Climate Change research is biased towards richer countries: Research

KARACHI: Mostly carried out in highly developed countries, a majority of the modern researches on climate change is skewed, as these studies are biased towards rich well-developed countries.

This is revealed by a mega research conducted by the Centre for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, University of Copenhagen, Denmark in association with the Danish National Research Foundation, says a press release issued from Copenhagen, Denmark.

As per the research findings, these are the richer highly-developed countries that pollute the most and are least vulnerable to climate change — and skewed away from the poor, fragile and more vulnerable regions of the world. The researchers analyzed over 15,000 scientific papers on climate research from 197 countries. Shown by a number of research publications, climate change research primarily concerns countries that are less vulnerable to climate change and have a higher emission of CO2. The analysis clearly shows that the research is biased towards countries that are wealthier, well-educated, stable and less corrupt, emit the most carbon, and are less vulnerable to climate change.

Corroborating the fact that the content of global climate studies is skewed, the study shows that not only the authorship, but also the choice of topic in climate research, is geographically biased. For example, articles from Europe and North America are more often biased towards issues of climate change mitigation, such as emission reductions, compared with articles from the southern hemisphere.

In contrast, climate research from Africa and South and Latin America deals more with issues of climate change adaptation and impacts such as droughts and diseases compared to Europe.

“The tendency is a geographical bias where climate knowledge is produced mainly in the northern hemisphere, while the most vulnerable countries are found in the southern hemisphere,” says Maya Pasgaard, the leading researcher.

“That creates a global imbalance between the countries in need of knowledge and those that build it. This could have implications for the quality of the political decisions countries and regions make to prevent and adapt to climate change”, warn the researchers behind the study from the University of Copenhagen.

According to Professor Niels Strange of University of Copenhagen, “80 % of all the climate articles we examined were published by researchers from developed countries, although these countries only account for 18 % of the world’s population”.

“That is of concern, because the need for climate research is vital in developing countries. It could have political and societal consequences if there are regional shortages of climate scientists and research to support and provide contextually relevant advice for policy makers in developing countries,” Professor Niels Strange said.

The study has been recently published in the journal Global Environmental Change.

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