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We summarize some of the past year's most important findings within climate change-related research. New research has improved our understanding of Earth's sensitivity to carbon dioxide, finds that permafrost thaw could release more carbon emissions than expected and that the uptake of carbon in tropical ecosystems is weakening. Adverse impacts on human society include increasing water shortages and impacts on mental health. Options for solutions emerge from rethinking economic models, rights-based litigation, strengthened governance systems and a new social contract. The disruption caused by COVID-19 could be seized as an opportunity for positive change, directing economic stimulus towards sustainable investments.
A synthesis is made of ten fields within climate science where there have been significant advances since mid-2019, through an expert elicitation process with broad disciplinary scope. Findings include: (1) a better understanding of equilibrium climate sensitivity; (2) abrupt thaw as an accelerator of carbon release from permafrost; (3) changes to global and regional land carbon sinks; (4) impacts of climate change on water crises, including equity perspectives; (5) adverse effects on mental health from climate change; (6) immediate effects on climate of the COVID-19 pandemic and requirements for recovery packages to deliver on the Paris Agreement; (7) suggested long-term changes to governance and a social contract to address climate change, learning from the current pandemic, (8) updated positive cost–benefit ratio and new perspectives on the potential for green growth in the short- and long-term perspective; (9) urban electrification as a strategy to move towards low-carbon energy systems and (10) rights-based litigation as an increasingly important method to address climate change, with recent clarifications on the legal standing and representation of future generations.
Social media summary
Stronger permafrost thaw, COVID-19 effects and growing mental health impacts among highlights of latest climate science.
We evaluated the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the Incredible Years® Teacher Classroom Management (TCM) programme as a universal intervention, given schools’ important influence on child mental health.
A two-arm, pragmatic, parallel group, superiority, cluster randomised controlled trial recruited three cohorts of schools (clusters) between 2012 and 2014, randomising them to TCM (intervention) or Teaching As Usual (TAU-control). TCM was delivered to teachers in six whole-day sessions, spread over 6 months. Schools and teachers were not masked to allocation. The primary outcome was teacher-reported Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) Total Difficulties score. Random effects linear regression and marginal logistic regression models using Generalised Estimating Equations were used to analyse the outcomes. Trial registration: ISRCTN84130388.
Eighty schools (2075 children) were enrolled; 40 (1037 children) to TCM and 40 (1038 children) to TAU. Outcome data were collected at 9, 18, and 30-months for 96, 89, and 85% of children, respectively. The intervention reduced the SDQ-Total Difficulties score at 9 months (mean (s.d.):5.5 (5.4) in TCM v. 6.2 (6.2) in TAU; adjusted mean difference = −1.0; 95% CI−1.9 to −0.1; p = 0.03) but this did not persist at 18 or 30 months. Cost-effectiveness analysis suggested that TCM may be cost-effective compared with TAU at 30-months, but this result was associated with uncertainty so no firm conclusions can be drawn. A priori subgroup analyses suggested TCM is more effective for children with poor mental health.
TCM provided a small, short-term improvement to children's mental health particularly for children who are already struggling.
Transactional cascades among child internalizing and externalizing symptoms, and fathers’ and mothers’ posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms were examined in a sample of families with a male parent who had been deployed to recent military conflicts in the Middle East. The role of parents’ positive engagement and coercive interaction with their child, and family members’ emotion regulation were tested as processes linking cascades of parent and child symptoms. A subsample of 183 families with deployed fathers and nondeployed mothers and their 4- to 13-year-old children who participated in a randomized control trial intervention (After Deployment: Adaptive Parenting Tools) were assessed at baseline prior to intervention, and at 12 and 24 months after baseline, using parent reports of their own and their child's symptoms. Parents’ observed behavior during interaction with their children was coded using a multimethod approach at each assessment point. Reciprocal cascades among fathers’ and mothers’ PTSD symptoms, and child internalizing and externalizing symptoms, were observed. Fathers’ and mothers’ positive engagement during parent–child interaction linked their PTSD symptoms and their child's internalizing symptoms. Fathers’ and mothers’ coercive behavior toward their child linked their PTSD symptoms and their child's externalizing symptoms. Each family member's capacity for emotion regulation was associated with his or her adjustment problems at baseline. Implications for intervention, and for research using longitudinal models and a family-systems perspective of co-occurrence and cascades of symptoms across family members are described.