NERC researchers contribute to key UN climate change report

Polar bear on ice

NERC and other UKRI-funded researchers account for 87% of Working Group 1 UK authors of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change sixth assessment report

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the UN body for assessing the science related to climate change. The Working Group 1 section deals with the physical science basis of climate change.

The report has bought together substantial evidence clearly showing, with increasing certainty, that limiting the future negative impacts of climate change will require reaching at least net zero CO2 emissions, along with strong reductions in other greenhouse gas emissions. Without these measures global warming of 1.5°C and 2°C will be exceeded during the 21st century

Adding to UKRI’s long tradition of investing in cutting-edge research and innovation to mitigate the effects of climate change, our researchers have contributed expertise to understand, address and solve climate change challenges.

Environmental solutions

Professor Duncan Wingham, Executive Chair of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), part of UKRI, said:

Supporting science to bring about the environmental solutions to foster a productive, healthy and resilient environment is key to NERC’s leading role in the UK and worldwide. We fund research on the whole Earth system that contributes to the evidence base from which IPCC draws its conclusions.

I’m proud to see so many NERC and other UKRI researchers playing a central role in the IPCC reports. Our funded research is critical in supporting leaders and policymakers in setting out their pledges at the COP26 climate negotiations in three months’ time.

Researchers behind the science

NERC’s expertise has been central to the formation and assessment of reports of the IPCC since 1988. You can read about our researchers behind the science in our Planet Earth magazine. These include Professor Mike Meredith, Head of the Polar Oceans team at NERC’s British Antarctic Survey, and a Coordinating Lead Author of the IPCC’s 2019 Special Report on the Ocean’s and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate.

Commenting on the most recent report Professor Meredith said:

We have seen already how dramatic the changes in the polar regions are, with rapid sea ice loss in the Arctic, warming and acidification of the polar oceans, impacts on biodiversity and the ecosystem, and loss of ice from Antarctica and Greenland pushing up sea levels globally.

In this new report, the latest findings are integrated into our understanding of these changes, providing a state-of-the-art overview of past and ongoing climate change, and enabling updated statements concerning their likely future trajectories.

This approach will enable more robust assessments of risks to populations and societies to be made, and drives home the message of the compelling and urgent need to address the causes of climate change

Find out more

The IPCC Working Group 1 report is available on their website with the final assessment publishing in late 2022.

To read more about UKRI climate science and our presence at the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) summit in the UK in November, sign up for our Climate Change newsletter.

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