CGD/RAL Seminar: Should NCAR be More Engaged in Science Directly Relevant to the COPs?

May. 10, 2022

11:00 am – 12:00 pm MDT

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For the first time in IPCC history, many authors of the 2021 Working Group I report signed a letter urging the negotiators at the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) to pay serious attention to the results of the report (released just a few months before) and agree to substantially greater reductions in greenhouse gases. Since the Paris Agreement of 2015 (COP21), the world has agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions so that increase in global temperature (in the 21st century) would remain well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels, and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C, the level at which serious harm is likely. However, the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) of the countries involved were in no way sufficient for meeting either of the targets. Also, during COP21, the UNFCCC ‘invited’ the IPCC to provide a report in 2018 on the impacts of climate change of 1.5°.
Fast forward to 2021 and the progress towards reducing emissions remains much too slow. Meanwhile, the urgency of the issue has sharply increased, based on the 1.5 Degree Report and the latest Working Group I report. The sharply increased urgency affected the tenor of COP26, compared to earlier COPs. For example, the distance between the science of climate change and policy was greatly diminished.
But even with the increased urgency and updated INDCs, the ‘production gap’ remains large. Today’s governments still plan to produce more than double the amount of fossil fuels that would be consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5°. COP27, to take place in Egypt in November 2022, will essentially be a continuation of COP26. It is anticipated that more stringent INDCs will be proposed, which may yet allow the world to avert disaster.
In this talk I will review a number of the tenets of the COP26 agreements, and what more would be necessary to reach critical reduction goals. I will also discuss possibilities for NCAR to become more engaged in, for example, COP27, and what this would entail. Should NCAR be more engaged in science that is directly relevant to the COPs?

Linda Mearns, NCAR