge of international agendas to address a range of global challenges: climate change (Paris Agreement), sustainable development (Agenda 2030), disaster risk reduction (Sendai Framework) and sustainable urban transformation (New Urban Agenda). Health is relevant to all of these agendas. Policymakers must now translate these global agendas into national level policies to implement the agreed goals in a coherent manner. However, approaches to synergise health activities within and across these agendas are needed, in order to achieve better coherence and maximise national level implementation. This research evaluated the framing of human health within these agendas. A content analysis of the agendas was conducted. Findings indicate (i) the importance of increased awareness of health systems strengthening as a helpful framework to guide the integration of health issues across the agendas, (ii) only two health themes had synergies across the agendas, (iii) the lack of a governance mechanism to support the integration of these four agendas to enable national (and sub-national) governments to more feasibly implement their ambitions, and (iv) the vital component of health leadership. Finally, planetary health is a relevant and timely concept that can support the urgent shift to a healthy planet and people.