2022 marks the 50th anniversary of the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (hereafter, the World Heritage Convention). This year is a time to celebrate achievements and reflect on the success of the Convention’s goals and the challenges that lie ahead. Of the many challenges, climate change has become “the most prevalent threat” to natural World Heritage sites and the greatest future threat.
This Discussion Paper considers how the World Heritage Convention’s ‘List of World Heritage in Danger’ could be used more effectively for managing sites threatened by climate change or where climate change has already caused significant degradation.
The purpose of the paper is to stimulate ideas and discussion to help further develop and finalise the draft Policy Document on climate action for World Heritage which is due to be adopted by the General Assembly of State Parties to the Convention in 2023.
We use Australia’s Great Barrier Reef (GBR) - one of the world’s most iconic World Heritage sites and the world’s largest coral reef system – as a case study to explore the implications of inscribing a site on the List of World Heritage in Danger partly or primarily due to climate change impacts. We draw upon this case study to propose a set of measures to protect World Heritage against growing climate risks.
Coastal loss and damage for small islands
This commentary on a paper in Nature Sustainability reviews how the study quantifies the impacts of sea-level rise on small island states and estimates the impacts in terms of cost, land loss and population exposure across all small islands worldwide.
Risks of synchronised low yields are underestimated in climate and crop model projections
This study finds that the jet stream – air currents in the upper atmosphere – can synchronise extreme weather caused by climate change, resulting in crop failures in multiple countries at the same time.
The deployment length of solar radiation modification: an interplay of mitigation, net-negative emissions and climate uncertainty
Here, we investigate the deployment timescales of solar radiation modification and how they are affected by different levels of mitigation, net-negative emissions and climate uncertainty.
Solar radiation modification: a dangerous distraction from required emissions reductions
Investing precious time and resources in this critical decade to explore SRM technologies distracts from the urgent need to step up mitigation efforts to halve emissions by 2030.
Emissions as usual: implications for the Safeguard Mechanism of LNG and coal mine projects
This report examines the implications of committed and proposed developments in the LNG and coal mining sectors for reform of Australia's Safeguard Mechanism.
Only halving emissions by 2030 can minimise risks of crossing cryosphere thresholds
Institutional decarbonisation scenarios evaluated against the Paris Agreement 1.5°C goal
This study analyses six institutional decarbonisation scenarios published between 2020 and mid 2021 (including four from the oil majors and two from the International Energy Agency. It finds that most of the scenarios would be classified as inconsistent with the Paris Agreement as they fail to limit warming to ‘well below 2 ̊C, let alone 1.5 ̊C, and would exceed the 1.5 ̊C warming limit by a significant margin.
Uncertainty in near-term temperature evolution must not obscure assessments of climate mitigation benefits
This work comments on a study by Samset et al. that found the effects of emission mitigation will only be perceived through global temperature with a multi-decadal delay. This paper provides additional context and expresses concerns with the approach.
An emission pathway classification reflecting the Paris Agreement climate objectives
When categorising pathways in line with the Paris Agreement, the focus has been put on the temperature outcome. Here we propose a pathway based on emission reduction objectives that reflect the climate criteria set out in the Paris Agreement.
No time for complacency: without closing the 2030 gap, net zero targets cannot prevent severe climate impacts
Fossil gas: a bridge to nowhere
This report assesses how fast fossil gas power generation must be phased out in different parts of the world to keep the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C temperature goal in reach.
MESMER-M: an Earth system model emulator for spatially resolved monthly temperature
This study extends the framework of an existing spatially resolved, annual-scale Earth system model emulator (MESMER) by a monthly downscaling module, providing local monthly temperatures from local yearly temperatures.