UCLA is one of the leading contributors in a nationwide effort to understand climate change.
Public universities are instrumental to national comprehension of climate change and its effects, according to a new report by the National Council for Science and the Environment.
The NCSE, a nonprofit organization that aims to help policymakers make scientifically sound decisions, examined the research of 80 public universities from all 50 states.
UCLA, the largest public university by enrollment in California, produced 247 papers on climate change impacts within the five-year period. UC Berkeley produced 346, according to the NCSE report.
Because of California’s location, unique ecosystem and high rates of urban population, the state faces climatic consequences like wildfires, droughts and increasing temperatures. This is seen in recurring key terms in the research produced by UCLA and UC Berkeley, like “wildfire” and “precipitation,” according to a NCSE press release.
From 2014 to 2018, the 80 institutions produced a total of 10,004 studies on the effects of climate change on their local regions, according to the report.
These institutions had to meet one or more of certain requirements to be analyzed. They had to be the largest land-grant university in the state, the university with the highest enrollment in the state or affiliated with its state’s climatology office, the press release stated.
These keywords vary according to university as research differs according to the environmental challenges a region is facing. While words like “carbon” and “ecosystem” were used nationally, research from Alaskan universities showed more emphasis on indigenous communities and disappearing permafrost while universities in the Midwest had research focused on agriculture.
The report is meant to provide analysis on research that helps decision-makers at the local and federal levels formulate policies that respond adequately to regional environmental challenges, the press release read.