CSTPR has closed May 31, 2020: Therefore, this webpage will no longer be updated. Individual projects are or may still be ongoing however. Please contact CIRES should you have any questions.
Ogmius Newsletter

CENTER Publications

Below is a sample of recent publications by CSTPR faculty (Center personnel highlighted):

An Attainable Global Vision for Conservation and Human Well-Being

Tallis, H.M., P.L. Hawthorne, S. Polasky, J. Reid, M.W. Beck, K. Brauman, J.M. Bielicki, S. Binder, M.G. Burgess et al., 2018. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.

articleAbstract: A hopeful vision of the future is a world in which both people and nature thrive, but there is little evidence to support the feasibility of such a vision. We used a global, spatially explicit, systems modeling approach to explore the possibility of meeting the demands of increased populations and economic growth in 2050 while simultaneously advancing multiple conservation goals. Our results demonstrate that if, instead of “business as usual” practices, the world changes how and where food and energy are produced, this could help to meet projected increases in food (54%) and energy (56%) demand while achieving habitat protection (>50% of natural habitat remains unconverted in most biomes globally; 17% area of each ecoregion protected in each country), reducing atmospheric greenhouse-gas emissions consistent with the Paris Climate Agreement (≤1.6°C warming by 2100), ending overfishing, and reducing water stress and particulate air pollution. Achieving this hopeful vision for people and nature is attainable with existing technology and consumption patterns. However, success will require major shifts in production methods and an ability to overcome substantial economic, social, and political challenges. Read more ...

Drought in Urban Water Systems: Learning Lessons for Climate Adaptive Capacity

Dilling, L., M.E. Daly, D.A. Kenney, R. Klein, K. Miller, A.J. Ray, W.R. Travis, and O. Wilhelmi, 2018. Climate Risk Management.

articleAbstract: In this paper we examine current policies to combat drought in urban areas in the United States to illuminate lessons learned for building climate adaptive capacity. We conducted interviews with practitioners involved in drought management at urban water utilities across the U.S. to understand: 1) both short- and long-term actions taken in response to drought; 2) perceptions of what constitutes an ‘effective’ drought response and whether and how this was measured; and 3) limitations to drought response. We apply criteria from a theoretical framing of adaptive capacity and then ‘reason by analogy’ to understand how adaptive capacity may be built or constrained in the future by such responses, including how future actions may be otherwise limited by political, social, physical and other factors. We find that drought responses overall are seen as successful in reducing water demand and helping to maintain system reliability, but can also reduce flexibility and introduce other limitations. Public perception, the multi-purpose nature of water, revenue structures, expectations and other social factors play a dominant role in constraining drought response options. We also find that some urban water utilities face challenges in measuring the effectiveness of demand reduction strategies because it can be difficult to attribute water savings, especially those related to outdoor water use. Read more ...

Framing Sustainability and Climate Change: Interrogating Discourses in Vernacular and English-Language Media in Sundarbans, India

Ghosh, A. and M. Boykoff, 2018. Geoforum.


  • Anglophone media portrayals marginalized local climate vulnerabilities.
  • Technocratic conservation agenda, mythmaking drove semantic drift in media accounts.
  • Anglophone media representations failed to articulate poverty, inequality, justice.
  • Anglophone media discourses were found to promote neoliberal conservation agendas.
  • Absence of cultural and linguistic equivalence affect vernacular media discourse.

Read more ...

A Laughing Matter? Confronting Climate Change Through Humor

Boykoff, M. and B. Osnes, 2018. Political Geography.

articleAbstract: Why fuse climate change and comedy? Anthropogenic climate change is one of the most prominent and existential challenges of the 21st century. Consequently, public discourses typically consider climate change as ‘threat’ with doom, gloom and psychological duress sprinkled throughout. Humor and comedy have been increasingly mobilized as culturally-resonant vehicles for effective climate change communications, as everyday forms of resistance and tools of social movements, while providing some levity along the way. Yet, critical assessments see comedy as a distraction from the serious nature of climate change problems. Primarily through conceptions of biopower and through approaches to affect, this paper interrogates how comedy and humor potentially exert power to impact new ways of thinking/acting about anthropogenic climate change. More widely, this paper critically examines ways in which experiential, emotional, and aesthetic learning can inform scientific ways of knowing. These dynamics are explored through the ‘Stand Up for Climate Change’ initiative through the ‘Inside the Greenhouse’ project where efficacy of humor in climate change communication is considered while individuals and groups also build tools of communication through humor. This is a multi-modal experiment in sketch comedy, stand-up and improvisation involving undergraduate students, culminating in a set of performances. In addition, the project ran an international video competition. Through this case, we find that progress is made along key themes of awareness, efficacy, feeling/emotion/affect, engagement/problem solving, learning and new knowledge formation, though many challenges still remain. While science is often privileged as the dominant way by which climate change is articulated, comedic approaches can influence how meanings course through the veins of our social body, shaping our coping and survival practices in contemporary life. However, this is not a given. By tapping into these complementary ways of knowing, ongoing challenges remain regarding how communicators can more effectively develop strategies to ‘meet people where they are’ through creative climate communications. Read more ...

Evaluating the Perils and Promises of Academic Climate Advocacy

Boykoff, M. and D. Oonk, 2018. Climatic Change.

articleAbstract: What are the causes and consequences of academic climate advocacy in contemporary times? Should it be celebrated and pursued, or derided and eschewed? Does advocacy in various forms tarnish or enhance the reputation of science? This research examined conditions whereby some in academic communities facilitate various forms of engagement relating to their research while others shy away from applications of their work and avoid the “advocate” label. Through an exploratory survey of US-based natural and social science climate researchers/scholars and through analysis of interviews of US-based climate change academic researchers/scholars as part of an “Inside the Greenhouse” and “More than Scientists” collaboration, we explored academic advocacy in a twenty-first century climate communications environment. Among our findings, there was broad agreement that climate change is a pressing issue, yet among social scientists, women are more likely to agree that advocacy should not be criticized than their male social scientist counterparts. Younger respondents were more likely than older respondents to be compelled to change by advocacy from someone with a smaller carbon footprint. Meanwhile, social scientists were more likely than natural scientists to be compelled to change by someone with a smaller carbon footprint. The associated effect of age differences was stronger than the associated differences with profession. Together, we examined these dynamic conditions that animate advocacy opportunities and tensions in the context of contemporary climate change research and engagement. Through conflation between advocacy for evidence-based climate science and advocacy for particular policy outcomes (with coincident dangers of individualism and apolitical intellectualism), we found that academic climate advocacy remains an unresolved subject. Read more ...