Making Connections to Translate Climate Research into Effective Action

Thursday, December 15, 2016 - 13:40
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Climate change is strongly apparent at many scales and facets of the Earth system including glacier retreat, increased ocean acidity, altered meteorological patterns, and changing ecosystems. There is general recognition that a more strategic and coordinated response is needed to ameliorate these impacts on communities and to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5°C imposed by the 2015 Paris agreement. However, concrete plans to achieve these goals require actionable and specific guidance from the scientific community that is targeted for specific stakeholder groups within government agencies, industry, and individuals, while also supporting decision-makers plans and policies. This guidance depends on scientific advances that establish quantified predictions and minimize the levels of uncertainty. Although, these advances are ongoing; the decision maker, civil society organizations, and business and investor communities are not waiting for perfection. The urgency of taking action now has brought new approaches to the fore that try to bring the best available science into the business and decision making process.

Combining a breadth of expertise, we highlight the specific transmission pathways of information needed for stakeholders, and it spans initial data collection and climate model construction, experimentation, analysis, synthesis of results, education, to government, communities, and business planning to reduce impacts and minimize additional human-caused contributions. We propose a multi-pathway relay along these paths. In one direction we encourage scientists to provide accessible and useable summary results with uncertainties to educators and stakeholders, who in turn need to collate results in a manner that enables interested parties to identify their specific mitigation action. In the other direction, stakeholders and shareholders are already requesting more comprehensive verification, validation, and active linkages to the way in which governments, business and investing decisions are made such that capital is deployed to the greatest number of solutions. Furthermore, businesses can get into the emissions reductions game now. We suggest several incentives to encourage more communication and synthesis along these engagement paths.

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