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Why Climate Change Matters for Myanmar’s Development, and What We Are Doing About It

September 22, 2019.

Op-ed by:  U Ohn Win, Union Minister, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation, and Mr. Peter Batchelor, UNDP Myanmar Resident Representative

Mangrove forest in Tanintharyi region Photo Credit: Singay Dorji

Myanmar faces many development challenges, but climate change presents the greatest challenge of all. And while the impacts of climate change are felt in many ways, it is the threat to the country’s future development that makes it so significant.

Myanmar’s geographic location and incredible physical diversity means climate change takes many forms – in the dry zone, temperatures are increasing and droughts becoming more prevalent, while the coastal zone remains at constant risk from intensifying cyclones. And extreme flooding in the current wet season has already seen over 190,000 people seek emergency shelter, with the damage to homes, schools and farms compounding the impact of last year’s floods, and those from the year before.

climate change in myanmar essay

The possibility of more intense and more frequent climatic events is already impacting Myanmar. The country is already one of the most vulnerable in the world to such extreme weather events. With the memories of 2008’s catastrophic Cyclone Nargis still vivid, the development gains that have been made in recent times remain highly susceptible to such risks. Even without a single Nargis-scale event, the loss and damage caused by floods, landslides and droughts in recent years runs into the billions of US dollars, not to mention the deaths and turmoil for people’s lives. The need to prepare for, respond to, and recover from, these natural disasters costs time and resources that could otherwise be spent on more pressing development priorities.

There is no question that Myanmar must work with the international community to slow down and reverse global warming, while also building its resilience by adapting to the reality of a changing climate.

The Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar recognizes that a clean environment, with healthy and functioning ecosystems, is the foundation upon which the country’s social, cultural and economic development must be sustained. It has therefore committed to a national development framework that incorporates the notion of environmental sustainability for future generations by systematically embedding environmental and climate considerations into all future policies and projects. The Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan (2018-2030) has committed Myanmar to a climate-sensitive development pathway and is complemented by the new National Environmental Policy and Myanmar Climate Change Policy, which were both recently launched by the President. Both policies have benefitted from technical support from international development partners like UNDP and extensive public consultations across Myanmar.

Together, these new policies set a vision for Myanmar as a climate-resilient, low-carbon society that is sustainable, prosperous and inclusive, for the well-being of present and future generations. They are also the basis for Myanmar’s implementation of the Paris Agreement to help keep global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Myanmar’s ambitious approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions includes reversing the decline of the country’s forests. For example, the Government has committed 500 million US dollars over 10 years for the Myanmar Rehabilitation and Reforestation Programme. Nature-based solutions, such as protecting coastal mangrove forests, can help mitigate climate change by storing huge amounts of carbon dioxide while also building natural barriers to reduce the impact of cyclones and storm surges on coastal communities.

The energy sector contributes two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions in the Asia-Pacific region. Therefore, energy development in Myanmar must be climate smart and cannot ignore the sector’s changing economic outlook. The Government is committed to increasing the use of renewable energy while helping provide electricity to the millions of people who still lack reliable access. New forms of renewable energy – including solar and biomass – will contribute 9% of the country’s energy mix by 2030. The distribution of fuel-efficient cookstoves is being rapidly expanded to 5 million households – this will improve people’s health, while also helping avoid deforestation from people gathering firewood.

Myanmar’s private sector has a vital role to play in responding to climate change, but this also presents great opportunities as the economy expands. Disruptive green technology and innovation will help us accelerate towards a low carbon economy. The government will continue promoting green businesses and aligning incentives for the private sector to introduce low carbon technologies.

To empower younger generations with the knowledge, skills and attitudes to prosper in 21 st century Myanmar, climate change must inform the strengthening of the education system – in the curriculum, as well as by developing climate-resilient schools.

Such approaches also show that what is good for the climate is also good for our country’s development and the lives of our people.

Myanmar is ready to be part of the climate change solution at this month’s United Nations Climate Action Summit, to be held in New York on 23 September, 2019. The Government is continuously intensifying its efforts, but does need international support from partners like UNDP. Technological know-how is needed to support actions on the ground, such as in the form of affordable renewable energy technologies. Finance is needed to support investments in human resources and innovative solutions. And training and technical assistance is needed to strengthen the capacities of all players – governments, communities and the private sector.

The Climate Action Summit in New York will be a critical forum for global leaders to come together and present strong new actions to reverse climate change. It is also an opportunity to recognize the valuable efforts of developing countries like Myanmar, and to redouble support for countries pursuing sustainable, low-carbon development pathways.

The world is now in a desperate race against climate change. Strong and urgent action, both internationally and locally, is critical to protecting Myanmar’s current and future development. We must all act together if we are to win this race and ensure a sustainable future for the world and for Myanmar and its people.

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Myanmar’s Environment and Climate Change Challenges

Myanmar is rich in natural resources and a global biodiversity hotspot. Myanmar is also one of the countries worst affected by climate change and one of the least equipped to improve its resilience without external support. How to manage natural resources has always been at the heart of Myanmar’s history and learning how to manage economic development sustainably became a central question of Myanmar’s democratic transition.

Since the February coup, the people of Myanmar have been mobilizing against the military through protest and an armed resistance led by ‘People’s Defence Forces’ and ethnic resistance organizations. These groups of actors and their associated federal-level interim governance institutions are developing a political framework to negotiate both an interim constitution and a permanent constitution for the future Federal Democratic Union of Myanmar.

This Policy Paper provides an overview of Myanmar’s environment- and climate-related governance challenges. It also identifies key considerations on how a future constitutional framework could guarantee environmental protection, protect biodiversity, promote access to justice and address climate change, informed by international good practices and comparative case studies.

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Introduction and purpose

1. The links between climate change and democracy

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4. Key considerations for interim governance structures and transitional constitutional process

5. Conclusion and recommendations

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Myanmar covers an area of 676,578 square kilometers and has a population of nearly 54 million people (CIA, 2011). Ranked 135 of 169 on the Human Development Index (UNDP, 2010), Myanmar is the lowest ranked country in East and Southeast Asia and the only one classified as having a “low” level of human development. Much of its struggling economy is based on fossil fuel industries (CIA, 2011) that contribute to environmental degradation. The climate of Myanmar is roughly divided into three seasons: summer, rainy season and cold season. Summer is from March to mid-May; the rain falls from mid-May to the end of October; and the cold season starts in November and ends at the end of February. Generally, Myanmar enjoys a tropical monsoon climate. However, climatic conditions differ widely from place to place due to widely differing topographical situations. For instance, Central Myanmar has an annual rainfall of less than 1016 mm while the Rakhine coast gets about 5080 mm. Major environmental issues include industrial pollution of air, soil, water, inadequate sanitation and deforestation.

Projects Completed

climate change in myanmar essay

Competing over climate: Myanmar’s valuable and climate-vulnerable geography

Subscribe to planet policy, bruce jones bruce jones senior fellow - foreign policy , center for east asia policy studies , strobe talbott center for security, strategy, and technology @brucebrookings.

October 18, 2021

Bruce Jones’ new book “ To Rule the Waves: How Control of the World’s Oceans Shapes the Fate of the Superpowers ” (Scribner) — praised by Nature magazine as one of its top five science books on the week of its publication — charts the myriad ways in which competition on and below the oceans is reshaping the dynamics of globalization, geopolitics, and global energy flows. Jones also highlights the essential role that the oceans play in climate change, and the manner in which those changes are already playing out in real time. He highlights the varying impacts of a changing climate in different geographies, and challenges the conventional wisdom that climate change will necessarily drive cooperation — rather, near-term adaption is already fueling additional competition between the world’s major powers. The following is a modified excerpt from the section of the book entitled “The Power of the Seas.”

Thant Myint-U, the noted historian of modern Burma and grandson of former United Nations Secretary General U Thant, has documented the myriad ways in which China and India compete for resources and influence in what he’s termed “ the new crossroads of Asia .” The features that make Myanmar attractive to both these two Asian giants are two: large estimated reserves of energy, both onshore and off; and the country’s long Andaman Sea peninsula. From China’s position, access overland to Myanmar’s coast would give them a new opening to the Indian Ocean, one that bypasses the Near Seas and the Malacca Strait — and the U.S. fleet. But should China secure such a route, it would put India’s navy on the front line of dealing with the People’s Liberation Army Navy. The Nicobar Islands are India’s farthest outpost and the place that the Indian navy first encounters their Chinese counterparts as they sail out through the Malacca Straits. But both nations face a challenge in developing Myanmar’s geography for strategic purposes — because both Myanmar and the Nicobar Islands face potential devastation from the changing climate. Of all the places in the world most likely to be profoundly harmed from rising sea levels and increased frequency of storms, the Bay of Bengal and the Nicobar Islands are the most likely to face sustained, wrenching change.

One such storm struck on May 1, 2008, when what was officially known as an “Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm Nargis” blew across the Bay of Bengal, swamping several of the Nicobar Islands, and gathering speed. It hit the western shore of Myanmar on May 2. The U.S. Navy/Air Force Joint Typhoon Warning Center estimated its maximum wind speeds at 130 miles per hour. Hitting the low-lying delta of the Irrawaddy River, it pushed a storm surge an unimaginable 25 miles inland. By morning, 138,000 people had been killed.

It was not the first time the Bay of Bengal had been wrecked by a cyclone. Nargis was not even the deadliest cyclone to visit the bay in recent times; in 1970, the Bhola cyclone swept through the Bay of Bengal, made landfall in eastern Bangladesh, and killed an estimated five hundred thousand souls. Still, the scale of devastation caused by Nargis was immense, and changed the course of Burma’s history. In the wake of the devastation, the regime had no choice but to open the country to the hundreds of NGOs and dozens of U.N. agencies clamoring to help. It opened the floodgates of Western money and influence. Among other effects, it caused Thant to focus his attention, and that of his NGO, on a different kind of vulnerability that Myanmar faced; not just the new “imperial” competition from its giant neighbors, but from climate change.

Sea-level rise and storm surges are bad enough; but with advanced warnings, planning, and adaptive measures, the effects on human life and economic infrastructure can be mitigated. But Thant saw Myanmar experiencing a different phenomenon as well, a change in the patterns of the monsoon rains and alluvial flooding, one of the effects that arises from a complex, but by now well-mapped, interplay between melting sea ice in the world’s poles and changing temperatures and salinity of waters worldwide.

Throughout Myanmar’s recorded history, monsoon flooding predictably hits what’s known as the “dry zone” during the months of June through September. Moisture blown in from the Andaman Sea and the adjacent Arabian Sea accumulates in the highlands of the Himalayas and Myanmar’s northern mountain ranges. Then the winds change course and pull that moisture down through Southeast Asia’s great floodplains, the Ganges and the Irrawaddy, in normal years flooding as much as 40% of Myanmar’s landmass. This creates the necessary conditions for growing rice — the primary source of caloric intake for 2.7 billion people in Asia, supplying as much as 58% of the energy intake of several of the region’s populations. But the patterns of rain appeared to be shifting.

Myanmar was feeling the effects of a series of interlocking oceanic phenomena unraveled by a remarkable piece of oceanographic detective work undertaken by researchers at the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in East Boothbay Harbor, Maine, and at the Naval Postgraduate School, in Monterey, California. At the Bigelow lab, a scholar named Joaquim Gos had funding from NASA to use satellite observations of chlorophyll and sea-surface temperature readings to develop a map of nitrate concentrations in the oceans — part of NASA’s contribution to global circulation modeling. His mapping found unusually large blooms of phytoplankton in the Arabian Sea (on the other side of the Indian subcontinent from the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea). That led to the discovery that the Arabian Sea had been cooling, affected by changes in the upwelling of cold bottom waters. Careful forensics showed that increased upwelling was related to wind patterns over the ocean, themselves a function of changing patterns of the Asian summer monsoon. Further research showed a strong link between snow patterns in the highlands of Europe and Asia and monsoon patterns—a link that had been theorized as early as the late 1880s, but never demonstrated.

Using advanced climate modeling, the team found a clear set of patterns: a decline in snow coverage in Europe and Asia from the early 1990s onward meant warmer air over these continents, which was affecting glacier formation in the Himalayas, which was affecting rain concentration in the Asian highlands, which was affecting the timing and strength of the monsoon rains. And leading to increased flooding.

In a normal year, up to 40% of the Ganges and Irrawaddy river deltas flood from the monsoon rains, and over centuries, the local populations have built up their farming and infrastructure around that predictable floodplain. But in flood years, up to 70% of the deltas can flood, with devastating effects. And in the last decade, the timing of the monsoons has been increasingly unpredictable, and floods increasingly common.

For the rice farmers who depend on the predictability of the monsoons to prepare their rice fields, these fluctuations were debilitating. And so many of them left the dry zones and decamped to other parts of Myanmar — becoming, in effect, internal climate refugees. They ended up at the edges of parts of Myanmar historically dominated by different ethnicities, and recently torn by more than 50 years of civil war. Myanmar’s fragile young democracy was already coping with increased frequency of cyclone and storm-surge damage, dramatic global fluctuations in energy prices, and intensifying competition between China, India, and the West. Adding in a loss of productivity in the rice crop — the production and trade of which accounts for nearly half of Myanmar’s GDP — as well as large numbers of internal climate refugees, and Thant was becoming worried that Myanmar’s political system might not be able to cope. “I’m worried that Burma could become the world’s first climate-induced failed state.”

The effects would not be limited to Myanmar’s population of 56 million. On the western side of Myanmar, China has begun to invest billions of dollars in Rakhine State, to build both an oil pipeline and a deepwater port at Kyaukphyu, at the northern tip of Ramree Island. Kyaukphyu has a natural harbor and has long been an important outpost for the trade in rice between Myanmar and India. If fully operationalized, the port would realize China’s bid for an equivalent to the Suez Canal — a passageway that would connect Chinese rail and trade directly to the Indian Ocean, bypassing the Malacca Straits. But instability on land and rising sea levels threaten the viability of the project.

All of this is impacted by oceanic dynamics playing out as far away as the North Atlantic and the Antarctic. In the largest sense, the oceans are one, as the Royal Navy used to say, and so is climate change. It’s for this reason that climate change is usually viewed as a “we’re all in one boat” problem that will logically drive cooperation between governments around the world. But what’s equally true is that every sea, and every shore, is distinct; and climate change is playing out very differently in different waters of the world. That reality of variation is not driving cooperation, but rather adding to the competition over command of the seas.

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Explore historical and projected climate data, climate data by sector, impacts, key vulnerabilities and what adaptation measures are being taken. Explore the overview for a general context of how climate change is affecting Myanmar.

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This page presents Myanmar's climate context for the current climatology, 1991-2020, derived from observed, historical data. Information should be used to build a strong understanding of current climate conditions in order to appreciate future climate scenarios and projected change. You can visualize data for the current climatology through spatial variation, the seasonal cycle, or as a time series. Analysis is available for both annual and seasonal data. Data presentation defaults to national-scale aggregation, however sub-national data aggregations can be accessed by clicking within a country, on a sub-national unit.  Other historical climatologies can be selected from the Time Period dropdown list. 

Observed, historical data is produced by the  Climatic Research Unit (CRU)  of University of East Anglia.  Data  is presented at a 0.5º x 0.5º (50km x 50km) resolution.

Myanmar has a tropical to sub-tropical monsoon climate with three seasons: i) hot, dry inter-monsoonal (mid-February to mid-May); ii) rainy southwest monsoon (mid-May to late October); and iii) cool relatively dry northeast monsoon (late October to mid-February). Climate varies across Myanmar’s different ecological zones, controlled mainly by distance from the coast and altitude. The country’s southern regions in and around the Ayeyarwady Delta and along the Rakhine, Mon, and Tanintharyi coast lines experience a climate typical of Southeast Asia. Temperatures are high and relatively the same all year round and precipitation can be very high ranging between 2,500-5,500 mm per year. These regions experience the highest exposure to tropical cyclones. Myanmar’s central zone is drier (typically 500-1,000 mm of rain per year) and experiences greater temperature variation, but temperatures can still exceed 40°C. Myanmar’s more mountainous regions in the north and east are generally cooler and receive moderate rainfall in the range of 1,000-2,000 mm per year.

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Adaptation and resilience measures to climate change: lessons from myanmar’s rice and fish farmers.

Aung Tun Oo (ELP 2022) | Technical Advisor / Researcher, Radanar Ayar Rural Development Association, Myanmar

Executive Summary

  • Flooding and saltwater intrusion are increasingly threatening rice and fish-farming communities in the coastline areas of Myanmar 
  • Women-headed households are the most vulnerable to external shock
  • Farm households adopt climate change adaptation measures such as indigenous adaptation strategies, change of improved varieties, etc. to lessen the negative effects of flooding and saltwater intrusion
  • Community-based adaptation planning is found as an additional resilience option

Introduction

Rising sea levels have affected livelihoods in Myanmar's coastal regions, particularly in the rice- and fish-farming sectors. Agriculture and aquaculture farming systems are linked due to the complex ways in which water resources are used. However, communities engaged in these sectors don't have any specific plans in place to deal with climate-related natural disasters such as flooding and saltwater incursion. It is anticipated that climate-related natural hazards are more likely to occur in the future and it will certainly affect the low-lying coastline areas of Myanmar. The projected catastrophic weather and flooding will create a significant burden on communities to secure food, as well as on development organizations to aid affected people. To address these issues, the SUMERNET research project titled “ Evaluation of adaptive capacity and resilience of agriculture and aquaculture dependent communities in coastline areas of Myanmar and Vietnam ” was conducted in both Myanmar and Vietnam. 

In Myanmar, the main objective of this study was to understand the climate change vulnerability of farm households and adaptation or resilience measures to cope with the negative impacts of climate-related natural hazards.  The field survey undertaken by the project investigated how the difference in the vulnerability of women- and men-headed households. And, the adaptation strategies of agriculture and aquaculture-dependent communities were also examined. 

climate change in myanmar essay

Women farmers dry fish in an open field in Kyauk Tan Township, Yangon, Myanmar.

Climate change vulnerability and adaptation assessment 

The climate change vulnerability assessment found that socioeconomic conditions of agriculture- and aquaculture-dependent communities in coastal regions of Myanmar are at risk due to the impacts of sea level rise, flooding, and saltwater intrusion, as well as other climate extremes like cyclones.

Female-headed farm households are more vulnerable to external shocks because their capacity to adapt is generally lower than that of those of male-headed farm households. Priority should be given to female-headed households to strengthen their capacities to adapt to climate-related natural hazards. 

Farm households in coastal Myanmar are employing climate change adaptation measures/strategies to cope with the adverse effects of climate change, regardless of gender aspects. These adaptation measures are a mixture of indigenous adaptation strategies such as traditional weather forecasting, selection of traditional crop varieties, change/adjusting of planting dates, etc, and recommended adaptation strategies such as improved seed selection, soil and water management, selection of improved crop varieties, etc. A mix of locally acceptable/suitable climate change adaptation measures is essential to cope with the negative impacts of climate change. 

At the farm level, several barriers limit the choice of climate change adaptation measures. For example, in recent years, Covid-19 and high input costs are the main barriers to agricultural investment decisions and the adoption of adaptation strategies.  Lower market prices and lack of access to credit are also barriers for farm households to invest in climate change adaptation measures. 

In both rice- and fish-farming systems, the increased occurrence of pests and diseases along with temperature rise are often reported as a major threat to crop and fish production.

Embankment building, formal and informal training, and access to credit are major factors influencing farmers’ choice of climate change adaptation strategies. 

Moreover, both rice- and fish-farming communities have their resilience plans. These community-based climate change resilience plans also play an important role in adaptation management. Therefore, it is important to empower the locally applied adaptation strategies and community-based resilience plans by empowering the capacities and capabilities to adapt or cope with the negative impacts of flooding and saltwater intrusion in the coastline areas of Myanmar. 

Policy Implications and Recommendation

Promote and empower community-based organizations: Community-Based Organizations (CBOs), Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), and local NGOs are closely working with those affected communities. Strengthening the adaptive capacity of community members, and stakeholders engaged in the regional climate change resilience planning and implementation is a key to climate resilience in coastal areas of Myanmar.

Strengthen Traditional Knowledge and adaptation measure : Recognize the importance of traditional knowledge in adapting to climate change and promote the sharing of this adaptation knowledge and strategies through Farmer Field School (FFS) and/or peer-to-peer farmer’s learning platform. 

climate change in myanmar essay

A young farmer carries Nipa Palm leaves by boat in Pyapon Township, Ayeyarwaddy Region, Myanmar .

Increase Access to Resources: Provide farmers with access to credit, land, and water resources to invest in new technologies and adaptation practices such as flood-resistant crops, improved drainage, embankment building, and other flood management practices. 

Access to weather and market information: Lack of access to weather/climate and market information is found as the main constraint in adaptation management and thus the local or community-based organizations are encouraged to share that information with farmers/communities on time.  

Community-Based Adaptation/Resilience Plans: Strengthen community-based adaptation by promoting the participation of farmers in decision-making processes. This can be achieved through the establishment of farmer-led organizations and the integration of traditional knowledge into formal adaptation planning processes.

Myanmar Climate Change Master Plan (2018 – 2030)

Myanmar Climate Change Master Plan (2018 – 2030)

The Myanmar Climate Change Master Plan (2018-2030) clearly defines a series of high-priority activities, their respective strategic indicators, and the responsibilities of involved stakeholders across six specific sectors prioritized in Myanmar Climate Change Strategy defined as: “climate-smart agriculture, fisheries and livestock for food security, sustainable management of natural resources for healthy ecosystems, resilient and low-carbon energy, transport and industrial systems for sustainable growth, building resilient, inclusive and sustainable cities and towns in Myanmar, managing climate risks for people’s health and well-being, and building a resilient Myanmar society through education, science and technology”.

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Climate Change in Myanmar and the politics of the New Yangon City project

This project involves a critical examination of the political economic dimensions of the New Yangon City development in Myanmar.

Myanmar is a country at significant risk from the impacts of changing climate conditions caused by increasing concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere. The majority of the population is rural, pursuing agricultural production in areas already experiencing the effects of climate change impacts. Both drought and flooding are becoming more pronounced, with expectations of increasingly frequent cyclonic events such as Nargis, that in 2008 led to over 138,000 deaths and decimated national rice production. These impacts are anticipated to increase markedly in coming years according to current projection models. Much of Myanmar’s rice is grown in the low-lying Irrawaddy Delta, a region where the poorest also occupy the most marginal and flood prone land. Recent research has identified poverty as the root cause of vulnerability in the Irrawaddy Delta, but climate change acts as the trigger event to spawn migration of individuals in poverty.

Migration of the poorest to urban areas, particularly Yangon, has been increasing substantially in the past years despite many not lacking the state issued permits to do so. After cyclone Nargis a huge influx of poor migrants escaping the devastation moved to Yangon, straining city's services and infrastructure. Through domestic migration the population has grown from an estimated 3.5 million in 2000 to well over 6 million and is expected to grow by another 39% by 2031. To meet this, the government has embarked on initial financing for a large $1.6 billion development called New Yangon City on the south bank of the Yangon River, which, at 10 metres lower, has remained farmland because of flooding risks.

Aims and Activities

This project aims to explore the deployment of climate change as knowledge discourse in modes of governance through nation-building projects, rural-urban migration and processes of transformation under appropriation. This exploration will take place in Myanmar.

Using the New Yangon City Development for context, the research will:

  • Explore how the social impacts of climate change in climate vulnerable areas are driving urban transformation and environmental change
  • Detail urban transformation as a site of political and economic accumulation through climate change mitigation and adaptation policy
  • Form relationships with key stakeholder including civil society partners (PK Forum), NGOs (Renewable Energy Association of Myanmar (REAM), Myanmar Environment Institute, WLE Greater Mekong) and inter/national development institutions (DFAT and JICA)

Project Team

  • Dr Vanessa Lamb , Lecturer, School of Geography
  • Dr Alexander Cullen, Lecturer, School of Geography
  • Dr Tamas Wells , Research Fellow, School of Social and Political Sciences
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Many of us want an overview of how our country is doing in reducing CO 2 and other greenhouse gas emissions. This page provides the data for your chosen country across all of the key metrics on this topic.

In the selection box above you can also add or remove additional countries and they will appear on all of the charts on this page. This allows you to compare specific countries you might be interested in, and measure progress against others.

The data will continue to update – often on an annual basis – with the latest global and country emissions estimates.

CO 2 emissions

  • Per capita: how much CO 2 does the average person emit?
  • What are the country’s annual CO 2 emissions?
  • Year-on-year change: what is the percentage change in CO 2 emissions?
  • Cumulative: how much CO 2 has it produced to date ?
  • Consumption-based accounting : how do emissions compare when we adjust for trade?
  • What share of global CO 2 emissions are emitted by the country?
  • What share of global cumulative CO 2 has the country emitted?

Myanmar: Per capita: how much CO 2 does the average person emit?

Related chart:.

How do per capita CO 2 emissions compare when we adjust for trade?

Annual emissions figures are often used to compare countries’ contribution to climate change. But this metric often reflects differences in population size across the world.

To understand the ‘footprint’ of the average person in a given country, this chart shows per capita emissions.

These figures reflect ‘production-based’ emissions, so do not correct for traded goods.

Two tips on how you can interact with this chart

  • Add any other country to this chart: click on the Edit countries and regions button to compare with any other country.
  • View this data on a world map: switch to a global map of confirmed deaths using the ‘MAP’ tab at the bottom of the chart.

Myanmar: What are the country’s annual CO 2 emissions?

This interactive chart shows how much carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) is produced in a given year.

A few points to keep in mind when considering this data:

  • These figures are based on ‘production’ or ‘territorial’ emissions (i.e. emissions from the burning of fossil fuels, or cement production within a country’s borders). It does not consider the emissions of traded goods (consumption-based emissions). You find consumption-based emissions later in this country profile.
  • These figures look specifically at CO 2 emissions – not total greenhouse gas emissions. You find total, and other greenhouse gas emissions, later in this country profile.
  • Annual emissions can be largely influenced by population size – we present the per capita figures above.

Myanmar: Year-on-year change: what is the percentage change in CO 2 emissions?

What is the absolute change in CO 2 emissions each year?

This interactive chart shows the year-on-year growth in annual CO 2 emissions.

  • A positive figure indicates that the emissions in a given year were higher than the previous year.
  • A negative figure indicates that emissions were lower than the previous year.

Year-to-year changes in emissions can vary a lot – this can create a particularly ‘noisy’ time series.

Myanmar: Cumulative: how much CO 2 has it produced to date ?

When we only look at emissions produced today, we fail to recognise historical responsibility for emissions in recent decades or centuries.

This interactive chart shows cumulative CO 2 emissions – the sum of emissions produced since 1751 to the given year. This allows us to understand how much of the total CO 2 emissions to date has been emitted by a given country.

Myanmar: Consumption-based accounting : how do emissions compare when we adjust for trade?

Related charts:.

What share of domestic emissions are embedded in traded goods?

How do production- and trade-adjusted emissions compare?

When countries set targets, measure or compare CO 2 emissions, they tend to focus on production-based emissions – CO 2 emitted within a country’s own borders. However, this fails to capture emissions from traded goods – the CO 2 emitted in the production of goods elsewhere, which are later imported (or the opposite: emissions from goods that are exported).

We can estimate consumption-based CO 2 emissions by correcting for trade. These emissions are shown in the interactive chart. Note that the resolution of data needed to calculate this is not available for all countries.

→ We provide more detail on consumption-based emissions in our article ‘ How do CO2 emissions compare when we adjust for trade? ‘

Myanmar: What share of global CO 2 emissions are emitted by the country?

Looking at a country’s annual emissions is useful, but it can be hard to put these numbers in context of the global total. Is 10 million tonnes of CO 2 large or small; what about 100 million; or 1 billion tonnes?

This interactive chart shows annual emissions as a percentage of the global total in a given year.

Myanmar: What share of global cumulative CO 2 has the country emitted?

Just as with annual emissions, simply presenting cumulative CO 2 figures can be hard to contextualize. Has a given country’s contribution to the global total been large or small?

This chart shows the country’s cumulative emissions as a share of global cumulative emissions.

Coal, oil, gas, cement: how much does each contribute to CO 2 emissions?

  • What share of CO 2 emissions are produced from different fuels?
  • How are CO 2 emissions from different fuels changing?

Myanmar: What share of CO 2 emissions are produced from different fuels?

CO 2 emissions are dominated by the burning of fossil fuels for energy production, and industrial production of materials such as cement.

What is the contribution of each fuel source to the country’s CO 2 emissions?

This interactive chart shows the breakdown of annual CO 2 emissions by source: either coal, oil, gas, cement production or gas flaring. This breakdown is strongly influenced by the energy mix of a given country, and changes as a country shifts to or from a given energy source.

How you can interact with this chart

  • In these charts it is always possible to switch to any other country in the world by choosing Change Country in the bottom left corner.
  • By unticking the ‘Relative’ box, you can switch to see the breakdown of emissions in absolute terms.

Myanmar: How are CO 2 emissions from different fuels changing?

The chart above allows us to see the breakdown of CO 2 emissions by fuel type. But it makes it more difficult to see the absolute change in particular fuel sources over time.

This interactive chart shows the same data – CO 2 emissions from coal, oil, gas, cement and flaring – but as individual lines to see clearly how each is changing over time.

Other greenhouse gas emissions

  • Total greenhouse gas emissions: how much does the average person emit? Where do emissions come from?
  • Methane: how much does the average person emit? Where do emissions come from?
  • Nitrous oxide: how much does the average person emit? Where do emissions come from?

In discussions on climate change, we tend to focus on carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) – the most dominant greenhouse gas produced by the burning of fossil fuels, industrial production, and land use change.

But CO 2  is not the only greenhouse gas that is driving global climate change. There are a number of others – methane, nitrous oxide, and trace gases such as the group of ‘F-gases’ – which have contributed a significant amount of warming to date.

Here we look at total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across the world, plus breakdowns of other major gases including methane and nitrous oxide.

Myanmar: Total greenhouse gas emissions: how much does the average person emit? Where do emissions come from?

The charts above focused on carbon dioxide (CO 2 ). But CO 2 is not the only greenhouse gas. Others, including methane and nitrous oxide, have also had a significant impact on global warming to date.

The first interactive chart shows per capita greenhouse gas emissions. This is measured as the sum of all greenhouse gases, and given by a metric called ‘carbon dioxide equivalents’.

‘Carbon dioxide equivalents’ try to correct for the fact that one unit (e.g. a tonne) of a given gas doesn’t have the same same impact on warming as another. We therefore multiply the emissions of each gas by its ‘global warming potential’ (GWP) value: this measures the amount of warming one tonne of that gas would create relative to one tonne of CO 2 .

The other interactive chart shows where these emissions come from: the contribution of each sector.

→ We provide more detail on total greenhouse gas emissions in our sub-page ‘ Greenhouse gas emissions ‘.

How much greenhouse gases do countries emit in total when we include land use change and forestry ?

Total ghg emissions excluding lufc

How much greenhouse gases do countries emit when we exclude land use change and forestry ?

Where do its CO 2 emissions come from? See the breakdown by sector.

Myanmar: Methane: how much does the average person emit? Where do emissions come from?

Methane (CH 4 ) is a strong greenhouse gas, mainly produced through agricultural activities (e.g. livestock and rice production), in addition to leakages from oil and gas production (called ‘fugitive emissions’).

This first interactive chart here shows per capita emissions of methane each year. This is measured in ‘carbon dioxide equivalents’.

→ We look at the breakdown of methane sources in our sub-page ‘ Emissions by sector ‘.

How much methane does each country contribute each year?

Myanmar: Nitrous oxide: how much does the average person emit? Where do emissions come from?

Nitrous oxide (N 2 O) is a strong greenhouse gas, that is mainly produced from agricultural activities (e.g. from the use of synthetic and organic fertilizers to grow crops).

This first interactive chart here shows per capita emissions of nitrous oxide each year. This is measured in ‘carbon dioxide equivalents’.

→ We look at the breakdown of nitrous oxide sources in our sub-page ‘ Emissions by sector ‘.

How much nitrous oxide does each country contribute in total each year?

Carbon and energy efficiency

  • Energy intensity: how much energy does it use per unit of GDP?
  • Carbon intensity: how much carbon does it emit per unit of energy?
  • Has economic growth decoupled from CO 2 emissions?

Myanmar: Energy intensity: how much energy does it use per unit of GDP?

Since energy is such a large contributor to CO 2 , reducing energy consumption can inevitably help to reduce emissions. However, some energy consumption is essential to human wellbeing and rising living standards.

Energy intensity can therefore be a useful metric to monitor. Energy intensity measures the amount of energy consumed per unit of gross domestic product. It effectively measures how efficiently a country uses energy to produce a given amount of economic output. A lower energy intensity means it needs less energy per unit of GDP.

This interactive chart shows energy intensity.

  • View this data on a world map: switch to a global map of energy intensity using the ‘MAP’ tab at the bottom of the chart.

Myanmar: Carbon intensity: how much carbon does it emit per unit of energy?

Energy intensity – shown in the chart above – is one important metric to monitor whether countries are making progress in reducing emissions. The other key part of this equation is carbon intensity: the amount of CO 2 emitted per unit of energy.

We can reduce emissions by (1) using less energy; and/or (2) using lower-carbon energy.

This metric monitors the second option. As we transition our energy mix towards lower-carbon sources (such as renewables or nuclear energy), the amount of carbon we emit per unit of energy should fall.

This chart shows carbon intensity – measured in kilograms of CO 2 emitted per kilogram of oil equivalent consumed.

Myanmar: Has economic growth decoupled from CO 2 emissions?

To reduce emissions and achieve increasing prosperity at the same time, we have to decouple economic growth from CO 2 emissions. Several countries have achieved this in recent years.

The chart here shows whether this country has achieved this by showing the change in GDP per capita, and annual per capita CO 2 emissions over time.

We show both production-based and consumption-based emissions (for countries where this data is available). This allows us to see whether the import of production from other countries – or the export to other countries – has affected this change in emissions.

The next chart shows the same metric, but without adjusting for population. It shows the change in total annual CO 2 emissions and GDP.

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Climate Change, Population Growth, and Population Pressure

We develop a novel method for assessing the effect of constraints imposed by spatially-fixed natural resources on aggregate economic output. We apply it to estimate and compare the projected effects of climate change and population growth over the course of the 21st century, by country and globally. We find that standard population growth projections imply larger reductions in income than even the most extreme widely-adopted climate change scenario (RCP8.5). Climate and population impacts are correlated across countries: climate change and population growth will have their most damaging effects in similar places. Relative to previous work on macro climate impacts, our approach has the advantages of being disciplined by a simple macro growth model that allows for adaptation and of assessing impacts via a large set of climate moments, not just annual average temperature and precipitation. Further, our estimated effects of climate are by construction independent of country-level factors such as institutions.

We are grateful to Lint Barrage, Greg Casey, Maureen Cropper, Eric Galbraith, and Zeina Hasna for helpful advice; to Lucy Li, Frankie Fan, William Yang, and Raymond Yeo for research assistance; to David Anthoff, Brian Prest, and Lisa Rennels for access to data and code; and to seminar audiences at the Bank of Italy, University of Bologna, Université Catholique de Louvain, University of Chicago, University of Chile, University of Connecticut, ETH Zurich, IIASA, Korea University, Lahore School of Economics, University of Manchester, NBER Summer Institute, NYU Abu Dhabi, Osaka University, Oxford University, RIDGE forum on Sustainable Growth, Schumpeter Seminar (Humboldt University), Sungkyunkwan University, University of Tokyo, and the World Bank for useful feedback. Research was supported by the Population Studies and Training Center at Brown University through the generosity of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (P2C HD041020 and T32 HD007338).}} The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.

In the past three years I have received significant research funding from the World Bank, the International Growth Centre and the U.S. Department of Transportation.

MARC RIS BibTeΧ

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  • Published: 09 February 2024

Globally representative evidence on the actual and perceived support for climate action

  • Peter Andre   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-8213-527X 1 ,
  • Teodora Boneva   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-4227-3686 2 ,
  • Felix Chopra   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-7621-1045 3 &
  • Armin Falk   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-7284-3002 2  

Nature Climate Change ( 2024 ) Cite this article

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  • Climate-change mitigation
  • Psychology and behaviour

Mitigating climate change necessitates global cooperation, yet global data on individuals’ willingness to act remain scarce. In this study, we conducted a representative survey across 125 countries, interviewing nearly 130,000 individuals. Our findings reveal widespread support for climate action. Notably, 69% of the global population expresses a willingness to contribute 1% of their personal income, 86% endorse pro-climate social norms and 89% demand intensified political action. Countries facing heightened vulnerability to climate change show a particularly high willingness to contribute. Despite these encouraging statistics, we document that the world is in a state of pluralistic ignorance, wherein individuals around the globe systematically underestimate the willingness of their fellow citizens to act. This perception gap, combined with individuals showing conditionally cooperative behaviour, poses challenges to further climate action. Therefore, raising awareness about the broad global support for climate action becomes critically important in promoting a unified response to climate change.

The world’s climate is a global common good and protecting it requires the cooperative effort of individuals across the globe. Consequently, the ‘human factor’ is critical and renders the behavioural science perspective on climate change indispensable for effective climate action. Despite its importance, limited knowledge exists regarding the willingness of the global population to cooperate and act against climate change 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 , 8 . To fill this gap, we designed and conducted a globally representative survey in 125 countries, with the aim of examining the potential for successful global climate action. The central question we seek to answer is to what extent are individuals around the globe willing to contribute to the common good, and how do people perceive other people’s willingness to contribute (WTC)?

Drawing on a multidisciplinary literature on the foundations of cooperation, our study focuses on four aspects that have been identified as critical in promoting cooperation in the context of common goods: the individual willingness to make costly contributions, the approval of pro-climate norms, the demand for political action and beliefs about the support of others. We start with exploring the individual willingness to make costly contributions to act against climate change, which is particularly relevant given that cooperation is costly and involves free-rider incentives 9 . Using a behaviourally validated measure, we assess the extent to which individuals around the globe are willing to contribute a share of their income, and which factors predict the observed cross-country variation.

Furthermore, the provision of common goods crucially depends on the existence and enforcement of social norms. These norms prescribe cooperative behaviour 10 , 11 , 12 , 13 , 14 , 15 and affect behaviour either through internalization (shame and guilt 16 ) or the enforcement of norms by fellow citizens (sanctions and approval 17 ). In our survey, we elicit support for pro-climate social norms and examine the extent to which such norms have emerged globally.

It is widely recognized that addressing common-good problems effectively necessitates institutions and concerted political action 18 , 19 , 20 . In democracies, the implementation of effective climate policies relies on popular support, and even in non-democratic societies, leaders remain attentive to prevailing political demands. Therefore, we also elicit the demand for political action as a critical input in the fight against climate change 21 .

Previous research in the behavioural sciences has shown that many individuals can be characterized as conditional cooperators 22 , 23 , 24 , 25 , 26 . This means that individuals are more likely to contribute to the common good when they believe others also contribute. We test this central psychological mechanism of cooperation using our data on actual and perceived WTC. Moreover, we investigate whether beliefs about others’ WTC are well calibrated or whether they are systematically biased. If beliefs are overly pessimistic, this would imply that the world is in a state of pluralistic ignorance 27 , where systematic misperceptions about others’ WTC hinder cooperation and reinforce further pessimism. In such an equilibrium, correcting beliefs holds tremendous potential for fostering cooperation 28 , 29 , 30 , 31 .

The global survey

To obtain globally representative evidence on the willingness to act against climate change, we designed the Global Climate Change Survey. The survey was administered as part of the Gallup World Poll 2021/2022 in a large and diverse set of countries ( N  = 125) using a common sampling and survey methodology ( Methods ). The countries included in this study account for 96% of the world’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, 96% of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP) and 92% of the global population. To ensure national representativeness, each country sample is randomly selected from the resident population aged 15 and above. Interviews were conducted via telephone (common in high-income countries) or face to face (common in low-income countries), with randomly drawn phone numbers or addresses. Most country samples include approximately 1,000 respondents, and the global sample comprises a total of 129,902 individuals.

To assess respondents’ willingness to incur a cost to act against climate change, we elicit their willingness to contribute a fraction of their income to climate action. More specifically, we ask respondents whether they would be ‘willing to contribute 1% of [their] household income every month to fight global warming’ (answered yes or no), and, if not, whether they would be willing to contribute a smaller amount (yes or no). To account for the substantial variation in income levels across countries, the question is framed in relative terms. Respondents’ answers thus reflect how strongly they value climate action relative to alternative uses of their income. The figure of 1% is deliberately chosen as it falls within the range of plausible previously reported estimates of climate change mitigation costs 32 , 33 .

Our WTC measure has been empirically validated and shown to predict incentivized pro-climate donation decisions ( Methods ). In a representative US sample 30 , respondents who state they would be willing to contribute 1% of their monthly income donate 43% more money to a climate charity ( P  < 0.001 for a two-sided t -test, N  = 1,993; Supplementary Fig. 1 ) and are 21–39 percentage points more likely to avoid fossil-fuel-based means of transport (car and plane), restrict their meat consumption, use renewable energy or adapt their shopping behaviour (all P  < 0.001 for two-sided t -tests, N  = 1,996; Supplementary Table 1 ).

To measure respondents’ beliefs about other people’s WTC, we first tell respondents that we are surveying many other individuals in their country about their willingness to contribute 1% of their household income every month to fight global warming. We then ask respondents to estimate how many out of 100 other individuals in their country would be willing to contribute this amount, that is, possible answers range from 0 to 100.

To assess individual approval of pro-climate social norms, we ask respondents to indicate whether they think that people in their country ‘should try to fight global warming’ (answered yes or no). Following recent research on social norms 15 , 34 , the item elicits respondents’ views about what other people should do, that is, what kind of behaviour they consider normatively appropriate (so-called injunctive norms 10 ).

Finally, we measure demand for political action by asking respondents whether they think that their ‘national government should do more to fight global warming’ (answered yes or no). This item assesses the extent to which individuals regard their government’s current efforts as insufficient and sheds light on the potential for increased political action in the future.

The approval of pro-climate norms and the demand for political action are deliberately measured in a general manner to account for the fact that suitable concrete mitigation strategies may differ across countries. Our general measures strongly correlate with the approval of specific pro-climate norms and the demand for concrete policy measures ( Methods ). In a representative US sample, individuals who approve of the general norm to act against climate change are substantially more likely to state that individuals ‘should try to’ avoid fossil-fuel-based means of transport (car and plane), restrict their meat consumption, use renewable energy or adapt their shopping behaviour (correlation coefficients ρ between 0.35 and 0.51, all P  < 0.001 for two-sided t -tests, N  = 1,994; Supplementary Table 2 ). Similarly, the general demand for more political action is strongly correlated with demand for specific climate policies, such as a carbon tax on fossil fuels, regulatory limits on the CO 2 emissions of coal-fired plants, or funding for research on renewable energy ( ρ between 0.49 and 0.59, all P  < 0.001 for two-sided t -tests, N  = 1,996; Supplementary Table 3 ).

To ensure comparability across countries and cultures, professional translators translated the survey into the local languages following best practices in survey translation by using an elaborate multi-step translation procedure. The survey was extensively pre-tested in multiple countries of diverse cultural heritage to ensure that respondents with different cultural, economic and educational backgrounds could comprehend the questions in a comparable way. We deliberately refer to ‘global warming’ rather than ‘climate change’ throughout the survey to prevent confusion with seasonal changes in weather 35 , 36 , and provide all respondents with a brief definition of global warming to ensure a common understanding of the term.

A list of variables, definitions and sources is available in Methods . In all analyses, we use Gallup’s sampling weights, which were calculated by Gallup in multiple stages. A probability weight factor (base weight) was constructed to correct for unequal selection probabilities resulting from the stratified random sampling procedure. At the next step, the base weights were post-stratified to adjust for non-response and to match the weighted sample totals to known population statistics. The standard demographic variables used for post-stratification are age, gender, education and region. When describing the data at the supranational level, we also weight each country sample by its share of the world population.

Widespread global support for climate action

The globally representative data reveal strong support for climate action around the world. First, a large majority of individuals—69%—state they would be willing to contribute 1% of their household income every month to fight global warming (Fig. 1a ). An additional 6% report they would be willing to contribute a smaller fraction of their income, and 26% state they would not be willing to contribute any amount. The proportion of respondents willing to contribute 1% of their income varies considerably across countries (Fig. 1b ), ranging from 30% to 93%. In the vast majority of countries (114 of 125) the proportion is greater than 50%, and in a large number of countries (81 of 125) the proportion is greater than two-thirds.

figure 1

a , c , e , The global average proportions of respondents willing to contribute income ( a ), approving of pro-climate social norms ( c ) and demanding political action ( e ). Population-adjusted weights are used to ensure representativeness at the global level. b , d , f , World maps in which each country is coloured according to its proportion of respondents willing to contribute 1% of income ( b ), approving of pro-climate social norms ( d ) and demanding political action ( f ). Sampling weights are used to account for the stratified sampling procedure. Supplementary Table 4 presents the data. GW, global warming.

Second, we document widespread approval of pro-climate social norms in almost all countries. Overall, 86% of respondents state that people in their country should try to fight global warming (Fig. 1c ). In 119 of 125 countries, the proportion of supporters exceeds two-thirds (Fig. 1d ).

Third, we identify an almost universal global demand for intensified political action. Across the globe, 89% of respondents state that their national government should do more to fight global warming (Fig. 1e ). In more than half the countries in our sample, the demand for more government action exceeds 90% (Fig. 1f ).

Stronger willingness to contribute in vulnerable countries

Although the approval of pro-climate social norms and the demand for intensified political action is substantial in almost all countries (Fig. 1d,f ), there is considerable variation in the proportion of individuals willing to contribute 1% across countries (Fig. 1b ) and world regions (Supplementary Tables 4 and 5) . What explains the cross-country variation in individual WTC? Two patterns stand out.

First, there is a negative relationship between country-level WTC and (log) GDP per capita ( ρ  = −0.47; 95% confidence interval (CI), [−0.60, −0.32]; P  < 0.001 for a two-sided t -test; N  = 125; Fig. 2a ). To illustrate, in the wealthiest quintile of countries, the average proportion of people willing to contribute 1% is 62%, whereas it is 78% in the least wealthy quintile of countries. A country’s GDP per capita reflects its resilience, that is, its economic capacity to cope with climate change. Put differently, in countries that are most resilient, individuals are least willing to contribute 1% of their income to climate action. At the same time, a country’s GDP is strongly related to its current dependence on GHG emissions 37 . For the countries studied here, the correlation coefficient between log GDP and log GHG emissions is 0.87. From a behavioural science perspective, this pattern is consistent with the interpretation that individuals are less willing to contribute if they perceive the adaptation costs as too high, that is, when the required lifestyle changes are perceived as too drastic.

figure 2

a – c , Binned scatter plots of the country-level proportion of individuals willing to contribute 1% of their income and log average GDP (per capita, purchasing power parity (PPP) adjusted) for 2010–2019 ( a ), annual average temperature (°C) for 2010–2019 ( b ) and the vulnerability index used in the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) ( c ) 41 , 42 . The vulnerability index ranges from 0 to 100, with higher values indicating higher vulnerability. Correlation coefficients are calculated from the unbinned country-level data. We use sampling weights to derive the country-level WTC. Number of bins, 20; 6–7 countries per bin; derived from x axis. The red line represents linear regression.

Second, we find a positive relationship between country-level WTC and country-level annual average temperature ( ρ  = 0.35; 95% CI, [0.18, 0.49]; P  < 0.001 for a two-sided t -test, N  = 125; Fig. 2b ). The average proportion of people who are willing to contribute increases from 64% among the coldest quintile of countries to 77% among the warmest quintile of countries. Average annual temperature captures how exposed a country is to global warming risks 38 , 39 . Countries with higher annual temperatures have already experienced greater damage due to global warming, potentially making future threats from climate change more salient to their residents 40 .

Both results replicate in a joint multivariate regression and are robust to the inclusion of continent fixed effects and other economic, political, cultural or geographic factors (Supplementary Tables 6 – 9 ). Focusing on North America, we also find a significantly positive association between WTC and average temperature on the subnational level (Supplementary Fig. 2 ). Moreover, as low GDP and high temperatures constitute two important aspects of vulnerability to climate change, we also draw on a more comprehensive summary measure of vulnerability, derived for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report 41 , 42 . In addition to national income and poverty levels, the index also takes into account non-economic factors, such as the quality of public infrastructure, health services and governance. It captures a country’s general lack of resilience and adaptive capacity, and it is highly correlated with log GDP ( ρ  = −0.93) and temperature ( ρ  = 0.62). Figure 2c confirms that people living in more vulnerable countries report a stronger WTC.

The country-level variation in pro-climate norms and demand for intensified political action is much smaller than that for the WTC. Nevertheless, we find that higher temperature predicts stronger norms and support for more political action. We do not detect a significant relationship with GDP (Supplementary Table 10 ).

Beliefs and systematic misperceptions

In line with previous research 11 , 22 , 23 , 24 , 25 , 26 , our data support the importance of conditional cooperation at the global level. Figure 3a shows a strong and positive correlation between the country-level proportions of individuals willing to contribute 1% and the corresponding average perceived proportions of fellow citizens willing to contribute 1% ( ρ  = 0.73; 95% CI, [0.64, 0.81]; P  < 0.001 for a two-sided t -test; N  = 125).

figure 3

a , Binned scatter plots of the country-level proportions of individuals willing to contribute 1% of their income and the average perceived proportions of others who are willing to contribute 1% of their income. We use sampling weights to derive the country-level WTC and perceived WTC. Number of bins, 20; 6–7 countries per bin; derived from x axis. The red line shows the linear regression. b , Gap between the global and country proportions of respondents who are willing to contribute 1% of their income (circles) and the global and country average perceived proportions of others willing to contribute (triangles). The reported significance levels result from two-sided t -tests testing whether the proportion of individuals who are willing to contribute is equal to the average perceived proportion. We use population-adjusted weights to derive the global averages and the standard sampling weights otherwise. We derive the averages based on all available data, that is, we exclude missing responses separately for each question. See Supplementary Figure 4 for additional descriptive statistics for the perceived WTC (median, 25–75% quartile range).

We document the same pattern at the individual level. In a univariate linear regression analysis, a 1-percentage-point increase in the perceived proportion of others’ WTC is associated with a 0.46-percentage-point increase in one’s own probability of contributing (95% CI, [0.41, 0.50]; P  < 0.001; N  = 111,134; Supplementary Table 11 ). This effect size aligns closely with the degree of conditional cooperation that has been documented in the laboratory 26 .

The critical role of beliefs raises the question of whether beliefs are well calibrated. In fact, Fig. 3b reveals sizeable and systematic global misperceptions. At the global level, there is a 26-percentage-point gap (95% CI, [25.6, 26.0]; P  < 0.001 for a two-sided t -test; N  = 125; Supplementary Table 4 ) between the actual proportion of respondents who report being willing to contribute 1% of their income towards climate action (69%) and the average perceived proportion (43%). Put differently, individuals around the globe strongly underestimate their fellow citizens’ actual WTC to the common good. At the country level, the vast majority of respondents underestimate the actual proportion in their country (81%), and a large proportion of respondents underestimate the proportion by more than 10 percentage points (73%). This pattern holds for each country in our sample (Fig. 3b ). In all 125 countries, the average perceived proportion is lower than the actual proportion, significantly so in all but one country (two-sided t -tests, actual versus perceived WTC). If we limit the analysis to those respondents for whom we have non-missing data for both the actual and the perceived WTC, the global perception gap is estimated to be 29 percentage points (95% CI, [27.2, 30.0]; P  < 0.001 for a two-sided t -test; N  = 125; Supplementary Table 12 ), and the average perceived proportion is estimated to be significantly lower than the actual proportion in all 125 countries (Supplementary Fig. 3 ).

Although the perception gap is positive in all countries, we note that the size of the perception gap varies across countries (s.d. = 8.7 percentage points). Examining the same country-level characteristics as before, we find that the gap is significantly larger in countries with higher annual temperatures and significantly smaller in countries with high GDP (Supplementary Table 13 ). These results are largely robust to the inclusion of other economic, political or cultural factors, which we do not find to be significantly related to the perception gap. These findings are robust to only using respondents for whom we have non-missing data for both the actual and perceived WTC.

Climate scientists have stressed that immediate, concerted and determined action against climate change is necessary 32 , 41 , 43 , 44 . Against this backdrop, our study sheds light on people’s willingness to contribute to climate action around the world. What sets our study apart from existing cross-cultural studies on climate change perceptions 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 and policy views 4 , 5 , 6 is its globally representative coverage and its behavioural science perspective.

The results are encouraging. About two-thirds of the global population report being willing to incur a personal cost to fight climate change, and the overwhelming majority demands political action and supports pro-climate norms. This indicates that the world is united in its normative judgement about climate change and the need to act.

The four aspects of cooperation discussed in this article are likely to interact with one another. For example, consensus on pro-climate norms is likely to strengthen individuals’ WTC and vice versa 13 . Similarly, the enactment of climate policies is likely to strengthen climate norms and vice versa 45 . We find a strong positive correlation between the WTC, pro-climate norms, policy support and beliefs about others’ WTC across countries (Supplementary Table 14 ). Moreover, countries with a stronger approval of pro-climate social norms have passed significantly more climate-change-related laws and policies ( ρ  = 0.20; 95% CI, [0.02, 0.36]; P  = 0.028 for a two-sided t -test; N  = 122). These positive interactions suggest that a change in one factor can unlock potent, self-reinforcing feedback cycles, triggering social-tipping dynamics 46 , 47 . Our findings can inform system dynamics models and social climate models that explicitly take into account the interaction of human behaviour with natural, physical systems 48 , 49 .

The widespread willingness to act against climate change stands in contrast to the prevailing global pessimism regarding others’ willingness to act. The world is in a state of pluralistic ignorance, which occurs when people systematically misperceive the beliefs or attitudes held by others 27 , 28 , 29 , 30 , 31 , 50 . The reasons underlying this perception gap are probably multifaceted, encompassing factors such as media and public debates disproportionately emphasizing climate-sceptical minority opinions 51 , and the influence of interest groups’ campaigning efforts 52 , 53 . Moreover, during periods of transition, individuals may erroneously attribute the inadequate progress in addressing climate change to a persistent lack of individual support for climate-friendly actions 54 .

Importantly, these systematic perception gaps can form an obstacle to climate action. The prevailing pessimism regarding others’ support for climate action can deter individuals from engaging in climate action, thereby confirming the negative beliefs held by others. Therefore, our results suggest a potentially powerful intervention, that is, a concerted political and communicative effort to correct these misperceptions. In light of a global perception gap of 26 percentage points (Fig. 3b ) and the observation that a 1-percentage-point increase in the perceived proportion of others willing to contribute 1% is associated with a 0.46-percentage-point increase in one’s own probability to contribute (Supplementary Table 11 ), such an intervention may yield quantitatively large, positive effects. Rather than echoing the concerns of a vocal minority that opposes any form of climate action, we need to effectively communicate that the vast majority of people around the world are willing to act against climate change and expect their national government to act.

Sampling approach

The survey was carried out as part of the Gallup World Poll 2021/2022 in 125 countries, with a median total response duration of 30 min. The four questions were included towards the end of the Gallup World Poll survey and were timed to take about 1.5 min.

Each country sample is designed to be representative of the resident population aged 15 and above. The geographic coverage area from which the samples are drawn generally includes the entire country. Exceptions relate to areas where the safety of the surveyors could not be guaranteed or—in some countries—islands with a very small population.

Interviews are conducted in one of two modes: computer-assisted telephone interviews via landline or mobile phone or face to face (mostly computer assisted). Telephone interviews were used in countries with high telephone coverage, countries in which it is the customary survey methodology and countries in which the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic ruled out a face-to-face approach. There is one exception: paper-and-pencil interviews had to be used in Afghanistan for 73% of respondents to minimize security concerns.

The selection of respondents is probability based. The concrete procedure depends on the survey mode. More details are available in the documentation of the Gallup World Poll ( https://news.gallup.com/poll/165404/world-poll-methodology.aspx ) 55 .

Telephone interviews involved random-digit dialling or sampling from nationally representative lists of phone numbers. If contacted via landline, one household member aged 15 or older is randomly selected. In countries with a landline or mobile telephone coverage of less than 80%, this procedure is also adopted for mobile telephone calls to improve coverage.

For face-to-face interviews, primary sampling units are identified (cluster of households, stratified by population size or geography). Within those units, a random-route strategy is used to select households. Within the chosen households, respondents are randomly selected.

Each potential respondent is contacted at least three (for face-to-face interviews) or five (telephone) times. If the initially sampled respondent can not be interviewed, a substitution method is used. The median country-level response rate corresponds to 65% for face-to-face interviews and 9% for telephone interviews. These response rates are comparatively high considering that survey participants are not offered financial incentives for participating in the Gallup World Poll. For telephone interviews, the Pew Research Center reports a response rate of 6% in the United States in 2019 ( https://pewrsr.ch/2XqxgTT ). For face-to-face interviews, ref. 56 found a non-response rate of 23.7% even in a country with very high levels of trust, such as Denmark.

The median and most common sample size is 1,000 respondents. An overview of survey modes and sample sizes can be found in Supplementary Table 15 .

Sampling weights

Although the sampling approach is probability based, some groups of respondents are more likely to be sampled by the sampling procedure. For instance, residents in larger households are less likely to be selected than residents in smaller households because both small and large households have an equal chance of being chosen. For this reason, Gallup constructs a probability weight factor (base weight) to correct for unequal selection probabilities. In a second step, the base weights are post-stratified to adjust for non-response and to match known population statistics. The standard demographic variables used for post-stratification are age, gender, education and region. In some countries, additional demographic information is used based on availability (for example, ethnicity or race in the United States). The weights range from 0.12 to 6.23, with a 10–90% quantile range of 0.28 to 2.10, ensuring that no observation is given an excessively disproportionate weight. Of all weights, 93% are between 0.25 and 4. More details are available in the documentation of the Gallup World Poll ( https://news.gallup.com/poll/165404/world-poll-methodology.aspx ) 55 .

We use these weights in our main analyses in two ways: first, when deriving national averages, we weight individual responses with Gallup’s sampling weights; and, second, when conducting individual-level regression analyses, we weight respondents with Gallup’s sampling weights.

We note that this weighting approach does not take into account the fact that some countries have a larger population than others. At the global level, the approach would effectively weight countries by their sample size and not their population size. Therefore, we also derive population-adjusted weights that render the data representative of the global population (aged ≥15) that is covered by our survey. The population-adjusted weight of individual i in country c is derived as

where w i c denotes the original Gallup sampling weight, I c the set of all respondents in country c , s c the country’s share of the global population aged ≥15 and n the total sample size of 129,902 respondents. Division by \({\sum }_{{I}_{c}}{w}_{ic}\) ensures that countries with a larger sample size (Supplementary Table 15 ) do not receive a larger weight. Multiplication with s c ensures that the total weight of a country sample is proportional to its population share. Multiplication with the constant n ensures that the total sum of the population-adjusted weights equals n , but is inconsequential for the results.

Although the two approaches yield very similar results (Supplementary Table 16 ), we use these population-adjusted weights wherever we present global statistics or statistics for supranational world regions. Supplementary Table 16 also shows that we obtain almost identical results if we do not use weights at all.

Global pre-test

A preliminary version of the survey was extensively pre-tested in 2020 in six countries of diverse cultural heritage—Colombia, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Kenya and Ukraine—to ensure that subjects from different cultural and economic backgrounds interpret the questions adequately. In each country, cognitive interviews were conducted by trained interviewers in local languages. The objectives of the pre-test were threefold, that is, to collect feedback, test whether the survey questions were understandable and check whether they were interpreted homogeneously across cultures. Each survey question was followed by additional probing questions that investigated respondents’ understanding of central terms and the overall logic of the question. Moreover, respondents were invited to express any comprehension difficulties. In response to the feedback, several minor adjustments to the survey were made. Most importantly, we switched to the term global warming instead of climate change to prevent confusion with seasonal changes in weather.

Survey items

The US English version of the questionnaire can be found below. Square brackets indicate information that is adjusted to each country. Parentheses indicate that a response option was available to the interviewer but not read aloud to the interviewee. The frequencies of missing data are summarized in Supplementary Table 17 .

Introduction to global warming

Now, on a different topic… The following questions are about global warming. Global warming means that the world’s average temperature has considerably increased over the past 150 years and may increase more in the future.

Willingness to contribute

Question 1 : Would you be willing to contribute 1% of your household income every month to fight global warming? This would mean that you would contribute [$1] for every [$100] of this income.

Responses : Yes, No, (DK), (Refused)

Coding : Binary dummy for Yes. (DK) and (Refused) are coded as missing data.

Question 2 (asked only if ‘No’ was selected in Question 1) : Would you be willing to contribute a smaller amount than 1% of your household income every month to fight global warming?

Responses : Yes, No, I would not contribute any income, (DK), (Refused)

Coding : We classify respondents into three categories based on their responses to both questions. Willing to contribute (at least) 1%, willing to contribute between 0% and 1%, not willing to contribute. We conservatively code (DK) and (Refused) in Question 2 as ‘Not willing to contribute’.

Beliefs about others’ willingness to contribute

Question : We are asking these questions to 100 other respondents in [the United States]. How many do you think are willing to contribute at least 1% of their household income every month to fight global warming?

Responses : 0–100, (DK), (Refused)

Coding : 0–100, (DK) and (Refused) are coded as missing data.

Social norms

Question : Do you think that people in [the United States] should try to fight global warming?

Demand for political action

Question : Do you think the national government should do more to fight global warming?

Note : We were not allowed to field this question in Myanmar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Implementation errors

In two countries, an implementation error was made for the question on WTC a proportion of income.

In Kyrgyzstan, 4 of 1,001 respondents answered the survey in the language Uzbek. To these four respondents, the second sentence of question 1 was not read. The other respondents in Kyrgyzstan were interviewed in a different language and were not affected.

In Mongolia, respondents were asked whether they are willing to contribute less than 1% in question 1. Of these respondents, 93.1% answered yes. We approximate the proportion of Mongolian respondents who are willing to contribute 1% as follows. The implementation error should not affect the proportion of respondents who answer no to both questions (4.4%). Moreover, we know that in most countries 5–6% of respondents are not willing to contribute 1% but are willing to contribute a positive amount smaller than 1%. This is also true in neighbouring countries of Mongolia (China, 6.0%; Kazakhstan, 4.9%; Russia, 5.6%). Therefore, we derive the proportion of Mongolian respondents who are willing to contribute 1% as 100% − 4.4% − 6% = 89.6%, which is close to the uncorrected proportion of 93.1%. Results are virtually unchanged if we exclude observations from Mongolia.

Translation

The translation process of the US English original version into other languages followed the TRAPD model, first developed for the European Social Survey 57 . The acronym TRAPD stands for translation, review, adjudication, pre-testing and documentation. It is a team-based approach to translation and has been found to provide more reliable results than alternative procedures, such as back-translation. The following procedure is implemented:

Translation: a local professional translator conducts the first translation.

Review: the translation is reviewed by another professional translator from an independent company. The reviewer identifies any issues, suggests alternative wordings and explains their comments in English.

Adjudication: the original translator receives this feedback and can accept or reject the suggestions. In the latter case, he provides an English explanation for his decision and a third expert adjudicates the disputed translation, which often involves further exchange with the translators.

Pre-testing: a pilot test with at least ten respondents per language is conducted.

Documentation: translations and commentary (Gallup internal) are documented.

The study was approved by the ethics committee of the Gallup World Poll. Informed consent was obtained from all human research participants.

Our main measures of support for climate action are deliberately measured in a general manner to account for the fact that suitable concrete strategies to act against climate change can differ widely across the globe. However, in previous work, we collected both the general measures and additional specific measures for the different facets of climate cooperation. We conducted a survey with a diverse sample of respondents that is representative of the US population in terms of the sociodemographic characteristics of age, gender, education and region 30 . Specifically, we first elicit respondents’ WTC, demand for political action and approval of pro-climate change norms. In a second step, respondents can allocate money between themselves and a pro-climate charity (incentivized). We also elicit whether respondents have engaged in a set of specific climate-friendly behaviours in the previous 12 months (answered yes or no). We further elicit whether they think that people in the United States should engage in these specific climate-friendly behaviours (yes or no). Finally, we measure support for specific climate-change-related policies and regulations using a four-point Likert scale. Supplementary Tables 1 – 3 show that our general measures are strongly correlated with concrete climate-friendly behaviours, concrete climate-friendly norms and support for specific climate-change-related policies and regulation. More details on these data can be found in ref. 30 .

The data in ref. 30 also allow us to investigate whether we obtain similar results using two different survey methodologies. The Gallup World Poll relies on computer-assisted telephone interviews (landline and mobile) and random sampling via random-digit dialling. In ref. 30 , an online survey was conducted and quota-based sampling was used. Reassuringly, we obtain very similar results for the proportion of the population willing to contribute 1% of their household income, supporting pro-climate norms and demanding more political action (Table 1 ).

Additional data sources

Annual temperature.

This is the annual average temperature (in degrees Celsius) from 2010 to 2019. The data are available from the World Bank Group’s Climate Change Knowledge Portal ( https://climateknowledgeportal.worldbank.org/download-data ) and derived from the CRU TS v.4.05 data ( https://crudata.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/hrg/ ).

A set of indicators for whether a country belongs to one of the following five continents: (1) Africa, (2) Americas, (3) Asia, (4) Europe and (5) Oceania.

Economic growth

The average GDP growth rate between 2000 and 2019, obtained by averaging the year-on-year change in real GDP per capita (in constant US dollars) across years (World Bank WDI database, https://databank.worldbank.org/source/world-development-indicators/Series/NY.GDP.PCAP.PP.KD ).

The average national GDP per capita from 2010 to 2019 in constant US dollars, adjusted for differences in purchasing power. To derive the percentage of world GDP that our survey represents, we take national GDP data from 2019. The data for each country are available from the World Bank WDI database ( https://databank.worldbank.org/source/world-development-indicators/Series/NY.GDP.PCAP.PP.KD ). For Taiwan and Venezuela, the World Bank does not provide GDP estimates. Instead, we use data from the International Monetary Fund World Economic Outlook Database ( https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/WEO/weo-database/2022/October ).

GHG emissions

The per-capita GHG emissions expressed in equivalent metric tons of CO 2 averaged from 2010 to 2019. To derive the percentage of world GHG emissions that our survey represents, we take national GHG data from 2019. GHGs include CO 2 (fossil only), CH 4 , N 2 O and F gases. Data are obtained from EDGAR v.7.0 (ref. 58 ).

Individualism–collectivism

This refers to a country’s location on the individualism–collectivism spectrum, which we standardize 59 .

Kinship tightness

This refers to the extent to which people are embedded in large, interconnected extended family networks. The measure is derived from the data of the Ethnographic Atlas in ref. 60 and is available at https://dataverse.harvard.edu/dataset.xhtml?persistentId=doi:10.7910/DVN/JX1OIU .

Regional temperature

The population-weighted regional mean temperature in degrees Celsius (between 2010 and 2019). Regions are defined by Gallup and often coincide with the first administrative unit below the national level. We use temperature data from the Climatic Research Unit ( https://crudata.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/hrg/ ) and population data from the LandScan database ( https://www.ornl.gov/project/landscan ) to construct this variable.

Scientific articles

The average number of scientific articles (per capita) from 2009 to 2018. The annual data for each country are available from the World Bank WDI database and normalized with annual population data from the Maddison Project Database 2020 ( https://www.rug.nl/ggdc/historicaldevelopment/maddison/releases/maddison-project-database-2020 ).

Secondary and tertiary education

This refers to the proportion of the population with secondary or tertiary education as the highest level of education. The Gallup World Poll includes respondent-level information on whether the highest level of educational attainment is secondary and tertiary education, which we aggregate to national proportion by using Gallup’s sampling weights.

Survival versus self-expression values

The extent to which people in a country hold survival versus self-expression values, which we standardize. We obtain the data from the axes of the Inglehart–Welzel Cultural Map ( https://www.worldvaluessurvey.org/WVSNewsShow.jsp?ID=467 ) 61 .

Traditional versus secular values

The extent to which people in a country hold traditional versus secular values, which we standardize. We obtain the data from the axes of the Inglehart–Welzel Cultural Map ( https://www.worldvaluessurvey.org/WVSNewsShow.jsp?ID=467 ) 61 .

Vulnerability index

This measure captures a country’s vulnerability as defined in the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report 41 , 42 . Specifically, the measure is the average of the vulnerability subcomponent of the INFORM Risk Index and the WorldRiskIndex. The INFORM Risk Index consists of 32 indicators related to vulnerability and coping capacity. The vulnerability component of the WorldRiskIndex encompasses 23 indicators, which cover susceptibility, absence of coping ability and lack of adaptive capability. For example, the subcomponents include indicators of extreme poverty, food security, access to basic infrastructure, access to health care, health status and governance. The data and documentation are available at https://ipcc-browser.ipcc-data.org/browser/dataset?id=3736 .

Quality of governance standard data set 2021

The following variables are compiled from the Quality of Governance Standard Data Set 2021 ( https://www.gu.se/en/quality-government ) 62 .

Concentration of political power

This variable is based on the Political Constraints Index III from the Political Constraint Index (POLCON) Dataset ( https://mgmt.wharton.upenn.edu/faculty/heniszpolcon/polcondataset/ ), which we standardize.

A binary measure of democracy, obtained from ref. 63 .

Electricity from fossil fuels

The proportion of electricity produced from oil or coal (World Bank WDI database).

Perceived corruption

We use the Corruption Perception Index (0–100) from Transparency International ( https://www.transparency.org/en/cpi/ ), which we standardize.

The size of the population aged 15 or higher in 2019. The data are taken from the World Bank WDI database.

Property rights

The standardized score of the degree to which a country’s laws protect private property rights and the degree to which those laws are enforced (Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom dataset; http://www.heritage.org/index/explore ).

Quality of Governance Environmental Indicators Dataset 2021

The following variables are compiled from the Quality of Governance Environmental Indicators Dataset 2021 ( https://www.gu.se/en/quality-government ) 64 .

Annual precipitation

The long-run average of annual precipitation (in mm per year) (World Bank WDI database).

Climate change executive policies

The cumulative number of climate-change-related policies or other executive provisions (from 1946 until 2020), which were published or decreed by the government, president or an equivalent executive authority ( https://climate-laws.org/ ) 65 .

Climate change laws and legislations

The cumulative number of climate-change-related laws and legislations (from 1946 until 2020) that were passed by the parliament or an equivalent legislative authority 65 .

Distance to coast

The average distance to the nearest ice-free coast (in 1,000 km) 66 .

Terrain ruggedness index

An index of the terrain ruggedness (as of 2012) originally developed to measure topographic variation 67 and modified by ref. 66 .

Reporting summary

Further information on research design is available in the Nature Portfolio Reporting Summary linked to this article.

Data availability

The data of the Global Climate Change Survey are available at https://doi.org/10.15185/gccs.1 . References to and the documentation of external and proprietary data, such as the Gallup World Poll data, are available in the Supplementary Information .

Code availability

The analysis code is available at https://doi.org/10.15185/gccs.1 .

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Acknowledgements

We thank S. Gächter, I. Haaland, L. Henkel, A. Oswald, C. Roth, E. Weber and J. Wohlfart for valuable comments. We thank M. Antony for his support in collecting and managing the Global Climate Change Survey data, and J. König, L. Michels, T. Reinheimer and U. Zamindii for excellent research assistance. Funding by the Institute on Behavior and Inequality (briq) (A.F.) and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG; through Excellence Strategy EXC 2126/1 390838866 (P.A., T.B. and A.F.) and through CRC TR 224) is gratefully acknowledged (P.A. and A.F.). The activities of the Center for Economic Behavior and Inequality (CEBI) are financed by the Danish National Research Foundation, grant DNRF134 (F.C.). We gratefully acknowledge research support from the Leibniz Institute for Financial Research SAFE (P.A.).

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climate change in myanmar essay

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Climate change actions in conflict affected contexts: insights from myanmar after the military coup, attachments.

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Helene Maria Kyed & Justine Chambers

Violent conflict and state oppression in Myanmar demonstrates the importance of placing conflict analysis and people-centred approaches at the centre of international programming on climate change and environmental protection.

In 2021, the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that the impacts of the climate crisis will be particularly pronounced in poor and conflict-affected countries. Research also identifies climate change as a ‘threat multiplier’ that, in combination with socio-political factors like poverty, state incapacity and inequality, can intensify violent conflict. However, gaps remain in how to address the increase in climate change vulnerabilities in contexts with violent conflict and state oppression. This is evident in Myanmar, where a historically repressive military regime is threatening to cause longer-term ‘climate collapse’.

Since a military coup in February 2021, extractive activities and war economies are destroying the natural environment and placing communities at further risk of displacement, violent persecution and food shortages. These effects of conflict are reducing local people’s capacity to adapt to climate change and threatening civil society’s efforts to protect the environment. Under such conditions, climate change programming needs to place conflict analysis at its centre stage and substitute state-centric and purely technical approaches with people-centred ones, in alignment with the localisation of aid agenda.

* Climate change vulnerabilities in Myanmar

In the 2021 Global Climate Risk Index, out of 183 countries Myanmar is ranked the second most vulnerable to extreme weather events. With more frequent heatwaves, floods, cyclones, droughts and rising sea levels that impact production, food security and land scarcity, climate change poses a severe threat to livelihoods and sustainable development. Myanmar is simultaneously rich in natural resources and home to some of the largest remaining areas of contiguous biodiverse-rich rainforests in Southeast Asia, crucial for global climate stabilisation due to their absorption of carbon dioxide. For generations, indigenous communities have protected these forests using local ecological knowledge systems. However, these systems have been perpetually undermined by top-down conservation interventions, extractive activities and conflict dynamics.

Myanmar provides evidence that climate change vulnerabilities cannot be attributed to global changes in temperatures and weather patterns alone, but also to issues related to governance, natural resource use and conflict. The ability of local communities to mitigate and respond to climate change has been severely hampered by decades of authoritarian rule, agrarian land struggles and long running armed conflicts, which have worsened since the coup.

Escalations since the military coup

Research shows that, since the coup, the military has turned to the country’s vast natural wealth to fund its regime and violent operations. This reinforces a long history of military exploitation that was only partly tempered during a ten-year reform period. Satellite data reveals the depletion of large patches of rainforest since the coup. Civil society organisations (CSOs) also report a rapid increase in unregulated mining, which is polluting waterways, decimating forests, destroying mountains, and causing landslides and changes to fragile ecosystems.

Military-linked militias and businesses are behind much of this mining, but the escalating violent conflict is also fuelling a war economy where other armed actors engage in unregulated resource extraction. These activities are further degrading the environment and accelerating the longer-term impacts of climate change. Another concern is that the military junta’s plan to revive controversial hydropower dams and palm oil plantations will heavily disturb important riverine ecosystems and destroy natural forests, in addition to threatening local land rights and livelihoods.

Prior to the coup, some hydropower dams were stalled due to protests by local communities and environmental defenders. However, the violent reimposition of military rule has drastically undermined the civic space for environmental and climate justice actors, which during the 2011-2020 reform period provided some degree of protection to customary lands and the environment. The military’s brutal crackdown on civil society and environmental activists has also significantly undermined previous efforts to create public climate change awareness and to advocate for equitable climate actions.

Since the coup, regulatory and environmental oversight mechanisms have disappeared, meaning that local communities now have nowhere to take complaints about the effects of extractive projects on their land rights, local environment and livelihoods.

Top-down vs. people centered Top-down technical approaches to climate change typically involve investment in and introduction of agricultural techniques and infrastructures to adjust to climate change, which are developed external to local solutions, knowledge systems and context-specific socio-political relations (e.g. irrigation systems, satellite-based early warning systems, sea walls, drought-resistant crops, new seeds, etc.).

  • people-centred approach adheres to the localisation of aid agenda, by involving local people and their knowledge in decision-making and planning of climate change programmes from the outset. This also includes incorporating context-specific understandings of climate change and drivers of vulnerability into programme design and solutions.*

In this context, local efforts to adapt to and mitigate climate change are hampered both by the challenges facing the operations of supportive NGOs and CSOs, and by ongoing violent conflicts and displacements. There is also a high risk that natural disaster relief – in the case of, for instance, cyclones, flooding and drought – will be undermined or be used as an oppressive political tool, with the military preventing humanitarian organisations from helping affected populations.

Pre-coup climate change policies in Myanmar

In the current situation in Myanmar there is an urgent need for international donors to rethink conventional climate change programming. This includes a critical reframing of the policies and approaches that were adopted by the civilian government prior to the military coup, based on international technical assistance, such as the 2019 interlinked Climate Change Policy, Strategy and Master Plan, which aimed to create a climate-resilient and low-carbon society.

While recognising the urgency of climate change actions, earlier policies focused predominantly on support through central government departments and on techno-managerial solutions, with a heavy focus on state regulations. These were by and large apolitical and conflict blind. There was no mention of armed conflicts in the border regions, agrarian land struggles, non-state-controlled areas, or the legacies of authoritarianism, let alone a recognition of how these realities affect the lives of people. Locally-driven climate change adaptation and indigenous natural resource protection were underprioritized in favour of state-centric and top-down solutions. This was evident in the design of several internationally sponsored adaptation projects, some of which were aborted after the coup due to the freezing of aid channelled through government departments. These projects reflected the centrality of technical solutions and involved very little local consultation. They also largely ignored conflict dynamics and failed to target vulnerable populations in areas controlled by non-state ethnic resistance organisations (EROs).

Research also shows that large-scale mitigation projects, like REDD+ ignored local concerns, contributing instead to indigenous communities’ vulnerability and a consolidation of central state power at the expense of local conservation initiatives. These projects also had conflict repercussions. There were some exceptions to this dominant trend, such as international support for community-led conservation initiatives. However, much of the climate-related programming failed to acknowledge the socio-political marginalisation and asymmetric power relations that lie at the root of Myanmar’s protracted conflicts and authoritarian governance structures.

Ways forward and entry points for programming

Since the February 2021 coup, many international donors have withdrawn their state-to-state aid, including for climate change, so as not to legitimise and finance the military regime. Many of the CSO partners of international NGOs have moved their environmental and climate change work underground. Under these conditions, and with the gaps in pre-coup climate change policies, there is an urgent need to adopt more conflict-sensitive, flexible and adaptive programming:

Conflict analysis should be integrated into the design of climate change programmes, with a focus on mapping the power relations, political contestations and pluralism of actors that are implicated both in environmental protection and in natural resource management and extraction. The analysis should be based on in-depth contextual and historically grounded understanding that climate-related challenges are deeply embedded in longer-term ethno-nationalist conflicts and the co-existence of state and non-state legal-institutional arrangements (e.g. for the manangement of land, forests and other natural resources). Particular attention should be paid to EROs like the Karen National Union, which for decades have engaged in natural resource governance in their areas of non-state control.

Localisation of programme implementation is important to ensure that support benefits and reflects the needs of local populations. This requires a shift in programme implementation from top-down, state centric technical solutions towards climate change actions that are people-centred and work from the ground up. Flexible funding and reporting requirements that are adjustable to a volatile and insecure context is important to this approach. Entry points for support could include: a) core costs to secure the continued activities of existing environmental CSOs and indigenous-led networks, and their research and policy advocacy for inclusive and community-led climate change mitigation and adaptation programmes and policies; b) funding for the ongoing documentation of indigenous and customary natural resource management and ecological knowledge systems as a basis for sustainable development; c) support for the documentation of environmentally harmful extractive projects; and d) integration of climate adaptation and environmental protection into humanitarian support to internally displaced people and the communities that host them (e.g. in terms of forestry, green energy and waste management).

Policy-related support to pro-democratic movements in developing climate change policies and initiatives that support sustainable environmental protection and equitable natural resource sharing, land rights and locally embedded solutions. The ongoing drafting process of a federal democratic charter by the National Unity Government (NUG), in collaboration with the National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC) and allied EROs, presents an opportunity to provide technical support within the area of climate change. Informed policy advice should support the inclusion of CSOs that have an existing track record for working with climate change and in-depth experiences with environmental protection and familiarity with indigenous ecological knowledge systems. Funds and technical advice should also be targeted to support these groups to engage in international climate-related forums such as the UN’s Conference of the Parties (COP) to assess progress and add to global conversations on climate-related programming in conflict affected areas.

While these recommendations are specific to the current situation in Myanmar, they also apply more broadly to climate change actions in other conflict-affected and authoritarian states.

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Guest Essay

Let’s Build a Climate Wall of Shame

An illustration of a memorial inscription with the words “They Blew It.”

By Nate Loewentheil

Mr. Loewentheil is the founder and managing partner of Commonweal Ventures, a venture capital firm that invests in clean energy, health and financial technologies.

Here is a proposal for the environmental movement: Pool philanthropic funds for a day, buy a small plot of land in Washington, D.C., and put up a tall marble wall to serve as a climate memorial. Carve on this memorial the names of public figures actively denying the existence of climate change. Carve the names so deep and large, our grandchildren and great-grandchildren need not search the archives.

This is not a metaphor. The problem with climate change is the disconnect between action and impact. If politicians vote against construction standards and a school collapses, the next election will be their last. But with climate change, cause and effect are at a vast distance.

We are already seeing the consequences of our past and present greenhouse gas emissions. In coming decades, those emissions will wreak their full havoc on the climate, and it will take hundreds, possibly thousands, of years for those pollutants to fully dissipate. But in the short term, the most immediate burdens are borne mostly by the poor in America and distant people in distant lands. Misaligned incentives are at the heart of why some political and business leaders deny and delay.

For them, there can be immediate political and economic benefits to avowed ignorance, and by the time the waters rise, their deeds and words will be forgotten. A memorial would help adjust for this temporal gap. It would serve as a permanent testament of climate deniers whose actions might otherwise be lost to history and a reminder to those weighing their words today of what the future may bring.

The climate memorial would need to be in a highly visible place. Perhaps a commission could be established to select one climate antihero from academia or politics or business to be added to the memorial each quarter. Better yet, the names could be crowdsourced.

I would first nominate those who have sown confusion over climate science, like Myron Ebell, who recently retired as director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Center for Energy and Environment, where he sought to block climate change efforts in Congress, and served as the head of Donald Trump’s transition team for the Environmental Protection Agency. Mr. Ebell has argued that the idea that climate change is “an existential threat or even crisis is preposterous.”

Then there are lawmakers who have consistently stood in the way of federal action, like the recently retired senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, the author of the book “The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future.”

True, some might celebrate their inclusion on the memorial as a badge of honor. Let them. The memorial is designed to set the record straight for posterity. In an age of effervescent social media content, a climate memorial would etch permanently into the public imagination the names of those who hewed to ignorance at a moment of urgent crisis, one that requires “climate action on all fronts — everything, everywhere, all at once,” as António Guterres, the United Nations secretary general, put it last year.

By the same token, the memorial might induce some business and political leaders to reflect on the longer arc of history. The nature of a legacy is defined by future historians. To paraphrase Thomas Reed, a speaker of the House in the late 19th century, only after death can a politician hope to become a statesman. The memorial might move a politician or business leader toward sanity. The antihero nominees could be given a chance to reconsider their positions before hammer hits marble.

Memorials bring the present into the future and the future into the present and, in this case, would put the focus on what is at stake: Earth and humanity’s place on it.

Our nation’s capital would be a good place to build the first climate memorial, but we need not stop there. States like Florida and Louisiana will be among the first to suffer the worst effects of rising oceans and more severe weather. We should build state-specific walls in Tallahassee and Baton Rouge to bring the message home. Just make sure the memorials are situated well above sea level.

Nate Loewentheil is the founder and managing partner of Commonweal Ventures, a venture capital firm that invests in clean energy, health and financial technologies.

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips . And here’s our email: [email protected] .

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9 ways AI is helping tackle climate change

Artificial intelligence can help to tackle climate change.

Artificial intelligence can help to tackle climate change. Image:  Unsplash/anniespratt

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Stay up to date:, artificial intelligence.

This article was originally published in January 2024 and updated in February 2024.

  • The use of artificial intelligence (AI) can contribute to the fight against climate change.
  • Existing AI systems include tools that predict weather, track icebergs and identify pollution.
  • AI can also be used to improve agriculture and reduce its environmental impact, the World Economic Forum says.

The power of artificial intelligence (AI) to process huge amounts of data and help humans make decisions is transforming industries.

As one of the world’s toughest challenges, combating climate change is another area where AI has transformational potential.

Almost 4 billion people already live in areas highly vulnerable to climate change , according to the World Health Organization.

And this is expected to lead to around 250,000 extra deaths a year between 2030 and 2050, from undernutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress alone.

Here are nine ways AI is already helping to tackle climate change.

1. Icebergs are melting – AI knows where and how fast

AI has been trained to measure changes in icebergs 10,000 times faster than a human could do it.

This will help scientists understand how much meltwater icebergs release into the ocean – a process accelerating as climate change warms the atmosphere .

Scientists at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom say their AI can map large Antarctic icebergs in satellite images in just one-hundredth of a second, reports the European Space Agency.

For humans, this task is lengthy and time-consuming, and it’s hard to identify icebergs amid the white of clouds and sea ice.

2. Mapping deforestation with AI

AI, satellite images and ecology expertise are also being used to map the impact of deforestation on the climate crisis.

Space Intelligence , a company based in Edinburgh, Scotland, says it is working in more than 30 countries and has mapped more than 1 million hectares of land from space using satellite data.

The company’s technology remotely measures metrics, such as deforestation rates and how much carbon is stored in a forest.

3. AI is helping communities facing climate risks in Africa

In Africa, AI is being used in a United Nations project to help communities vulnerable to climate change in Burundi, Chad and Sudan.

The IKI Project uses AI technology to help predict weather patterns, so communities and authorities can better plan how to adapt to climate change and mitigate its impact.

This includes improving access to clean energy, implementing proper waste management systems and encouraging reforestation.

4. Using AI to recycle more waste

Another AI system is helping to tackle climate change by making waste management more efficient.

Waste is a big producer of methane and is responsible for 16% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Greyparrot , a software startup based in London, United Kingdom, has developed an AI system that analyzes waste processing and recycling facilities to help them recover and recycle more waste material.

The company tracked 32 billion waste items across 67 waste categories in 2022, and says it identifies 86 tonnes of material on average that could be recovered but is being sent to landfill.

AI is helping to fight climate change in systems, including those that identify plastic pollution in the ocean.

5. AI is cleaning up the ocean

In the Netherlands, an environmental organization called The Ocean Cleanup is using AI and other technologies to help clear plastic pollution from the ocean.

AI that detects objects is helping the organization create detailed maps of ocean litter in remote locations. The ocean waste can then be gathered and removed , which is more efficient than previous cleanup methods using trawlers and aeroplanes.

Plastic pollution contributes to climate change by emitting GHGs and harming nature.

6. AI helps predict climate disasters

In São Paulo, Brazil, a company called Sipremo is using AI to predict where and when climate disasters will occur, and what type of climate disasters they will be.

The aim is to help businesses and governments better prepare for climate change and the growing challenges for communities that come with it.

The company works in industries including insurance, energy, logistics and sport, where its analysis of disaster conditions and factors such as air quality can inform decisions on whether to delay or suspend events.

7. A wish list of AI climate tools

Google DeepMind, Google’s AI research laboratory, says it is applying AI to help fight climate change in a number of areas.

This includes building a complete wish list of datasets that would advance global AI solutions for climate change. Google DeepMind is working on this with Climate Change AI , a non-profit organization set up by volunteers from academia and industry who see a key role for machine learning in combating climate change.

Other Google AI tools are focused on improving weather forecasting and increasing the value of wind energy by better predicting the output from a wind farm.

8. How AI can help industry decarbonize

AI is being used to help companies in the metal and mining, oil, and gas industries to decarbonize their operations.

Eugenie.ai , based in California, United States, has developed an emissions-tracking platform that combines satellite imagery with data from machines and processes.

AI then analyzes this data to help companies track, trace and reduce their emissions by 20-30%.

Industrial sectors generate around 30% of greenhouse gas emissions globally.

In response to the uncertainties surrounding generative AI and the need for robust AI governance frameworks to ensure responsible and beneficial outcomes for all, the Forum’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (C4IR) has launched the AI Governance Alliance .

The Alliance will unite industry leaders, governments, academic institutions, and civil society organizations to champion responsible global design and release of transparent and inclusive AI systems.

9. Reforesting hills in Brazil using drones

AI-powered computers are pairing up with drones in Brazil to reforest the hills around the coastal city of Rio de Janeiro, Reuters reports. The computers define the targets and number of seeds to be dropped.

The initiative, which launched in January 2024, is a partnership between Rio's city hall and start-up Morfo, and aims to grow seeds in hard-to-reach areas.

A single drone can disperse 180 seed capsules per minute, which is 100 times faster than using human hands for traditional reforestation, according to the local government.

The potential of AI in the future

AI is one of the key emerging technologies explored in the World Economic Forum’s Top 10 Emerging Technologies of 2023 report.

The report specifically looks at generative AI – a type of AI that creates content including text, images and computer programming.

In the future, generative AI could be used in contexts such as drug design, architecture and engineering, the Forum says.

AI can also be used to improve agriculture and reduce its environmental impact by processing data from sensors placed on crops.

The technologies listed in the report, including sustainable aviation fuel, can be used to help tackle global challenges like the climate crisis – but more innovation is needed, the authors point out.

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Why this is one of the planetary shifts scientists are most worried about

climate change in myanmar essay

René van Westen watched in alarm as freshwater from a melting Arctic poured into the North Atlantic, diluting the normally dense and salty sea. The influx gradually slowed the aquatic conveyor belt that circulated water throughout the ocean basin, until, in the blink of an eye, the entire system shut down. Temperatures in North America and Europe dropped several degrees in a matter of decades. Global weather patterns shifted, depriving Africa and Asia of vital monsoon rains.

This cataclysm was happening only in a computer simulation — the product of a complex model that scientists use to understand the effects of climate change. But it was the first time anyone had used this particular model to show how the Atlantic Ocean’s sensitive circulatory system can collapse, said Van Westen, a climate scientist at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. And it hinted that the ocean might be on course for a “tipping point” ending in abrupt and irreversible change.

Van Westen’s study, published Friday in the journal Science Advances, is the latest attempt to understand what scientists call the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, or AMOC . Evidence from Earth’s past shows that this crucial and complex ocean system has shut down before, and modeling studies such as Van Westen’s suggest that it could happen again as human greenhouse gas emissions cause the planet to warm.

But the likelihood of a collapse — and the timeline on which it might occur — are still open questions. Here’s what you need to know.

The AMOC is a complex system

Scientists often compare the AMOC to a conveyor belt, driven by differences in water density, which transports water, heat and nutrients throughout the Atlantic Ocean.

It starts near the equator, where the surface of the ocean is warmed by the tropical sun. As that water moves northward, some of it evaporates, which increases the salt concentration — and the density — of the water that is left behind. By the time the water nears Greenland, it has also cooled down, which makes it even more dense.

This cold, salty water sinks to the seafloor, pushing the water that was already down there out of its path. That displaced water starts to flow south along the ocean bottom. Once it returns to the tropics, the water is drawn back to the surface through a process called upwelling, and the cycle begins again.

The Gulf Stream plays a role in the AMOC, but the two are not synonymous. Whereas the AMOC is a complex system of many currents, the Gulf Stream is a single fast-moving current that carries warm water from the Gulf of Mexico, along the east coast of the United States and across to northern Europe. It is driven primarily by winds and the rotation of the Earth, which means that even if climate change disrupts the deep ocean portion of the AMOC, the Gulf Stream won’t necessarily shut down.

The AMOC has shut down before

The AMOC is considered a “tipping element” in the Earth system, which means it has the potential to flip abruptly between two fundamentally different states — and once it flips, it’s hard to switch back again.

Think of it like someone leaning back in a chair. As long as they don’t lean too far, they are able to return to their original stable state, with all four legs of the chair on the floor. But if they tilt past a certain threshold — the tipping point — the chair will topple over, and they will be in a new stable state: lying on the floor.

Right now, the AMOC is self-reinforcing. A difference in water density drives circulation, which creates differences in density, which keeps the cycle going.

But evidence from Earth’s past shows how an influx of freshwater could throw a wrench into the system. By studying sediments at the bottom of the ocean, scientists know that huge pulses of meltwater entered the North Atlantic at the end of the last ice age, as the massive ice sheets that covered Europe and North America started to disintegrate. The fossilized shells of tiny ocean organisms show how that pulse diluted the salty water that accumulated just below Greenland. That dilution made the water less dense, which prevented it from sinking, which meant there was nothing to push the deep ocean portion of the AMOC.

This in turn meant there was less warm, salty water flowing north along the surface, which further weakened the density gradient that drives the circulation. Eventually, the feedback became so profound that the AMOC couldn’t sustain itself.

“There’s evidence from a number of different types of ocean circulation records that you have a strong decline in AMOC — something that approximates a collapse state,” said Sophie Hines, a paleoceanographer at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution who was not involved in Van Westen’s study.

Other geologic records — ice cores from Greenland, stalagmites from deep within caves — indicate that the shutdown of the AMOC led to major changes in weather around the globe. Europe got much colder, and rain stopped falling in parts of the tropics.

“Information about what actually did happen in the past is really important for understanding … exactly what conditions are necessary to drive the AMOC to switch from on to off,” Hines said. “That is really going to be crucial for then applying to what might be happening today.”

The growing signs that the AMOC is in trouble

For the past few decades, researchers have used networks of floating robotic sensors to observe the ocean in real time. As these sensors drift with the currents and swim through the water column, they collect information about the ocean’s temperature and salinity and beam it up to satellites, which then transmit the information to scientists around the globe.

These observations have revealed a strange cooling spot at the southern tip of Greenland — one of the only places on the planet where the ocean isn’t getting hotter. This suggests that the AMOC isn’t delivering as much warm water to the North Atlantic and hints that the system is slowing down. Other studies have combined direct observations with computer simulations to conclude that the AMOC has already weakened by about 15 percent since the 1950s.

In their Science Advances study, Van Westen and his colleagues found that the amount of freshwater being moved around the southernmost portion of the Atlantic Ocean was a good indicator of the strength of the feedback system powering the AMOC. When that metric was a positive number, it meant that the system was self-reinforcing. But when Van Westen’s team looked at real-world data, it found that its measure of freshwater transport was negative.

“The AMOC is destabilizing,” he said.

But there is a significant difference between the linear process of becoming less stable and the abrupt transition of crossing a tipping point.

An AMOC collapse would have devastating consequences

Van Westen’s study modeled how quickly the impacts of an AMOC collapse could unfold. Once the system passed its tipping point, he said, Western Europe would start to cool down by as much as 3 degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) every decade. Sea levels in the North Atlantic would surge by up to a meter as water piled up in the region, and the bottom of the ocean would run short on oxygen — killing the creatures that live in its depths. Meanwhile, the rest of the world would continue to get warmer, thanks to humanity’s heat-trapping greenhouse gas pollution.

“When the AMOC tips, it goes very fast,” Van Westen said. “And the responses are very severe.”

Right now, he added, the world is warming by about 0.2 degrees Celsius (0.36 degrees Fahrenheit) per decade — and society is already struggling to cope. If the temperature swings induced by an AMOC shutdown are an order of magnitude greater, “it will be very hard to adapt,” Van Westen said.

Climate scientist Tim Lenton, director of the Global Systems Institute at the University of Exeter, has also used computer models to assess how an AMOC shutdown could affect the world’s food supply. The dramatic cooling in the Northern Hemisphere would cause a shift in the band of clouds and rainfall that encircle the globe at the tropics. The monsoons that typically deliver rain to West Africa and South Asia would become unreliable, and huge swaths of Europe and Russia would plunge into drought. As much as half of the world’s viable area for growing corn and wheat could dry out.

“In simple terms [it] would be a combined food and water security crisis on a global scale,” Lenton said.

Scientists aren’t certain if a shutdown is close

Despite the signs that the AMOC is getting weaker, scientists still can’t say how soon a shutdown might occur. The AMOC is huge and slow-moving — it would take a drop of water hundreds of years to cycle through the whole ocean — which means that a mere 30 years of observations is not enough to assess how much the system is changing.

So researchers turn to computer models to simulate how the planet might respond to a given perturbation — for example, dumping Arctic meltwater into the North Atlantic — and see what it would take to push systems over the edge.

Many of these simulations don’t predict that the AMOC will cross its tipping point in the near future. In its most recent assessment report on the state of Earth’s climate, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change drew on multiple climate models and concluded with “medium confidence” that the AMOC would not fully collapse this century.

But Lenton, who was not involved in the new Science Advances study, believes the models are too conservative and don’t fully capture the complex interactions that shape our planet. He said it was “significant” that Van Westen and his colleagues were able to re-create an AMOC collapse using one of the world’s most sophisticated climate models.

Getting a definitive answer about the AMOC’s vulnerability will require more direct observations of the ocean and improvements in the scientists’ computer simulations. Further research on past collapses can also help identify triggers and early warning signs that scientists should be looking for today, Hines said.

And even if the probability of crossing the AMOC tipping point this century is low, researchers agreed, the potentially devastating consequences are reason enough to invest in better research and start thinking about how the world would adapt.

“We’re not taking this seriously enough,” Lenton said.

More on climate change

Understanding our climate: Global warming is a real phenomenon , and weather disasters are undeniably linked to it . As temperatures rise, heat waves are more often sweeping the globe — and parts of the world are becoming too hot to survive .

What can be done? The Post is tracking a variety of climate solutions , as well as the Biden administration’s actions on environmental issues . It can feel overwhelming facing the impacts of climate change, but there are ways to cope with climate anxiety .

Inventive solutions: Some people have built off-the-grid homes from trash to stand up to a changing climate. As seas rise, others are exploring how to harness marine energy .

What about your role in climate change? Our climate coach Michael J. Coren is answering questions about environmental choices in our everyday lives. Submit yours here. You can also sign up for our Climate Coach newsletter .

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climate change in myanmar essay

IMAGES

  1. Climate

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  2. Climate

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  3. Myanmar Climate Change Strategy (2018

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  4. Climate Change Adaptation in Myanmar (Facilitator Guide)

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  5. Assessing Climate Risk in Myanmar (Technical Report)

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  6. National Environmental Policy of Myanmar and Myanmar Climate Change

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