Work from Peter Howe Featured in UN Report

By Lael Gilbert | March 1, 2022
climate change 2021 the physical science basis

“Think globally, act locally” is a mantra many people use when countering global climate change. In the case of Peter Howe (ENVS), there’s a lot of overlap between his local efforts and his global impact. Howe’s research was cited this week in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. IPCC is the United Nations group for assessing the science related to climate change, and the report offers the current state of scientific, technical and socio-economic knowledge on climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for reducing the rate at which climate change is taking place.

The report cites two papers on which Howe was lead author; the first examined public perceptions of the health risks of extreme heat in the U.S., and the second evaluated variations in opinions on climate change by geographic regions. A map exploring regional distribution of public acceptance of the reality of climate change uses data adapted from another paper Howe co-authored.

“This report emphasizes that climate change is harming people around the world—including here in North America—faster than we can adapt. We’ve found in our research that majorities of people in the U.S. acknowledge the risks of climate change and support actions to address it, but, as this latest report shows, governments are not yet doing enough to protect people from the impacts of a changing climate,” Howe said.

This years’ IPCC report focuses on impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability related to climate change. It works to link observed and projected climate change impacts with ecosystems, healthy, economic activity, food, water, and cities. 

Howe, an Associate Professor of Geography in the Department of Environment and Society, is a human-environment geographer and environmental social scientist whose research focuses on public perceptions of climate change and environmental risks, using social surveys, geospatial analysis, statistical modeling, and geovisualization.

Howe, P. D., J. R. Marlon, X. Wang and A. Leiserowitz, 2019: Public perceptions of the health risks of extreme heat across US states, counties, and neighborhoods. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 116(14), 6743-6743, doi:10.1073/pnas.1813145116.

Howe, P. D., M. Mildenberger, J. R. Marlon and A. Leiserowitz, 2015: Geographic variation in opinions on climate change at state and local scales in the USA. Nat. Clim. Chang., 5(6), 596.