Shaping the next breakthrough in climate science: Research priorities in 2016 and beyond

horizon above white clouds in blue sky and lands under clouds

Shaping the next breakthrough in climate science: Research priorities in 2016 and beyond

May 11, 2016
|

The COP21 proceedings in December 2015 and subsequent Paris Agreement signalled the beginning of a new phase of action on climate change. Policymakers, business and academia now have an important role to work together to address the identified gaps in our knowledge, to understand the options and develop actions for a low-carbon future.

AVOID is a UK government-funded research programme into climate change, involving a multidisciplinary consortium of UK research organisations. AVOID 2 ran from February 2014 to March 2016, following the first AVOID programme which took place from 2009 to 2013. It looked to provide scientifically-robust, policy-relevant analysis to answer the questions: “What are the characteristics of ‘dangerous’ climate change?”, “What greenhouse gas emissions pathways will avoid ‘dangerous’ climate change?” and “What is the feasibility of such pathways?”

Some of these findings were presented at a meeting on 10 March 2016 with academic, business, policymaking and research council stakeholders. The attendees were then asked to discuss what science can do for climate policy in 2016 and onwards.

This document presents the responses of the meeting attendees, with a focus on the research themes they prioritised to be addressed in the next one to five years. Each priority could become an individual proposal for a research programme, though many are multidisciplinary, requiring research communities to consider how to better work together. In many cases, synthesising existing results could help to better understand data gaps, particularly ahead of new multidisciplinary studies, and to inform larger research programmes.