The research will be published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Leigh Raymond, associate director of Purdue's Climate Change Research Center and co-author of the study, said different nations face different exposures to climate change depending on their socioeconomic dimensions.
"Climate change is only half of the story," said Raymond, who also is an associate professor of political science at Purdue. "We need to consider how different societies are threatened by these physical changes in unique ways. Impoverished areas have fewer resources to deal with environmental stress, while wealthy areas have a greater amount of infrastructure that could be lost, and areas with larger populations have more lives at stake."
Michael Mastrandrea, a research associate at the Center for Environmental Science and Policy at Stanford University and member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said this combination of climatic and socioeconomic indicators provides a new method to assess the risks of 21st century climate change and how they vary across nations.
"As this work is developed further, it has the potential to be informative to the international climate policy debate," he said. "The severity of future climate impacts is very sensitive to the pathway of socioeconomic development. This paper proposes an interesting basis from which to quantify the broad implications of concurrent changes in climate and society."
Raymond is currently attending the U.N. conference on climate change in Bali, where he is participating as an official observer of the negotiations.
"Our study is an important first step to get people thinking about the issues fr
|Contact: Elizabeth K. Gardner|