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.

Publications

The commonly agreed metric to aggregate emissions and removals of greenhouse gases under the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement is the Global Warming Potential with a 100-year time-horizon (GWP100). Since the Agreement was adopted, new scientific concepts emerged, such as GWP*. This briefing looks at the pitfalls of applying this new metric.  
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.  

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.  
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.