Science Assessment
and Analysis

Climate science is highly complex and the policy implications are not always clear. We make the latest climate science easily accessible for stakeholders in the international climate change arena.

 ©Sarah Depper, CC BY 2.0
©Sarah Depper, CC BY 2.0

We synthesise and advance scientific knowledge in the area of climate change science, policy and impacts to make it easily accessible for stakeholders in the international climate change arena. This includes conducting our own research (for example, to evaluate the uncertainties in climate science associated with potential mitigation pathways, project sea-level rise or evaluate impacts and risks at different levels of warming) as well as bringing together and communicating the findings of the available scientific literature and providing the context needed to understand their implications. Projections of future climate change are subject to uncertainty, as they depend on a range of developments that cannot be foreseen (e.g. emission pathways). Also, there remain important limitations in the understanding and the modeling of some key processes of the climate system. Much of our work therefore focused on understanding these key process and the probabilities associated with climate impact projections.

Latest

Europe, North America and parts of Asia can expect not just more intense but also longer lasting periods of heat, drought and rain during summer as the planet warms, worsening impacts on health and agriculture, according to a study led by researchers from Climate Analytics and Humboldt University of Berlin.  
Summer extremes of heat and rain are likely to last longer in Europe, North America and Asia if the world warms by more than 2°C, with serious effects for agriculture and human health. Climate change is expected to bring more frequent and intense extreme weather events. But how persistent those episodes will be, such as the European summer heatwave in 2018, is not so well understood.  
South and South East Asia’s (1) growing economies can shift from their current carbon-intensive pathways to renewable energy to fuel economic growth, boost sustainable development and overcome energy poverty while avoiding life-threatening pollution and environmental degradation, according to a new report by the research institute Climate Analytics, released at the Bonn climate talks today.  
Climate Analytics' researcher Claire Fyson sees scientists' warning of a Hothouse Earth as a "call to arms." Though the threshold temperature that leads to irreversible changes can't be pinpointed, science can tell us how to stay out of the very-high-risk zone, she says in this Deutsche Welle interview.  
A research group, including Climate Analytics' Dr Fahad Saeed and Dr Carl-Friedrich Schleussner, has simulated the scenarios of limiting global warming to 2°C versus 1.5°C with global hydrological models. An important result: High flows and flood hazards will increase significantly over an average of 21 percent of global land area if the temperature rises by 2°C. But if the rise in global warming is limited to 1.5°C only 11 percent of global land area would be affected.  
As people around the world switch off their lights for “Earth Hour” this weekend, a new analysis shows the world could make huge reductions in global warming by simply adopting the highest existing energy related standards for lighting and appliances. This can be achieved at net zero costs for consumers and with substantial co-benefits to health, according to the Climate Action Tracker.  

Publications

Europe, North America and parts of Asia can expect not just more intense but also longer lasting periods of heat, drought and rain during summer as the planet warms, worsening impacts on health and agriculture. The study, published in journal Nature Climate Change, also shows that limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels in line with the Paris Agreement would largely avoid these additional impacts.  
Highly seasonal water supplies from the Himalayan watersheds of Jhelum, Kabul and upper Indus basin are critical for managing the world's largest contiguous irrigation system of the Indus basin and its dependent agrarian economy of Pakistan. Here, we assess changes in the contrasting hydrological regimes of these Himalayan watersheds, and subsequent water availability under the Paris Agreement 2015 targets that aim of limiting the mean global warming to 1.5 °C, and further, well below 2.0 °C relative to pre-industrial levels.  
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently published its Special Report on 1.5°C (SR15) to guide implementation of the Paris Agreement. Governments are tasked with developing long-term low emission sustainable development strategies (LT-LEDS) in line with the 1.5°C goal, and are invited to submit them by 2020. This briefing lays out the key findings of the IPCC SR15 that inform governments in their task to develop and submit LT-LEDS, and inform the continuous scaling up of near- and mid-term action and targets, including in Nationally Determined contributions (NDCs), in line with the ratcheting-up mechanism enshrined in the Paris Agreement.  
The European Union‘s targets and policies are not yet compatible with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C limit. This report, the second country assessment in the Climate Action Tracker's Scaling Up Climate Action Series, analyses areas where the European Union could accelerate its climate action. The report illustrates GHG emissions reductions from such actions, along with other benefits.  
Integrated Assessment Models of climate change mitigation, assessed in IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C (IPCC SR1.5), show a large spectrum of 1.5°C- compatible pathways that limit warming to this level during the century, or exceed it by only a limited amount of less than 0.1°C (“low overshoot”). This Climate Analytics submission to the Talanoa Dialogue, which unpacks in some detail the implications of these pathways.  
Germany needs to phase coal out of its electricity sector by 2030 to meet its obligations under the Paris Agreement. This is earlier than the dates discussed so far by the Coal Commission, a body established to come up with a coal exit plan by the end of 2018. If Germany follows the Paris Agreement compatible pathway we propose here, it can also make significant steps towards meeting its 2020 emission reduction targets – something seen as impossible at the moment. Under a planned and structured coal phase out, energy security and reliability of electricity supply is not expected to be a major concern and will be manageable. As well as reduced health impacts, a coal exit from electricity generation by 2030 in Germany will bring added benefits in job creation, helping to smooth the transition to a zero-carbon energy system.  
Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs) models are used to evaluate the technological and economic feasibility of climate goals such as the Paris Agreement’s long-term temperature goal to hold global warming well below 2˚C and pursue efforts to limit this warming to 1.5˚C above pre-industrial. The results of these models are assessed in Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports, and play a central role in the IPCC Special Report “Global Warming of 1.5°C” (SR1.5). This briefing sets out some of the important context and caveats in relation to understanding IAMs and their results, particularly in relation to the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C limit.  

Projects

IMPACT is a cross-cutting, multi-faceted project that aims to strengthen the connections between the scientific assessments of climate impacts, vulnerability and adaptation to help enable access to finance and help Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) implement concrete projects.  
The EU-funded project “Constraining uncertainty of multi-decadal climate projections” (CONSTRAIN) will address crucial knowledge gaps in climate science to significantly improve our understanding of how natural and human factors affect multi-decadal regional climate change. The project will deliver improved climate projections of policy relevance for the next 20 to 50 years, contributing to European research on fundamental climate system processes and climate variability.  
The ISIpedia project is an effort to bridge a gap between the modellers from the Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project (ISIMIP) studying the global and regional impacts of climate change on natural and human systems, and stakeholders who may need this knowledge to identify appropriate policies. By creating channels of cooperation between modellers and stakeholders, ISIpedia aims at facilitating the co-production and knowledge transfer of climate impact information. The end-product of ISIpedia will be a user-friendly, freely accessible online encyclopaedia for consistent impacts projections across sectors.  
The "Climate Action Tracker" is an independent science-based assessment, which tracks the emission commitments and actions of countries.  
Science and policy to assist and support SIDSs and LDCs to negotiate a strong international climate regime, enabling low carbon development and supporting adaptation needs.  
This project aims to establish a scientifically robust and transparent link between the latest climate-economic science data and the Climate Bonds Initiative’s project universe. The Framework's goal is to ensure that project categories certified under the Climate Bond Standards represent mitigation actions that current climate science finds most relevant in order to keep global warming below 2° C. Project period: 2015 - 2016.