IPPC told us how long time does science take

[Versión en español]

Time is valuable. Especially now when we get told that no time is left.
The discussions about the inclusion of the IPCC 1.5 Special Report continue at the conference in Bonn.
The Special Report estimates that we only have 11 years left for limiting the global temperature increase to 1.5 if we want to avoid climate change catastrophe. 
Yesterday, during the informal consultation meeting on the matter, countries expressed mixed views on how to move forward with the issue. 

Science will be science

Scientific methodological concerns linked to the short timing in which the report had been commissioned and delivered had been raised by the umbrella group including the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. It had literally been said: science takes time. We decided to address the question to a representative of the IPCC.  How much time does science require? “Science will never be 100% settled” told us Jim Skea Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III on Mitigation. “There will never get to the point in which we can say “we sorted out the science”. Science will always move forward”.

The IPCC Special Report on 1.5, released last October, was commissioned by the UNFCCC in 2015 in the context of the adoption of the Paris Agreement with the purpose of strengthening the global response to climate change. “There was enough evidence out there for us to feel confident that that was the best possible document to be published. The underlying report scientists had produced was truth to the science available at the time.” continued Skea.

The outcomes are clear. In earlier interviews  relating to the report he commented that “limiting warming to 1.5°C is possible within the laws of chemistry and physics but doing so would require unprecedented changes,” . Who is up for the challenge?

Overviews on countries’ views

The EU highlighted that the report identifies pathways to follow and it tells us there are options. It recognised that gap might exists despite the fact that, however, the paper itself cannot be looked in isolation.  In fact, five more Special Reports have been commissioned by the UNFCCC which can integrate the knowledge already shared until now. At the same time the EU delegation focused on the internalisation of the report by civil society and the public: we are indeed already using it. Both at a societal and at a policy making level.

Countries such as Costa Rica, Argentina and Mexico, highlighted how the report guides the national climate policies and increases the ambitions in their NDCs. We know that AILAC and AOSIS will still be pushing to continue the discussions of the science of the IPCC report.

“AILAC strongly defends the 1.5 report. We believe that science is key to generate information and build public policies. From our perspective, the IPCC is the best science available. The report is robust and it allows us to understand the effects of that half-degree difference, and that solutions are possible to reach the goal” told us Andrea Meza climate change director at Costa Rica’s Ministry of Environment and Energy from the Costa Rican delegation.

In the meetings countries asked how to move forward from here. The latest agreement from the consultation is that preliminary conclusions will be drafted by the UN Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice  in the coming days and will continue to be discussed in closed-door meetings as well as informal consultations.

This is just the beginning of the Bonn Climate Conference, but in the meantime, time is passing.


co-writers: Daniela De Lorenzo, Andrea Garcia Salinas