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We just completed a paper on Extension 3.0 that will be submitted to the journal Society and Natural Resources. We are officially circulating the pre-publication as a CEPB white paper (see attachment). Here is the abstract:
I just returned from a nice junket to beautiful (at least in the fall…) Maine where I gave talks at Bowdoin College and University of Maine. Both institutions were impressive for different reasons, and I met a lot of fun people. The Q&A periods of the talks highlighted three important and hard questions about network science that all of us should think about how to answer.
It is nice to have the Center's research reach a broader audience. In this case, the research on climate change and agriculture headed by Meredith Niles. Check out the Capital Public Radio interview
Lines up to four hours. Piles of garbage and human waste. Dead bodies by the side of the route. Fights between climbing groups. Welcome to Mt. Everest in 2013, and a tragedy of the commons at the top of the world.
A recent article by National Geographic highlights the increasing crowds and environmental problems on Everest. I've never climbed Everest(and don't plan to...), and I'm betting that Elinor Ostrom and Garret Hardin have not climbed there either. But Everest highlights core issues in environmental governance that they would surely recognize.
We're in the middle of the climate-smart agriculture conference here at UC Davis, which is the third of a series of international conferences focused on how agriculture will adapt to climate change. I have met fascinating people from all over the world involved in important research and on-the-ground actions. It has been gratifying to see lots of people mentioning the importance of social science analysis of decision-making, policy and governance. In the spirit of the conference, I thought I might ask my six-year old son about water and farming. The conversation was enlightening to some of the themes of the conference:
Me: If you were a farmer growing crops with rain, what would you do if the rain stopped?
Son: I would take a bunch of watering cans and fill them up and use them on the plants.
Me: Where would you get the water for the watering cans?
How should we spend our climate dollar: mitigation or adaptation?
Well, the climate change bad news continues to roll in. The Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii has recorded another large rise in CO2 emissions, raising the total to 395ppm. A new peer reviewed analysis suggests that Annex I countries (the developed countries who are party to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change)would have to reduce their emissions levels to 50% below 1990 levels by 2020, to have a medium chance to keep warming at only 2 degrees centigrade.
Great news from Ken Tate and the crew at SFREC today: the stocker cows have arrived and are starting to be placed into various experimental grazing treatments. Now you might ask, "What does this have to do with environmental policy?" The overarching goal of the rangeland management project is to understand how ecosystem services are integrated into rangeland decision-making. This is a key goal of environmental and agricultural policy throughout California and nationally, and is supported by USDA programs like the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and CA policies like the Williamson Act. Like most other agricultural policies, these policies provide ranchers incentives to implement rangeland management practices and grazing strategies that enhance ecosystem services.
I got a call last night from the ABC national office to talk about fracking, and the upcoming GlobalFrackdown planned for September 22, 2012. This media contact comes on the heels of an earlier interview from the Associated Press, where they were asking me about the psychology of perceptions regarding fracking. The ABC reporter was interested in a much wider range of issues, including some thoughts about the environmental effects of fracking. I know a little about some of the physical and natural sciences involved, but I needed to do some homework. What follows are some facts, some uncertainties, some analysis, and some opinions about fracking.
Interesting news today about the Army Corps of Engineers' decision to declare that many of the levees in the Sacramento region fail to meet maintenance standards. As a result, the Army Corp may decertify the levees as meeting the 100-year flood protection standards, forcing many homeowners in the area to purchase expensive flood insurance ($1200 per year!) and limiting federal funding for rebuilding in the wake of a flood. Not only does this case have important implications for Sacramento, which has one of the highest flood risks in the country, but it also illustrates a number of recurring issues in the bureaucratic politics of risk with respect to flood management.
Jay Famiglietti of UC Irvine just posted a blog at National Geographic's Water Currents, calling for greater investment in hydrological science in order to better understand current and future water supplies and demand. Much of Jay's recommendations focuses on better data availability and computer models for hydrological processes. He also acknowledges a need for technology transfer to decision-makers and communication to the general public. I absolutey agree with all of these points. But it is not enough to solve the water problems in the US or globally.