Call for Papers
Proposed Title of Special Issue: 1.5⁰C and Small Island Developing States
Proposed Journal: Regional Environmental Change
Adelle Thomas, University of The Bahamas,
Carl-Friedrich Schleussner, Climate Analytics,
Mahendra Kumar,Independent Policy and Technical Expert, Climate Change,
Deadlines for submissions:
Full papers submission: September 2017
Proposed special issue published date: March 2018
Introduction to special issue
Small island developing states (SIDS) are positioned as particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change due to their small size, geographical features and concentration of infrastructure, economic activities and population in coastal zones (Mertz et al., 2009; MacPherson & Akpinar-Elci, 2013, Nurse et al. 2014). The extreme exposure and vulnerability of SIDS to sea level rise, increased intensity of extreme events, changes in temperature and precipitation and resultant impacts on economic and social structures (Gamble et al., 2010; Scott, 2012, Hernández-Delgado, 2015), stands in stark contrast with the negligible contributions of SIDS to global greenhouse gas emissions, the drivers of climatic change. Sea level rise and coastal erosion are particularly disturbing impacts of climate change as they threaten the very existence of many small, low elevation islands (Albert et al., 2016; Storlazzi, Elias & Berkowitz, 2015). In addition, observed and projected impacts on coastal ecosystems, especially on coral reefs, severely threaten livelihoods in island regions and are projected to cause high economic damages (Chen, Chen, Chu & McCarl, 2015). Small islands also have especially sensitive fresh water supply systems and water stress is likely to pose a serious threat (Karnauskas, Donnelly & Anchukaitis, 2016; Terry & Chui, 2012).
These dire projected effects of climate change on SIDS has led the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) to advocate strongly for a cap of 1.5⁰C on global warming above pre-industrial levels (AOSIS, 2015; Benjamin and Thomas, 2016). Current levels of warming at nearly 1⁰C have already had observable impacts on a global scale including declines in marine fisheries and food production and increases in sea level rise and flooding (UNFCCC, 2015). While warming of 1.5⁰C will result in significant additional impacts, it is likely that there will still be adaptation options for SIDS as sea level rise is projected to remain below 1 meter and terrestrial and marine species important for SIDS have higher likelihoods of survival (UNFCCC, 2015). With a warming of 2⁰C, impacts are thought to exceed the limits of adaptation for SIDS and result in irreversible and dangerous levels of climate change (UNFCCC, 2015).
While there is a significant body of work focused on climate change and SIDS, there is a lack of literature that focuses specifically on the 1.5⁰C temperature limit and its implications for SIDS. The upcoming IPCC special report on 1.5°C represents an unique opportunity to address this important literature gap and this
special issue aims to facilitate a timely and comprehensive collection of new contributions to this matter that will feed into the IPCC 1.5°C report.
For this special issue, we welcome submissions from variety of disciplines across both social and natural sciences that address the issue of 1.5⁰C and SIDS. Original research articles and commentaries are welcomed for submission. For commentaries, we explicitly invite contributions that revisit already existing analysis to specifically address the 1.5°C question.
Submissions that focus on a particular geographic region, i.e. Pacific, Caribbean, etc. or on a particular country or community within SIDS are also welcomed. Submissions that address any of the below questions or any question related to 1.5⁰C and SIDS will be well received.
1. What are the projected biophysical and/or socioeconomic impacts of 1.5⁰C for SIDS?
2. What are the avoided impacts and reduced risks at 1.5⁰C compared to higher levels of warming?
3. How is vulnerability and adaptation of SIDS affected at 1.5⁰C of warming?
4. What are existing methods of adaptation and are these methods applicable at 1.5⁰C?
5. What are limits to adaption for SIDS and will they be reached at 1.5⁰C or above?
Call for Papers