Climate change will affect all parts of society, with serious consequences at regional and global levels. Researchers from RD2 integrate climate impacts across sectors and scales in novel ways, including climate extremes, socio-economic damages and costs. We assess sector-specific adaptation options and explore synergies between adaptation, mitigation, and human development. After IPCC AR5, the scientific community is in the position that we know that the climate is changing, and that it is anthropogenic. We also know, in principle, how to reduce emissions to limit global warming and what socio-economic costs this may entail.
The global agreement on climate protection reached at the COP21 in Paris clearly declares the target of “Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels” (Paris Agreement). In addition, the agreement includes the request to “the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to provide a special report in 2018 on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways”. At the same time current emission reduction targets would still lead to significantly higher levels of warming of about 3°C.
RD2 will strengthen its focus on comprehensive quantifications of the impacts of climate change on natural and social systems, which is urgently needed. Moreover, RD2 will continue to assess suitable strategies and solutions for adaptation and sustainable development at different spatial scales and administrative levels. A major challenge for climate impact research remains a lack of methods for aggregation, uncertainty analysis, and synthesis of climate impacts across regions, sectors, and scales. Furthermore, changing frequencies in extreme events have to be taken into account. Despite a wide spectrum of region-specific and sector-specific case studies on climate impacts, vulnerabilities, and adaptation strategies, no clear global picture has yet emerged. Therefore, RD2 develops long-term socio-economic impact modelling approaches as part of the Potsdam Integrated Assessment Modelling Framework (PIAM).
Figure: Regions worldwide where RD2 carries out impact studies