Highlights: Day one at the 1.5C conference on climate change in Oxford

More than 200 climate science and policy researchers, economists and social scientists have descended this week on Keble College in Oxford for a two-day conference entitled “1.5 degrees: Meeting the challenges of the Paris Agreement.”

arctic ice cap melt

The conference has been organised by the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford.

Up for discussion is what kind of evidence the scientific community will need to produce to feed into a special report on 1.5C, requested by the United Nations after Paris and due for publication in 2018.

High profile start

A public event on Tuesday night in Oxford town hall featured several of the architects of the Paris Agreement, ensuring the conference got off to an optimistic start.

Janos Pasztor, senior advisor to the UN Secretary-General, spoke about the policy community passing the baton to the scientists. He told the audience: “Clearly, a policy decision was taken first, but 1.5C and 2C are not inconsistent with science. I’m not worried.”

Laurence Tubiana, French ambassador for the climate negotiations, offered an insight into the diplomatic processes credited with the success of the Paris agreement. Carbon Brief spoke to Tubiana afterwards about the questions scientists now need to answer about 1.5C.

She told us: “The scientists have to be very clear on the reality: where we are with the carbon budget that is left; how much we have to peak by 2020…And it’s very important that the impacts are clearly understood – the difference between 1.5C and 2C and beyond.”

Climate impacts

A key theme for day one at the 1.5C conference was understanding the impacts on natural and human systems of 1.5C of warming, and how they might compare to those at 2C. In the video below, Carbon Brief talks to:

  • Prof Corinne Le Quéré, professor of climate change science and policy at the University of East Anglia and director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.
  • Dr Valérie Masson-Delmotte, senior scientist at the Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement and co-chair of IPCC Working Group I.
  • Dr Friederike Otto, lecturer in physical geography at the University of Oxford and research fellow at Environmental Change Institute.
  • Prof David Keith, Gordon McKay professor of applied physics and professor of public policy at Harvard University.
  • Dr Joeri Rogelj, research scholar at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA).

This story was originally published by Carbon Brief under a Creative Commons’ License and was republished with permission. Read the full story.

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