Nature Climate Change: Bridging the gap between research and real-world change
Promoting interdisciplinary collaboration
Nature Climate Change launched in 2011 and is one of several thematic Nature Research journals. Published monthly in print and online formats, the journal spans physical, social and life sciences. Its editorial team is dedicated to the dissemination of cutting-edge research on the nature, underlying causes and impacts of global climate change, and explores its implications for the economy, policy and the world at large. Nature Climate Change commissions original research, reviews, perspectives and opinion pieces on topics as diverse as political sciences, ice sheets, the economic impact of climate change, and soil microbes. It publishes an average of 10-12 original research articles per issue.
The editorial screening process for paper submissions is underpinned by the journal’s mission to continually advance research in the field of climate change, challenge the views of its readers and effect real change by paving the way for collaboration across its broad readership of researchers, practitioners and policy-makers. Another fundamental aim of the journal is to encourage interdisciplinary collaboration, which is pivotal to progress in tackling all of the grand challenges.
“By publishing a growing volume of original research across natural, social and physical sciences, Nature Climate Change strives to synthesize interdisciplinary research and bring a versatile response to a broad and complex challenge”
Bronwyn Wake, Chief Editor
Exploring the far-reaching consequences of climate change
Whilst falling squarely under the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 13, ‘Climate Action’, Nature Climate Change consistently addresses many other SDGs including: Affordable and Clean Energy, Responsible Consumption and Production, Life Below Water, Life on Land, Health, Innovation and Communities. The scale of impact that climate change has the potential to make is difficult to over-estimate, and in addition to furthering core research in the field, the journal’s editorial team is continually working to expose its many, varied and seemingly unconnected implications.
Climate Change is one of the five defining pillars of the Grand Challenges programme, but both the research field and the journal also have far-reaching implications for another of its pillars: the water-food-energy nexus. Recent original research articles tackling this global challenge include: Climate and water resource change impacts and adaptation potential for US power supply, Anthropogenic warming exacerbates European soil moisture droughts and Greenhouse gas emission curves for advanced biofuel supply chains.
Less obvious impacts of climate change, including the mental health of diverse groups - from environmental scientists to farmers in developing countries - are regularly reviewed and commented on in Nature Climate Change. In 2018, the journal ran a comment piece on Mental health risk and resilience among climate scientists and an editorial tackling the broader topic of climate change impact on the general population, including an increased likelihood of depression, PTSD and anxiety in populations that have experienced extreme weather events.
The journal also makes a significant contribution to the development of more sustainable cities, another pillar of the Grand Challenges Programme. With original research, comment and opinion pieces spanning everything from China’s new emissions trading scheme, to analysis of the IPCC’s study on the impact of emissions from cities and the 1.5 degrees debate, the journal takes both a multidisciplinary and multi-format approach to researching, reviewing and discussing the core tenets of climate change, as well as its less obvious consequences.
All the Grand Challenges in Springer Nature’s programme are characterised by multiple contributing factors that can only be solved by a concerted, multidisciplinary effort on the part of publishers and the scientific community. But the other vital key to progress in tackling huge challenges like climate change is not only the dissemination of ground-breaking research, but also packaging that content in a way that will be actively read and applied by governments, businesses and the broader population.
“The practical application of solutions to climate change rests not only on the shoulders of the scientific research community, but also on those of governments, the global business community and the broader population. Nature Climate Change is continually striving to bridge the gap between research and action.”
Encouraging global debate
Nature Climate Change publishes original research by scientists involved in organisations such as the IPCC, and invites discussion and debate about related treaties such as the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change). There’s usually a surge in journal paper submissions from the IPCC prior to the publication of its latest assessment report and, as well as giving greater voice to the advances driven by this panel, the journal also actively encourages related discussion across the wider research community.
Research from the journal is also included in high profile reports of global significance, such as the IPCC’s Special Report on 1.5 Degrees, and the editorial team regularly contributes to discussions at global events such as the POLAR Conference organised by the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR); the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC); and the World Congress of Environmental and Resource Economists (WCERE). The aim of Nature Climate Change is to play a key role in documenting and publicising progress made by researchers in fields such as these, but also to contribute directly to this progress through original research, comment, reviews and opinion pieces.
Connecting researchers, policy-makers and businesses
Another core aim of Nature Climate Change is meeting the very varied information needs of researchers, policy-makers and businesses to improve the chances of evidence-based findings resulting in practical application by governments, industry and the population at large. One of the best ways of ensuring this is to invite representatives from all of these areas to regularly contribute to the journal. Broadening the journal’s scope to reach a wider audience is also part of the editorial strategy and it recently accepted a paper on the role of finance companies and banks in limiting climate change along with a planned article on climate litigation.
“We want to help more people understand the science behind climate research and bring about a greater understanding of its consequences in the broader global population. By engaging a diverse audience, providing a stage for emerging and interdisciplinary research, and making space for conventional approaches to be challenged, we believe that Nature Climate Change can drive powerful and positive change.”
Chief Editor Bronwyn Wake joined Nature Climate Change in 2012. She has handled research manuscripts and review and opinion articles across the entire breadth of physical climate sciences, the marine and aquatic environment, and interdisciplinary articles integrating natural and social science disciplines in the context of climate and global environmental change. In November 2014 she moved to the Sydney office before returning to the London office to become Chief Editor in May 2016. Bronwyn completed her postgraduate studies at University of Tasmania, Australia, with a PhD in trace element biogeochemistry and first-class Honours in Antarctic Studies. Her postdoctoral work at the University of Southampton, UK and European Institute for Marine Studies, Brest, France focused on trace metal cycling in marine waters and their roles as micronutrients for phytoplankton. Bronwyn is based in the London office.
This article was written by Emma Warren-Jones, Director of Edible Content, from an interview with Bronwyn this year.