Today PLOS ONE launches the Responding to Climate Change Collection. At its centre is a paper published last December, “Assessing ‘Dangerous Climate Change’: Required Reduction of Carbon Emissions to Protect Young People, Future Generations and Nature” by James Hansen and colleagues. The paper presented a disruptive call to action on climate change through cohesive, unified steps to reduce fossil fuel emissions to pre-industrial era levels.
The publication was accompanied by a call for papers for the PLOS ONE Collection, focussing on research that examines the practicalities of reducing fossil fuel emissions; returning the Earth to a state of energy balance; and climate and conservation management strategies that counter the impact of climate change and preserve natural habitats. Areas covered in the call for papers include atmospheric chemistry, alternative energy research, geoengineering, science policy, behavioural psychology, and ecosystem and habitat conservation.
“Minimizing human-made climate change requires insight across a broad science and policy spectrum, and ready access to knowledge as understanding is gained. As an Open Access journal, PLOS ONE provides a vehicle to achieve that,” says Hansen.
The launch of the collection coincides with the publication of the first submission to the call. “Climate Exposure of US National Parks in a New Era of Change” by William B. Monahan and Nicholas A. Fisichelli of the U.S. National Park Service describes a variety of recent extreme climates in some of the nation’s most visited parks. Evaluation of data for 289 natural resource parks administered by the National Park Service shows that parks are overwhelmingly at the extreme warm end of historical temperature distributions. The authors call for intensive climate science education, and inclusion of the general public, in order to help steward parks and park resources in the face of the changing climate: “As climate shifts further outside of the historical range of variability, resistance strategies will likely become less effective and extremely difficult management decisions – with input from the public and stakeholder groups – will be required.”
The Collection also includes 8 related papers that have been published in PLOS ONE since the call was issued. The papers cover such diverse topics as stratospheric aerosol geoengineering, energy potential of bioenergy cropping systems and the impact of climate awareness on dietary choices of young adults in Finland.
The “Responding to Climate Change” Collection remains open for new submissions. Few areas can benefit as much from the force of Open Access as climate change research: the combination of public, scientific, and governmental interest with the mounting misinformation, unsubstantiated opinions, and unsourced data make public access to original, well-reported, and peer-reviewed climate change research of utmost importance.
PLOS ONE’s wide scope and broad publication criteria make it a perfect venue to publish and collate relevant articles in these vastly differing areas of research into one place. Our hope is that by encouraging and facilitating further research, replication, and sharing of both positive and negative results, this Collection will become a catalyst for continued climate research and policy formation.
Image 1: (clockwise from top left) Matt Rudge, Flickr.com; Vik Walker, Flickr.com; Vera Kratochvil, PublicDomainPictures.net; NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Image 2: Luca Galuzzi CC BY-SA 2.5 – www.galuzzi.it