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Six burning questions for climate science to answer post-Paris

Four CSIRO climate scientists write in The Conversation (29.2.16) about the issues most in need of addressing in the wake of the Paris climate agreement in December, 2015. They argue that, more than ever, there is a need for ‘strong’ climate action based on ‘robust’ climate science.

‘Much has been written about the challenge of achieving the targets set out in the Paris climate agreement, which calls for global warming to be held well below 2℃ and ideally within 1.5℃ of pre-industrial temperatures.

‘That’s the headline goal, but the Paris agreement also calls for a strong focus on climate science as well as on curbing greenhouse emissions. Article 7.7c of the agreement specifically calls for:

Strengthening scientific knowledge on climate, including research, systematic observation of the climate system and early warning systems, in a manner that informs climate services and supports decision-making.

‘The next paragraph also calls on countries to help poorer nations, which have less scientific capability, to do the same. But what are the many elements of climate science that need strengthening to achieve the aims of the Paris agreement?

‘… The Paris agreement proves that the world’s nations know we need strong climate action. But society faces tough choices as we seek to find economically, socially and environmentally feasible ways to meet the targets. Informed decisions will depend on robust science at both local and global scales, which means that far from being done, climate science is now more important than ever.’

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