Next week in Morocco, this year's annual UN climate change meeting -- COP22 -- will open on an optimistic note. The historic agreement achieved last year in Paris went into force today. It has now been ratified by 97 countries, including many national members of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), such as Brazil, China, India, Mexico, and the USA. The process was one of the fastest ratifications of an international treaty in history.
With the agreement in effect, COP22 has been designated "the COP of action," and the focus will be on implementation of the agreement and detailed questions of enforcement, commitment, and issues such as the loss and damage due to climate change, which are already occurring.
At IIASA, which hosted one of the first scientific meetings on climate change back in 1978, the agreement has been a long time coming. Since that first meeting, IIASA scientists have produced research on all aspects of climate change. They have contributed to a stack of books on the issue that could fill a library: all five of the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the 2012 Global Energy Assessment, countless journal articles, and special reports on issues such as adaptation, renewable energy, and more.
Yet while the mood at the institute is celebratory, researchers are quick to point out that the scientific work on the climate change problem is far from complete. "This is a breakthrough moment for the international community. IIASA has contributed so much to the science behind this agreement, and will continue to do so. But at the same time, we need to be aware of the challenges that remain. There is still a big gap between the targets set in the agreement, and the climate pledges we have today," says IIASA Director General and CEO Professor Dr. Pavel Kabat.
"The Paris Agreement has increased the ambition level on climate change -- this is a heartening development after so many years of working on the topic. But the transformation towards a sustainable future not only includes a rapid response to climate change -- now more than ever we need systemic approaches that can bring integrated solutions with multiple benefits and reduced costs, on climate change as well as other areas of sustainable development. This is more pertinent new than ever, with the 2015 adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, which provide us with an aspirational future for human development and the needed transformations to stay below 2°C," says IIASA Deputy Director General/Deputy CEO Professor Dr. Nebojsa Nakicenovic.
Materials provided by International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
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