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Highlights of 2022, picked by PLOS Climate Section Editors

As we near the end of a busy year for PLOS Climate– our first as an actively publishing journal- we ask some of our Section Editors which of our publications most excited them in 2022.

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Christian Klöckner– Section Editor for Behavior & Psychology

“How dare you?”—The normative challenge posed by Fridays for Future– Viktoria Spaiser et al.

Christian says: “The paper takes an interesting perspective on the Fridays for Future movement and how it impacted the climate discussion by making it a topic relevant much closer to home (in this case our own children).”

Fig. 1 from Spaiser et al. 2022

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Denia Kolokotsa– Section Editor for Energy

Urban climate-health governance: Charting the role of public health in large global city adaptation plansMary Sheehan et al.

“I was excited to see this paper published in PLOS Climate as I think that the nexus between urban climatic conditions and impacts on health and health systems is very timely and pertinent,” Denia tells us.

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Paul Harris– Section Editor for Politics & Justice

Electoral appeal of climate policies: The Green New Deal and the 2020 U.S. House of Representatives elections– Meagan Carmack et al.

“Despite much pessimism about the willingness of American voters to support candidates who call for action on climate change,” says Paul, “this paper suggests that, even in America’s polarized political environment, it is not suicidal for candidates do do just that. This may help to explain, if only a bit, the results of the recent mid-term elections in the United States. Democratic candidates that supported strong action climate change did better than expected, with many races so close that the small uplift in public support described in this paper may have made a difference. We can only hope that this is an indication of Americans’ belated acceptance of the need to change their behaviors and join the global effort to mitigated the climate crisis.”

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Kris Karnauskas– Section Editor for Oceanography

Sea level rise drives carbon and habitat loss in the U.S. mid-Atlantic coastal zone– Katie Warnell et al.

“The paper is important because it quantifies impacts of sea level rise in ways that can be made real to humans,” says Kris. “It also shows that sea level rise will alter whether some coastal areas are carbon sinks or sources, which is a feedback with implications for climate sensitivity.”

Fig. 3 from Warnell et al. 2022

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Mark Budolfson– Section Editor for Philosophy & Ethics

Towards a “fair-efforts” metric for climate pledges– Narasimha Rao

According to Mark, “this paper makes progress toward needed ‘next generation’ equity metrics to evaluate nations’ efforts toward Paris goals. The innovation is to go beyond simple metrics such as ‘polluter pays’ and the like, and instead incorporate additional relevant factors such as national co-benefits, national mitigation costs, and national income all based on data from leading models. This generates a more normatively appropriate evaluation of the adequacy of national efforts, and requires low income nations to make important reductions when it is in their own interest or sufficiently low-cost to expect them to do so — all while at the same time appropriately estimating the generally greater efforts that should be made by rich nations.”

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Ana Maria Loboguerrero– Section Editor for Agriculture & Food Systems

“How dare you?”—The normative challenge posed by Fridays for Future– Viktoria Spaiser et al.

“This paper addresses the complex issue of driving wide large-scale social change to respond to the climate crisis,” Ana Maria tells us. “It highlights the gap between the scientific and societal understanding of the climate crisis and how it remains largely unbridged. Without a clear understanding on how normative frameworks can challenge business as usual, it would be impossible to successfully act upon the climate crisis. This paper is a first step to understand what is needed to trigger transformation for climate action.”

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Agatha de Boer– Section Editor for Paleoclimate

Population distribution within the human climate niche– Barry Klinger and Sadie Ryan

Agatha says: “The paper points to the complexity of the preferred climate niche for humans. It shows that there is no optimum temperature range for humans to live in because the preferred habitat depends also largely, and arguably even more, on precipitation. The paper thus illustrates that one has to take many variables into considerations to derive the impact of climate change on a given population.”

Fig. 1 from Klinger & Ryan 2022

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Sheona Shackleton– Section Editor for Adaptation

Culture change to address climate change: Collaborations with Indigenous and Earth sciences for more just, equitable, and sustainable responses to our climate crisis– Heather Lazrus et al.

“This short Opinion piece addresses two critical requirements for equitable, just and resilient climate action,” says Sheona, “namely multi-actor collaboration and the inclusion of Indigenous (and local) Knowledge. The authors have linked these together under the term ‘Intercultural Collaboration’ and argue that we cannot address the climate crisis without a cultural change in our thinking, research and actions. I really appreciated the practical but carefully thought through and wise reflections on what is needed to make such collaborations work.”

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