UC Davis Study Reveals Future Of Climate Change Is Dependent Upon Increase In Public Pressure On Legislative Reform

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By: Laura Baquerizo

 

DAVIS, CA – A study conducted by Dr. Francis Moore in the Environmental Science & Policy Department at UC Davis published in Nature revealed that public perception of climate change will determine global climates throughout the rest of the 21st century. The study found that public opinion influences global climates when coupled with socio-political factors such as changing costs of climate mitigation technologies and varied political institutions’ response to public pressures.

 

Through the use of a highly integrated multidisciplinary model, the results of the study produced over 100,000 possible future pathways of climate policy by amassing large sums of social, political, and technical data. 

 

Despite the difficulties associated with accurately predicting future emissions, the study  narrowed down the 100,000 pathways into several clusters of possible climate-warming scenarios. The results indicated that climate temperatures in 2100 will be an estimated 1.8 to 3.6 Celsius degrees higher than the temperature averages of the 19th century. 

 

As a result of funding from the National Science Foundation and research support provided by the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, the study explained the collective need to limit global impacts to climate change through sizable improvements to mitigation technologies with an emphasis on the positive impacts of public pressures which consequently produce reformative legislative action. “Understanding the potential for nonlinear dynamics in the socio-technical systems producing both greenhouse gasses and climate policy is essential for identifying high-impact intervention points and better informing policy,” the study says.

 

Based on the results of the study’s threefold model, which analyzes the global feedback processes of environmental, social, and legislation action, the window in which the ability to reverse the effects of climate change is growing increasingly smaller. 

 

As anthropogenic influence continues to alter global temperatures, the study aims to emphasize the need for public opinion to be swayed in support of mitigation policies in the face of increasing climate anomalies and unusual weather patterns. “A large number of studies have connected stated belief in global warming with local temperature anomalies: people appear to be able to identify local warming and are more likely to report believing in climate change if the weather is (or is perceived to be) unusually warm,” the study explains.

 

In regards to the study’s investigation into social facets which can determine the course of climate change pathways, the authors reported that the average individual’s actions and opinions are most commonly in alignment with the social views of their immediate community. Community constituents who choose to engage in pro-climate practices such as the limiting of energy use and the burning of fossil fuels, frequently act as a result of a shared social norm. Norms such as these dictate a majority public opinion which both supports and acknowledges the need for legislative reform in relation to climate change policy. Through collective action, a positive feedback effect holds the ability to bolster political action in favor of positive change. 

 

In spite of the study’s alarming data portrait of possible climate pathways which indicate a detrimental rise in climate temperatures, there has been a deviation from expectations due to COVID-19. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, diminished transportation use and energy consumption have slightly tipped the scales of anthropogenic environmental impact in favor of stabilization. 

 

According to Dr. Moore, “understanding how societies respond to environmental change, and policy arises from social and political systems, is a key question in sustainability science.” Moore further stated “I see this [study] as pushing that research, and also being useful for climate adaptation and impact planning.” 

 

About The Author

Jordan Varney received a masters from UC Davis in Psychology and a B.S. in Computer Science from Harvey Mudd. Varney is editor in chief of the Vanguard at UC Davis.

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25 Comments

  1. Ron Oertel

    Through the use of a highly integrated multidisciplinary model, the results of the study produced over 100,000 possible future pathways of climate policy by amassing large sums of social, political, and technical data.

    Well, who wouldn’t appreciate a lot of choices?

    A large number of studies have connected stated belief in global warming with local temperature anomalies: people appear to be able to identify local warming and are more likely to report believing in climate change if the weather is (or is perceived to be) unusually warm,” the study explains.

    Sounds like that took a “large number of studies” to conclude.

    In spite of the study’s alarming data portrait of possible climate pathways which indicate a detrimental rise in climate temperatures, there has been a deviation from expectations due to COVID-19. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, diminished transportation use and energy consumption have slightly tipped the scales of anthropogenic environmental impact in favor of stabilization.

    Turns out that if you don’t drive, and you shut down the economy – there’s less climate change.

    Probably the same impact when gas goes up to $10/gallon. But do you suppose that would help, or hurt Putin?

     

  2. Keith Olson

    Here’s the future of climate change, “On Sunday, AAA pinned California’s average gas price at $5.28 per gallon”.  The public is quickly going to sour on climate change and Biden’s blocking of pipelines and drilling in the U.S. if they keep having to pay exorbitant gasoline and natural gas prices.

     

        1. David Greenwald

          Understood. But you’re still in the same dilemma – fires, heatwaves, floods, rising sea levels, mass extinction – it seems that rising gas prices is probably the least of our problems at this point.

        2. Keith Olson

          I know, and according to Al Gore the polar ice caps would be gone by now.

          Please tell me how importing oil and gas from other countries including Russia and soon to be Iran and Venezuela if Biden gets his way is better than drilling for it nationally in our own country?

          1. David Greenwald

            Increasing the cost of gas actually leads people to reduce their discretionary driving, plus it makes alternative fuels more competitive. The polar ice caps have decreased by far more and far quicker than scientists expected – read the NYT article I linked.

        3. Ron Oertel

          Please tell me how importing oil and gas from other countries including Russia and soon to be Iran and Venezuela if Biden gets his way is better than drilling for it nationally in our own country.

          This kind of reminds me of David’s DiSC argument:

          “They’re going to build it (somewhere) anyway, why not here”?  🙂

          But the difference is that David (and the YIMBYs) actively claim to be concerned about climate change.

        4. Keith Olson

          Increasing the cost of gas actually leads people to reduce their discretionary driving, plus it makes alternative fuels more competitive. 

          Well then why not $20/gallon?  If that’s the solution that would really reduce driving.  To Hell with the world economy.

          1. David Greenwald

            Did you actually read the Times article? What do you think is going to happen to the world economy under the current trajectory?

        5. Keith Olson

          And please tell me how importing oil and natural gas from other counties instead of producing it here is helping climate change?

          It’s like your argument for DiSC, if we don’t build it locally it will be built somewhere else.  At least if we build it here we can have some control over the carbon output.

          Same goes for oil and gas exploration.

          1. David Greenwald

            “And please tell me how importing oil and natural gas from other counties instead of producing it here is helping climate change?”

            That’s actually a false argument that I have never made. I have never made the argument that we should importing or producing our own oil, my position is having cheap gas is detrimental to climate change and we need to transition away from gasoline and indeed fossil fuel powered energy altogether.

      1. Richard_McCann

        Keith O

        I assume you believe in the power of markets in reallocating resource use and supply. Here’s your answers in terms of market dynamics and forces, as a professional energy economist:

        1) Whether we import oil & gas or produce it here will not have an affect on the oil price because the oil market is global and the US cannot shield itself at all from that global price. We would have to shut down all trade with all other nations, which means shutting down our manufacturing industry which focuses on the very lucrative market of building machine tools, equipment and computer gear for other nations to use in making their manufactured goods. Drilling here won’t make an iota of change in our gas prices.

        2) The real means of reducing the cost driving, which is what this is really about, is accelerating electric car adoption. Unlike oil prices, electricity prices are largely set at the state level and not affected by global events such as the Ukrainian war. The high price of gasoline incentivizes drivers to look for a cheaper energy source, which is an EV. It also happens that EVs have a much smaller climate change impact while also be more financially resilient.

  3. Eileen Samitz

    If UCD really wanted to help combat climate change they would do sustainable planning, which they teach, but they do not practice.

    A few examples of what UCD can do specifically to help combat climate change are:

    1) Put water meters on their on-campus housing like new housing everywhere in California is doing. California is now facing a water shortage again, yet UCD has consistently refused to put water meters on their new student housing like in West Village. Since there is no incentive to save water, since it is as set amount in the monthly rent, so millions of gallons of waste will continue to be wasted on-campus which is using the same water tables as Davis and other surrounding communities including farms needing water to grow crops.

    2) UCD needs to build far more on higher-density student housing projects on it enormous 5,300 acre campus which has a 900-acre core campus (the larges UC in the system). Yet, UCD is the only UC which as not committed to housing at least 50% on-campus.

    Placing far more campus housing on the UCD campus is needed for many reasons:

    a) It is cheaper in the long run since housing costs can be better controlled long-term on campus since UCD’s  land is free and UC is tax exempt.

    b) It is needed sustainable planning since it would reduce traffic and vehicle emissions enormously since commuting by students would be minimized.

    c) It allows students to live conveniently closer to their classes and the other facilities on campus. UC Irvine has a robust amount on-campus student housing which the students love, and includes student housing 10% below market rate. Much of it is well planned high-density housing which makes the best use of the land it is built on.

    Why does UCD teach sustainable planning, yet it is allowed to get away with not practicing it itself?

    Look at how UCD squandered the student housing building opportunity of the new low-density Orchard Park. It will have fewer beds then planned in the LRDP ,while using more land including using some of the land for the chronically postponed faculty and staff housing, for Orchard Park parking! The new Orchard Park is low density compared to other UC campuses and even compared to the City of Davis which has approved 5 mega-dorms, two of which are 7-stories. UCD has no student housing over 5-stories (and 5-stories is a rarity).

    Finally, far more high-density student housing on-campus is possible clearly since all the other campuses are committed to building at least 50% student housing on campus, except UCD (i.e. which is the largest UC campus).

    Also, why isn’t UCD applying for some of the $500 million that the State has allocated for State university student housing?

    UCD needs to be called out for its negligence and irresponsible lack of planning for the housing needs of its students.

     

  4. Richard_McCann

    b) It is needed sustainable planning since it would reduce traffic and vehicle emissions enormously since commuting by students would be minimized.

    Most students commute to campus via foot, bike or bus. Most car commuting is by staff and faculty who are increasingly being forced to live outside of Davis due to high housing prices caused by Measure J/R/D.

  5. Keith Olson

    If we’re serious about climate change then America producing oil and natural gas is good for the world:

    Russian natural gas exported to Europe has a lifecycle emissions profile 41% higher than the equivalent energy from the United States. Replacing Russian energy with American energy isn’t just good for Europe’s national security, it would create American jobs, lower global emissions and cut off the finances being used to wage a war in Ukraine.

    https://www.deseret.com/opinion/2022/3/7/22966174/utah-john-curtis-congress-president-biden-vladimir-putin-russia-oil-and-gas-industry-sanctions

    1. David Greenwald

      Author of the piece: “Rep. John Curtis, a Republican, represents Utah’s 3rd District in Congress.”

      Does not cite the source of his claim.

      His claim refers only to natural gas, not oil. It’s not clear how that would translate to GHG or whether it does.

        1. David Greenwald

          How come I can’t find that quote in that link?

          Also what does that have to do with oil – which is what we were talking about?

          Regardless, my position is we can and should move away from both natural gas and oil dependency.

  6. Eileen Samitz

    Richard,

    UCD pushing 71% of its student population off campus for housing is the most responsible factor in causing the increase of housing costs in Davis.

      1. Ron Oertel

        And yet, you had no response to Richard’s claim (that Eileen was responding to):

        due to high housing prices caused by Measure J/R/D.

        Interesting, regarding the comments that you choose to challenge (or more to the point, “not” challenge).

        Nor do you express much support regarding the most environmentally-friendly place for students to live, which is on campus.

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