Ten new insights in climate science 2021: A horizon scan

Maria A. Martin*, Olga Alcaraz Sendra, Ana Bastos, Nico Bauer, Christoph Bertram, Thorsten Blenckner, Kathryn Bowen, Paulo M. Brando, Tanya Brodie Rudolph, Milena Büchs, Mercedes Bustamante, Deliang Chen, Helen Cleugh, Purnamita Dasgupta, Fatima Denton, Jonathan F. Donges, Felix Kwabena Donkor, Hongbo Duan, Carlos M. Duarte, Kristie L. EbiClea M. Edwards, Anja Engel, Eleanor Fisher, Sabine Fuss, Juliana Gaertner, Andrew Gettelman, Cécile A.J. Girardin, Nicholas R. Golledge, Jessica F. Green, Michael R. Grose, Masahiro Hashizume, Sophie Hebden, Helmke Hepach, Marina Hirota, Huang Hsiung Hsu, Satoshi Kojima, Sharachchandra Lele, Sylvia Lorek, Heike K. Lotze, H. Damon Matthews, Darren McCauley, Desta Mebratu, Nadine Mengis, Rachael H. Nolan, Erik Pihl, Stefan Rahmstorf, Aaron Redman, Colleen E. Reid, Johan Rockström, Joeri Rogelj, Marielle Saunois, Lizzie Sayer, Peter Schlosser, Giles B. Sioen, Joachim H. Spangenberg, Detlef Stammer, Thomas N.S. Sterner, Nicola Stevens, Kirsten Thonicke, Hanqin Tian, Ricarda Winkelmann, James Woodcock

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

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Non-technical summary We summarize some of the past year's most important findings within climate change-related research. New research has improved our understanding about the remaining options to achieve the Paris Agreement goals, through overcoming political barriers to carbon pricing, taking into account non-CO2 factors, a well-designed implementation of demand-side and nature-based solutions, resilience building of ecosystems and the recognition that climate change mitigation costs can be justified by benefits to the health of humans and nature alone. We consider new insights about what to expect if we fail to include a new dimension of fire extremes and the prospect of cascading climate tipping elements. Technical summary A synthesis is made of 10 topics within climate research, where there have been significant advances since January 2020. The insights are based on input from an international open call with broad disciplinary scope. Findings include: (1) the options to still keep global warming below 1.5 °C; (2) the impact of non-CO2 factors in global warming; (3) a new dimension of fire extremes forced by climate change; (4) the increasing pressure on interconnected climate tipping elements; (5) the dimensions of climate justice; (6) political challenges impeding the effectiveness of carbon pricing; (7) demand-side solutions as vehicles of climate mitigation; (8) the potentials and caveats of nature-based solutions; (9) how building resilience of marine ecosystems is possible; and (10) that the costs of climate change mitigation policies can be more than justified by the benefits to the health of humans and nature. Social media summary How do we limit global warming to 1.5 °C and why is it crucial? See highlights of latest climate science.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
JournalGlobal Sustainability
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (R.W., grant number Wl4556/3-1); the ERC Consolidation Grant GLASST (J.W.); the European Research Council Advanced Grant project ERA (Earth Resilience in the Anthropocene) (J.F.D., grant number ERC-2016-ADG-743080); the European Space Agency (S.H.); the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (R.W., grant numbers 820575, 869304) (T.B., grant number 820989) (Joer.R., grant number 820829) (C.B., grant number 821471); FORMAS (T.B.); the German Federal Ministry (BMBF) as a Research for Sustainability initiative (FONA) (R.W); the H2020 FirEUrisk (K.T., grant number 101003890); the H2020 JUSTNORTH (D.M.); the H2020 PROBONO and NWO (D.M.); the KR Foundation, Denmark (L.S.); the Leibniz Association project DominoES (J.F.D.) (R.W.); the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (H.K.L., grant number NSERC RGPIN-2021-02395) (H.D.M., grant number RGPIN-2017-04159); the National Science Foundation of China (H.D., grant numbers 71874177, 72022019); the NERC_Formas-DBT project ‘Nature4SDGs’ (S.L., grant number BT/IN/TaSE/73/SL/2018-19); the New South Wales Department of Planning, via the NSW Bushfire Risk Management Research Hub (R.H.N.); the Oxford Martin School funding (C.G.); the PalMod project (R.W., grant number FKZ: 01LP1925D); the Royal Society Te Apārangi (N.R.G., grant number RDFVUW1501); the Serrapilheira Institute (M.H., grant number Serra-1707-18983); the Swedish national priority research areas BECC and MERGE (D.C.); the Trapnell Fund (University of Oxford) (N.S.); the UK Centre for Research on Energy Demand Solutions (M.B., grant number EP/R035288/1)

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press.


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