18 July 2016

Lessons from Madrid for next climate talks



•To summarize some of the scientific “lessons learned” in the 20 years since publication of the Second Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

•Focus is on advances in the area of climate change detection and attribution (“D&A”)


•The 1995 Second Assessment Report reached the historic finding that: “The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate”

•DOE-funded ‘climate fingerprint’ research made a significant contribution to this finding

•After publication of the 1995 IPCC report, the “discernible human influence” conclusion was subject to criticism

•This criticism was addressed in many subsequent fingerprint studies

•The “discernible human influence” has consistently been affirmed – and confirmed – by subsequent fingerprint research, and by post-1995 IPCC, NAS, and CCSP assessments


Provides a personal perspective on scientific lessons learned from the November 1995 plenary meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Benjamin Santer
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL)
2016.  "Lessons from Madrid for next climate talks."  doi:10.1038/527165a.