Tackling climate change is no longer simply about cutting greenhouse gas emissions: flood defences, heat resilient crops and weather warning systems are set to take centre stage.
That’s the message from scientists fresh from an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) meeting in Geneva last week.
The UN science body has started work on a new and potentially devastating report on ways to avoid warming the earth to more than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels – and the consequences of failure.
Due in September 2018, it will set the political tenor for global talks on climate change through to 2020, by which time the new Paris Agreement on climate change is slated to become operational.
Critically, it will underpin a UN-led review the same year into how countries are delivering on the Paris deal, and perhaps offer the basis for those national goals to be increased.
Record temperatures in 2016 have raised the urgency of the study, acknowledged Katherine Mach, a climate scientist with the Carnegie Institution and Stanford University who attended the Geneva gathering.
“With the hot year we feel 1.5C is coming down the barrel… it’s a world we’re going to have to adapt to and this will help us,” she told Climate Home.
“The sense in general was you can’t think about adaptation and mitigation separately and you can’t think about them separately from sustainable development.”
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