climate variability

Climate Change: Active Scientific Mobilisation

As negotiators prepare an agreement text for COP21, which is expected to establish a new climate regime, the international scientific community is gathering in Paris for four days, from 7 to 10 July, under the aegis of global scientific institutions (ICSU [World Science Council] and FutureEarth [International Program on Global Change and Sustainable Development]), and at the initiative of French research institutions. More than 2,000 experts will gather around 160 workshops and panels organized to take stock of the latest state of climate research.

The IPCC, the reference group of climate experts, which published the latest synthesis of global research in 2014, showed that "land and ocean surface temperatures have increased globally by nearly 1ºC (since the beginning of the 20th century), and in parts of Africa, Asia, North and South America the rise is as much as 2.5ºC, Ban said. And the IPCC is telling us that we're going to have a 5-6ºC warming if nothing is done," he said.
"It is clear" that the greenhouse gas reduction commitments published since March by the States within the framework of the negotiations "will not be enough to enable us to keep the +2ºC target". "It's essential to make progress on funding, confidence, knowledge, technology..."The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had listed the issue at a previous conference on global warming, in a statement to the UN General Assembly in December 2003.

The scientists had pointed out that to remain below 2ºC, the world would have to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 to 70 % by 2050 and achieve "carbon neutrality" by the end of the century.

L'Iddri, active member on the global governance of climate change

IDDrI, a member of the conference organizing committee, is also co-organizing several sessions, including those on global governance, the link between the climate regime and trade negotiations, and those on financing sustainable development, which will be discussed the following week in Addis Ababa (13-16 July), and is mobilized to organize dialogue between scientists and other stakeholders to exchange views on recent advances in knowledge and on priority research issues for the post-2015 scientific agenda. (See the different interventions by IDDRI).

What is at stake at this conference, which brings together nearly 2,000 researchers?

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First of all, to take stock of the scientific advances that have emerged since the last IPCC report, published in 2014.
Second, to acknowledge that future scenarios and strategies inevitably and inextricably intertwine adaptation and mitigation issues across the three IPCC groups.
Finally, to show the diversity of scientific approaches and disciplines currently working on the issue of climate change: climatology, ecology, economics, political science, sociology of innovation or behavioural psychology; moreover, among the 160 or so sessions organised, many of them illustrate various ways of co-constructing a diagnosis of the problems but also solutions to respond to them with actors of various kinds: national governments or local authorities, companies, NGOs, etc.
Indeed, the strongest message that this conference can send to governments, who will need to agree on a new climate regime and ensure its implementation, is that the climate change research agenda has gradually shifted from warning and call to action to strategic anticipation of options for action.

Coordinating l' policies; post-2015

International climate governance after 2015 should be organized around a mechanism for coordinating the national climate policies of all the countries of the planet, which are still insufficiently ambitious today, and commitments by local authorities or private actors, showing that a wide variety of innovative approaches for solutions is underway, even if they are not yet at scale.
The role of the scientific community will be essential, in this perspective, to ensure that international climate governance is organized as a collective learning process, allowing for a regular and rapid increase in the ambition of these commitments, and giving credibility to the commitments of state and non-state actors.
For collective learning to take place, the international community needs an independent evaluation function. The many scientists gathered in Paris show that they are already doing so. It is necessary not only to evaluate the performance of the policies and strategies implemented or envisaged, to measure the gap between objectives and the margins for progress or innovation, but also to rethink the framing of problems as they are currently posed in order to be able to imagine new avenues for solutions, and to invent new frameworks for individual or collective action.

(Source: Letter from l'Iddri July 2015)

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