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PLOS Climate Editor-in-Chief Emma Archer answers your questions

Ahead of the publication of PLOS Climate’s first articles, Editor-in-Chief Emma Archer answers a selection of questions submitted by you.

Tell us about your research. What are you working on at the moment?

I am currently working at my main field site, the semi-arid Karoo in South Africa, understanding both how climate has changed in the past, and how it might change in the future. What are the implications for land management in this area, including the range of practices from commercial livestock through to private and state conserved areas, which are themselves dynamic and changing? How do we ensure more sustainable, resilient and equitable futures in these precious landscapes?

What do you make of COP26 and its outcomes?

I try to achieve a balance between disappointment (so much more could have been done); and optimism at some of the more positive outcomes. For example, this was really the first time the role of nature and nature’s contributions to people was taken into account at the climate negotiations. Those of us working at the biodiversity-climate interface are encouraged that we can work together increasingly in the future to achieve positive synergies.

What are the top priorities for climate research in South Africa? [where Emma is based]

We continue to work hard to balance excellent climate research with the key task of communicating the findings for decision-makers in a way that supports, rather than hinders, their use.  I think we are improving all the time in balancing these tasks, but still have so much to do.

What excites you most about PLOS Climate’s mission?

I am very excited to have the opportunity to support the diversification of voices in published climate expertise, as well as providing a platform for updated climate research to hopefully add to the basis of critical decision-making. This is a particularly critical year in which to be launching the journal; and we feel so privileged to be able to do so. 

How do you see climate science evolving in 2022 and beyond?

I hope that climate science will expand and diversify, with better representation in excellent climate science from previously underrepresented groups and geographic regions.

Why does Open Science matter? How does it relate to the climate crisis?

The climate crisis can only be addressed with the best possible up-to-date scientific evidence base being accessible to decision-makers. Open Science is absolutely essential in this regard (and not just in the field of climate change, of course).  I see this as part of the essential task in the climate crisis – taking science out of the lab (as a turn of phrase) and to the decision-makers.

What is it like to work with the journal’s editorial board?

It has been such a privilege to work with this team. The energy and enthusiasm has been great, and we have noticed a real passion amongst editorial board members for PLOS Climate’s mission and journey. 

What kind of research is PLOS Climate especially interested in?

Research right across our theme and specialty groups, including inter and multi-disciplinary work! We have been delighted at the pipeline of papers so far, and are very keen to see those submitted in 2022, including research papers, reviews, opinions pieces and some very exciting paper collections on key topics. 

You can find out more about PLOS Climate, and sign up for article alerts, over on the Journal website.

Emma Archer is an Associate Professor in Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of Pretoria, teaching in the areas of climate and managed ecosystems.

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