Climate Conversations, S2E3: How will Human Beings Adapt to a Changing Climate?

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How well have humans adapted to the current climate, and how will we adapt to new climate complexities?

This week, the Climate Conversations team is joined by climate research scientist Nick Obradovich, who discusses the many ways the climate affects us in our day-to-day lives, including the way we sleep and exercise. Nick explains how he uses data science to look at climate and behavior, such as social media indications of how people’s mood changes with weather.

We discuss climate change as a human cooperation challenge, and explore how developing countries will struggle to adapt to climate change: Is it time to pay reparations to these countries?



Curt Newton's picture

Research just published shows

Research just published shows a correlation between children's exposure to extreme heat in ea

rly life and they're financial future.

...a new study by researchers at Stanford, the University of California, Berkeley, and the U.S. Department of the Treasury suggests that even short periods of extreme heat can carry long-term consequences for children and their financial future. Specifically, heat waves during an individual’s early childhood, including the period before birth, can affect his or her earnings three decades later, according to the paper, published on Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Every day that temperatures rise above 32 ˚C, or just shy of 90 ˚F, from conception to the age of one is associated with a 0.1 percent decrease in average income at the age of 30.

The researchers don’t directly tackle the tricky question of how higher temperatures translate to lower income, noting only that fetuses and infants are “especially sensitive to hot temperatures because their thermoregulatory and sympathetic nervous systems are not fully developed.” Earlier studies have linked extreme temperatures during this early life period with lower birth rate and higher infant mortality, and a whole field of research has developed around what’s known as the “developmental origins of health and disease paradigm,” which traces the impacts of early health shocks into adulthood.

Read the full coverage in Technology Review.

Rick Shankman's picture

"[There] has developed...

"[There] has developed... what’s known as the 'developmental origins of health and disease paradigm,' which traces the impacts of early health shocks into adulthood."

Climate Science/Justice Research, U.S. Treasury (Stanford, Cal Berkeley) Style...

"... heat waves during... early childhood... can affect... earnings three decades later....

For workers who would otherwise make $50,000 annually, a single day of extreme heat during their first 21 months would cut their salary by $50."

No, I didn't make those quotes up.

Curt Newton's picture

"But 43 such days would

"But 43 such days would translate to $2,150 [per year]. Multiply that by the total population experiencing such events, and it quickly adds up to a huge economic impact.

A greater proportion of citizens failing to reach their full earnings potential implies lower overall productivity and economic output."

Rick Shankman's picture

Thank you Curt, for helping

Thank you Curt, for helping to crystallize my point.

The new measure of environmental damage to the climate system and Earth: How much reduction in salary and national economic output from over-baked babies can we expect?  Let’s focus our “climate action” efforts on calculating it down to the number of Dollars ($50.00) per day of baby brain baking.


Rick Shankman's picture

A wonderfully insightful

A wonderfully insightful podcast, brought to you by the climate experts at the MIT Media Lab's Scalable Co

operation Group...

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