10 New Insights in Climate Science at COP28: Rapid fossil fuels phase-out crucial for minimising 1.5°C overshoot

12/03/2023 - Today, global experts in social and natural sciences have unveiled the annual 10 New Insights in Climate Science report. The report represents the efforts of 67 leading researchers, including several scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), to synthesize the latest insights in climate change research in order to help inform negotiations at the ongoing COP28 and policy implementation through 2024 and beyond.
10 New Insights in Climate Science at COP28: Rapid fossil fuels phase-out crucial for minimising 1.5°C overshoot

Simon Stiell, UNFCCC Executive Secretary said: “The 10 New Insights in Climate Science report provides an essential tool for decision makers at a critical time in the climate calendar each year. Scientific findings from reports like these should inform the ambitious and evidence-based action plans needed in this critical decade of accelerated climate action.” 

The report findings highlight the impending inevitability of overshooting the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C global warming target and the urgency of a rapid and managed fossil fuel phase-out. Furthermore, the report stresses the need for enhanced just climate adaptation strategies that proactively address simultaneous interconnected extreme events and ensure resilience for the most vulnerable. 

 Top 10 Climate Science Insights:  

  1. Overshooting 1.5°C is fast becoming inevitable. Minimising the magnitude and duration of overshoot is essential. 
  2. A rapid and managed fossil fuel phase-out is required to stay within the Paris Agreement target range. 
  3. Robust policies are critical to attain the scale needed for effective carbon dioxide removal (CDR).  
  4. Over-reliance on natural carbon sinks is a risky strategy; their future contribution is uncertain.
  5. Joint governance is necessary to address the interlinked climate and biodiversity emergencies.
  6. Compound events amplify climate risks and increase their uncertainty. 
  7. Mountain glacier loss is accelerating.  
  8. Human immobility in areas with climate risks is increasing.  
  9. New tools to operationalise justice enable more effective climate adaptation.  
  10. Reforming food systems can contribute to just climate action.  

"Science is clear. COP28 must be the global meeting when the world gets serious about phasing out fossil-fuels. Dubai is the grand mitigation moment for coal, oil and gas, which need to shift from increasing 1%/yr to decreasing globally by at least 5 %/yr, and for nature by protecting remaining carbon sinks and stocks in ecosystems, plus building resilience and new carbon sinks in agriculture. So far, we have failed on both nature and energy, taking us on a dangerous path towards losing sight of the Paris Agreement target - the 1.5°C biophysical limit”, PIK director Johan Rockström says.

The 10 New Insights in Climate Science series, launched with the UNFCCC at the COPs since 2017, is a collaborative initiative of Future Earth, the Earth League and the World Climate Research Programme, synthesising the latest developments in climate change research. This year’s report represents the collective efforts of 67 leading researchers from 24 countries.