Supporting policymaking at COP26: 4C brings policy-relevant climate research to the summit

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4C researchers present the latest climate research at the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) in support of the need for urgent climate action.

The UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP) is the yearly summit that brings together world leaders, scientists and civil society to discuss greenhouse gas emissions and the measures that have been taken or need to be taken to address climate change. 

The conference is crucial for negotiating action to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees and aiming at 1.5 degrees, in line with the Paris Agreement, which was first adopted during COP21 in 2015. 

COP26 is the 26th COP summit, taking place in Glasgow, UK between 31 October and 12 November 2021. 

4C at COP26

The H2020-funded project 4C, conducting research on the global carbon cycle and climate-carbon interactions in the 21st century, will be take part at three events taking place in the framework of COP26. 

The 4C team works to improve our understanding of the carbon that can be emitted before reaching the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement. In time for the 2023 Global Stocktake, the project also attempts to inform on the potential impacts of implementing the nationally determined contributions (NDCs), i.e. the efforts needed by each country to lower their national emissions and adapt to climate change. 

During COP26, 4C will publish its annual Carbon Outlook for 2021. In addition, the events in which 4C is participating at COP26 are described below.

Launch of the Global Carbon Budget 2021

An annual report on the Global Carbon Budget is produced by a team of climate scientists part of the Global Carbon Project, many of whom are also part of the 4C consortium.

The carbon budget shows the amount of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere as a result of human activities during the past year, and how this was partially balanced by uptake of carbon by ocean and land carbon sinks (read more on carbon sinks in the 4C Climate Classroom #2). This report is a product of cutting-edge climate research and is invaluable for policymaking, as it helps monitor the impacts of human activities on climate change and push for appropriate action.

The launch of the Global Carbon Budget for 2021 will take place at COP26 on Thursday 4 November 2021 at 9:30 am (GMT) at the UN-IPCC Science Pavilion, Glasgow, UK.

A number of 4C scientists, including Pierre Friedlingstein, Corinne Le Quéré and Glen P. Peters among others, will take part in the presentation of the carbon budget. 

After the launch, 4C will also be present in the Green Zone at the COP26 UK Universities Network stand on 4 November from 2:00-4:00 pm (GMT).


1.5°C: where are we now, where are we headed, what are the risks? 

A UN side event is co-organised by 4C researchers, which will consist of a series of short talks, followed by a panel discussion. This session will discuss the 2021 rebound in carbon emissions, what it means for the 1.5°C ambition, the impacts and risks of continued warming, and how we can build greater resilience to those risks.

This event will be take place on Wednesday 10 November at 11:30-12:45 (GMT) online at Multimedia Studio 3 (for COP delegates). The preliminary agenda can be found below:

  • Where are we now: Results from the latest Global Carbon Budget – Speaker: Pierre Friedlingstein
  • Where are we heading: Constrained climate projections and global average pathways, implications for remaining carbon budgets and keeping below 1.5°C, getting to net zero, tipping points/extreme weather events in the future and which regions will be impacted the most – Speaker: Piers Forster, CONSTRAIN project
  • Risks and resilience: Resilience in the Global South at a national and regional level, learning from communities about the existing risks and how they are building resilience, how the international community can come together to help – Speaker: Ros Cornforth
  • Panel discussion: Richard Betts (chair), Jason Lowe, Joeri Rogelj, Debra Roberts, Adelle Thomas, Rex Barrer

How the latest research on climate change can support the UNFCCC Global Stocktake under the Paris Agreement?

A panel discussion will take on how civil society and climate scientists can contribute to an effective Global Stocktake (GST) and the realisation of the Paris Agreement. Five EU-funded research projects conducting climate change research and modelling will participate in the session, including 4C, CRESCENDO, CONSTRAIN, PROVIDE and ESM2025. The event will take place on 10 November 2021 at 10:00 am (GMT) online.


Article image source: UNFCCC Flickr