This is the talk that I gave at the 2015 Ecological Society of America Annual meeting in Baltimore, MD. (Will add images/graphs soon.) Thank you to Jesse Lasky for including me in the special session he organized, The Effects of Eco-Evolutionary Feedbacks on Communities, Ecosystems, and Responsee to Environmental Change.


My talk, sitting in the last slot of today's session, draws on several presentations we have heard today. This final talk will put eco-evolutionary research and knowledge in the context of conservation and climate change.

Le me first remind you that climate change is a big deal with a large influence on biological systems. Under a business as usual emission scenario, temperatures on land are predicted to increase 5-6 deg C this century. The last time the world was this much cooler, Death Valley was covered with mesic forest, a habitat that has since been replaced with drought and temperature tolerant plants and animals. The last time the climate was this warm, there was a relative of the alligator living at the pole.

By Jacob Miller, ND-GAIN Summer 2015 Intern

The ND-GAIN Country Index is an assessment, which allows users to look at how prepared a country is for global climate change, over time. This enables us to look at an incredible amount of information about the global landscape of climate change. Through this information, we are able to ask questions and look deeper into the answers. This report looks into the issue of which countries have improved their Country Index rank score the most and why.

To answer this question, we must first identify which countries have gained the most ground over the last 18 years covered in the ND-GAIN Index. This task can be accomplished by subtracting a country’s 1995 score from the country’s score in 2013. Below are the most improved countries.



Score Improvement

United Arab Emirates


Saudi Arabia



Brazil: ND-GAIN rates Brazil as the 29th least vulnerable and 77th least ready country to adapt to climate change. Agricultural capacity, cereal yields and protected biomes are some of Brazil’s highest vulnerabilities. Although its economy thrives, the country is extremely vulnerable to climate change impacting its farms. Rising global temperatures particularly affect farming in the tropics, a region in which most of Brazil lies. Since Brazil is an emerging world power with many environmental and economic considerations, it must learn to adapt to climate change while also confronting interrelated problems such as deforestation. This brief study illustrates and utilizes ND-GAIN as an assessment tool to help nations such as Brazil understand its distinctive risks and opportunity toward adaptation planning.

By Jacob Miller, Summer 2015 ND-GAIN Intern | Research & Input by Corey Robinson, Summer Intern 2015

The threat of climate change has inspired people all over the world to study our environment, and it has yielded some interesting information. In an attempt to understand what the future could look like these five statistics have arisen, and they may be more surprising than you anticipated.

1. Total deaths from climate events in 2014: 8,056

Total economic damage from climate events in 2014: 90,866,687,000 (90.86 billion USD)

The International Disaster Database housed at Université catholique de Louvain in Belgium is a database that logs data on disasters around the world by category of disaster over time since 1999, and allows us to view the total damage incurred in USD by each of these disasters. Below is the 2014 data for several disaster types, which shows a substantial number of deaths due to climate events in just one year. Additionally we can see that an astonishing amount of money is spent on these disasters each year, just over 90.86 Billion. This combination of over 8,000 deaths and 90.86 billion USD all due to climate related events is certainly a statistic that should get our attention.