New climate change science and policy reports

Two new reports came out this week that will affect the upcoming ADP negotiations in March and June, and later at the December COP20.

On Thursday, February 27, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the U.K.’s Royal Society jointly released Climate Change: Evidence & Causes, a new publication intended to convey the current state ofNAS CC knowledge in a straight forward and simple narrative.  Written by a UK-US team of climate scientists, it offers a brief (only 36 pages and chock full of graphs, charts, tables, and photos) and readable reference document for policy makers, educators, and others that emphasizes what is well-established and where understanding is still developing.  The report is organized around such oft-asked questions as “how do we know that humans are causing GHGs to increase”, “how do we know GHGs lead to warming, “how do we know that the observed warming isn’t caused by the sun or natural cycles,” and “what choices do we have to reduce GHGs and prepare for climate change.”  This new publication builds on the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report, as well as past NAS/National Research Council studies.

On the same day, the Global Legislators Organization (GLOBE International) released the 4th edition of its Climate Legislation Study that was produced with the Grantham Research Institute at the London GLOBE-front_cover_4th_Flags_04022014-thumbSchool of Economics.  It provides information about climate legislation in 66 countries, whose combined GHG emissions comprise 88% of the global total.  As compared to the NAS/RS publication, the Study is intended as a detailed research document, coming in at 700 pages covering almost 500 pieces of legislation.  Interestingly, at the Thursday launching, keynote speeches were delivered by an array of policy leaders, including Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, Rachel Kyte, Vice President & Special Envoy for Climate Change – World Bank, and Todd Stern, US Special Envoy for Climate Change.  Given the ADP’s focus on nationally determined commitments/contributions, the Study points to how national legislation to date will shape future international climate change law.