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Event recap: Future Earth at COP23

This page will be regularly updated as more resources become available.

The United Nations’ annual climate negotiations, the 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP23) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), took place on 6 to 17 November 2017. This event brought together delegates from nearly 200 nations to discuss how the world could meet the ambitions of the Paris Agreement on climate change – an international effort to curb human-caused climate change.

Future Earth and members of our community were involved in a variety of side events, press conferences and public events, spread across the two weeks of discussions. All our events emphasised the larger picture of climate change, often placing climate action within the context of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. See below for a summary of each of our events along with resources, including presentations, photos and videos.

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Reframing the Climate Debate: Enhancing the Paris Agreement and SDG linkages

Organised by: Future Earth, the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), University of Venice and University of Maryland.

This event was held twice, once on 6 November and again on 15 November. Both events focused on The World in 2050. This new initiative seeks to develop sustainable development pathways that the world can follow within safe planetary boundaries. Participants in the event discussed how the initiative aims to address a broad spectrum of transformational challenges related to the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Start video at 7:02:00:

Luis Gomez Echeverri (slides here) moderated both events, with a different panel each day:

Monday, 6 November

Manuel Pulgar Vidal

Johan Rockström Stockholm Resilience Centre

The World in 2050: Sustainable Development Goals & Paris Climate Agreement within Planetary Boundaries

Keywan Riahi IIASA

Developing pathways to sustainability – the importance of aiming for synergies

Asun St. Clair DNV and Future Earth Paradoxes for transformative action: The role of social sciences and the humanities

 Wednesday, 15 November

Bambang P.S. Brodjonegoro

Minister for the National Development Planning Agency of Indonesia Implementing the Paris Agreement & SDG’s in Indonesia
Nebojsa Nakicenovic IIASA The World in 2050
Carlo Carraro University of Venice Impacts of the Paris Agreements on Sustainable Development Goals
Nathan Hultman University of Maryland Integrating national SDG, NDC, and LTS processes with  enhanced research capacity
Pauline Scheelbeek LSHTM and Future Earth Climate change impact on human health

Catalysing Climate Action, Realizing the SDGs: Science, Interconnections & Implementation

Organised by: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS), German Development Institute (DIE), Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI) (in cooperation with Future Earth and the World Climate Research Programme)

To realise global sustainability and climate action, the world must appreciate the interconnections between the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement. Science and innovation are key to understanding and supporting integrated implementation of Sustainable Development Goals and climate actions across the Global North and South.

The event was moderated by Imme Scholz of the German Development Institute and the panel consisted of:

Martin Visbeck

GEOMAR and German Committee Future Earth  
Leena Shrivastava TERI University Climate Action, SDGs and Resilience
Joanes Atela African Centre for Technology Studies  
Asun St. Clair DNV and Future Earth  
Maria Amparo Martinez Arroyo IAI and INECC  
Edith Adera International Development Research Centre

Where and when habitability limits of the Earth will be reached due to climate change?

Organised by: International Council for Science (ICSU), Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) and the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), with contributions from United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON) and Future Earth.

Climate change will shape changes in the natural and the human environment, which might exceed the limits within which some species, including humans, can adapt. Science must explore where and when habitability limits will be reached. The event demonstrated scientific progress in this domain.

Martin Visbeck introduces the side event. Photo: German Committee Future Earth:

The following speakers were involved in the event:

Martin Visbeck

GEOMAR, ICSU, WCRP and German Committee Future Earth Where and when habitability limits of the Earth will be reached due to climate change?
Jana Sillmann CICERO Norway Climate extremes in a warming world
Markus Reichstein Max Plank Institute for Biogeochemistry and Future Earth Climate extremes – impacts and risk
cascades for ecosystems and society
Konstantinos Alexopoulos UNECE Climate change impacts and adaptation for transport networks and nodes
Jan Newton University of Washington and GOA-ON Observing Ocean Acidification:
Working together globally to make a difference locally

#CitiesIPCC: Advancing science to accelerate effective climate action in human settlements

The event was organised by Global Climate Action.

The session promoted and discussed climate action for cities based on science, practice and policy. It brought together representatives from scientific bodies and local, regional and national governments, policy-makers and urban and climate change practitioners. Discussions  addressed the 2018 Science Conference on Cities and Climate Change. The conference, which will take place in March 2018, will focus on improving scientific knowledge and stimulating research underpinning effective and efficient urban responses to climate change. It will also provide inputs to the products of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Seth Schultz, the Director of Science & Innovation at C40, moderated the event and was joined by the following speakers:

Paul Ross

Manager of Economic & Environmental Sustainability City of Edmonton
Shannon Phillips Minister of Environment and Parks Province of Alberta
William Cobbett Director Cities Alliance
Joan Clos Executive Director UN-Habitat
Boram Lee Senior Scientific Officer World Meteorological Organization
Martina Otto Head of Cities Unit UN Environment
Hoesung Lee Chair IPCC
Dr. M. Wolff Director Energy & Climate German Ministry for Education and Research
Aisa Kirabo Kacyira Deputy Executive Director UN-Habitat
Janet Sanz Cid Deputy Mayor of Ecology, Urban Planning and Mobility City of Barcelona
Dr. Deon Terblanche Director of Research World Meteorological Organization
Jenny Gerbasi President Federation of Canadian Municipalities
Mohammed Adjei Sowah Mayor City of Accra, Ghana

Global Data to Drive Climate Resilience and Action: An Introduction to Climate Watch and the Partnership for Resilience and Preparedness (PREP)

Climate Watch and PREPdata are new, innovative and data-centered platforms designed to increase the transparency of and access to data to empower informed and efficient decision-making on adapting to and mitigating climate change. The event included a walk-through of Climate Watch and the PREP platforms, focusing on the scope and concept of the two tools and how they can benefit adaptation and resilience practitioners, particularly those in vulnerable regions such as small island developing states (SIDS).

Future Earth is a partner in PREP, which will launch PREPdata in January 2018. This platform provides users from local government, agricultural organisations and more with tools for visualising and mapping a range of climate and socioeconomic data.

Global Climate Data to Build Climate Resilience and Drive Action

The Global Carbon Budget 2017 and tracking progress towards the NDCs

Organised by: the University of East Anglia, University of Manchester and the Global Carbon Project.

Leading researchers unveiled the 2017 Global Carbon Budget at a press conference at COP23, followed by a side event. This new report shows why the global growth in carbon dioxide emissions flattened between 2014 and 2016 and gives projections for 2017. The press conference delved into the drivers of emission reductions in 35 nations over the last decade and tracked progress toward the Nationally Determined Contributions, which were developed through the Paris Agreement. See the full slides for this report.

For more information:

You can also watch this video in Spanish here.

The speakers at the side event included:

Corinne Le Quéré

University of East Anglia and Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
Glen Peters CICERO Norway
Rob Jackson Stanford University
Asher Minns University of East Anglia and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
Mark New University of Cape Town
Kevin Anderson Uppsala University, the University of Manchester and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research

The 10 Science ‘Must Knows’ on Climate Change

The research community came together to deliver a statement to UNFCCC and national climate negotiators, outlining the rationale for ambitious action to meet the Paris Agreement and laying out how the world can rapidly decarbonise its economies.

The statement was released at a press conference. Watch a video of that event here.

Read the statement here.

10 Science 'Must Knows' on Climate Change

UNFCCC Director of Communications Nick Nuttall chaired the press conference, joined by:

Patricia Espinosa

UNFCCC Executive Secretary
Johan Rockström Stockholm Resilience Centre
Wendy Broadgate Future Earth
Hans Joachim Schellnhuber Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

2020: The necessary, desirable and achievable turning point to safeguard our climate

If global carbon dioxide emissions continue to rise beyond 2020, or even remain level, the  commitments set through the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals agreed on in 2015 become unattainable.

Read the full report: 2020: The climate turning point

The full event can be viewed online here.

Mission 2020: Roadmap for rapid decarbonisation

Mary Robinson, the President of the Mary Robinson Foundation for Climate Justice, chaired the event, joined by:

Christiana Figueres

Mission 2020
Johan Rockström Stockholm Resilience Centre
Kevin Anderson Uppsala University, the University of Manchester and Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
Hans Joachim Schellnhuber Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

SDG Media Zone

The Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI), Future Earth's strategic partner in Latin America,  teamed up with the PVBLIC Foundation to launch a campaign around "Science for Action." They shot on-camera interviews and launched discussions about how the world can build "action towards a sustainable future."

Public event on Cities and Climate

Organised by: German Committee Future Earth in collaboration with Future Earth, in particular the Urban Knowledge-Action Network

The project group “SDGs at the urban level" and the working group “Urban sustainability transformations” came together to deliver a two-hour morning session on “How do cities contribute to the implementation of the Paris Agreement and the SDGs? A view from Germany.”

The afternoon featured a workshop with city planners led by Kerstin Krellenberg, Florian Koch and Barbara Malburg-Graf.

Speakers and panelists at the morning session included:

Kerstin Krellenberg

German Committee Future Earth, Tilia and UFZ
Ashok Sridharan Mayor of Stadt Bonn
Florian Koch German Committee Future Earth and UFZ
Barbara Malburg-Graf German Committee Future Earth
Thorsten Kiefer Future Earth
Marie-Alexandra Kurth Cities Alliance and Future Earth Urban Knowledge-Action Network
Peter Pätzold Deputy Mayor for Urban Design and Environment, City of Stuttgart
Cornelia Rösler Head of the Department of Environment, DIFU German Institute of Urban Affairs
Reiner Erben

Deputy Mayor for Environment, Sustainability and Migration, City of Augsburg