REPORTS AND PAPERS

In 1988 NASA scientist James Hansen warned lawmakers in the US Senate of the looming dangers presented by global warming, which humans were accelerating. In the same year the United Nations (UN) and the World Meteorological Organization (WHO) formed the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to report to world leaders on the science of climate change. 

In 1990, the First IPCC Assessment Report (FAR) was published, underlining the importance of climate change as a challenge with global consequences and requiring international cooperation. It was followed by the 2nd (1995), 3rd (2001), 4th (2007) and 5th (2013-2014) with the 6th due in 2022.

On December 12, 2015 in Paris at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 21, the now-infamous Paris Agreement was written with an objective to combat climate change and to accelerate and intensify the actions and investments needed for a sustainable low carbon future. It entered into force on November 4, 2016 by which time it had been ratified by 55 countries (accounting for 55% of global emissions). Within the following two years 197 countries — every nation on earth — signed on, including the U.S. 

Unfortunately in the summer of 2017 President Trump announced that the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris Agreement. That  takes effect on November 4, 2020.

In 2020, many reports focused on the economy as it pertains to climate change, such as Mobilizing for a Zero Carbon America: Jobs, jobs, jobs, and more jobs from Rewiring America, Congress’s Action Plan for a Clean Energy Economy and a Healthy, Resilient, and Just America, and Central banking and financial stability in the age of climate change from the Bank for International Settlements. 

2020 also featured several reports on sea level rise, like Nature’s humbling Projections of global-scale extreme sea levels and resulting episodic coastal flooding over the 21st Century, and the effects of flooding. First National Flood Risk Assessment from the First Street Foundation.

Already by August, 2020 saw reports on food security and nutrition, water management, the plastic pollution of our oceans, climate induced migration, and disease. There was a critical one on the dangers of the growing demand for cooling, as our world warms — both through the leaking of HFCs and other refrigerants, and through emissions of CO2 and black carbon from the mostly fossil fuel-based energy powering air conditioners and other cooling equipment.

A note of real optimism came from The Goldman school of Public Policy in Berkeley, California: Assuming we take some real action “the U.S. can achieve 90% clean, carbon-free electricity nationwide by 2035, dependably, at no extra cost to consumers, and without new fossil fuel plants. On the path to 90% over the next 15 years, we can inject $1.7 trillion into the economy, support a net increase of more than 500K energy sector jobs each year, and reduce economy-wide emissions by 27%. This future also retires all existing coal plants by 2035, reduces natural gas generation by 70%, and prevents up to 85,000 premature deaths by 2050. But without robust policy reforms, this future will be lost.”

2020_most_important_climate_papers

2020 REPORTS & PAPERS

New Energy Outlook 2020

New_Energy_Outlook_2020

New Energy Outlook 2020

By Seb Henbest & others 01/07/21
The New Energy Outlook (NEO) is BloombergNEF’s annual long-term analysis on the future of the energy economy. Now covering transport, industry and buildings in addition to its traditional focus on the power sector, NEO leverages…
BNEF 2020

New Energy Outlook 2020

New_Energy_Outlook_2020

New Energy Outlook 2020

By Seb Henbest & others 01/07/21
The New Energy Outlook (NEO) is BloombergNEF’s annual long-term analysis on the future of the energy economy. Now covering transport, industry and buildings in addition to its traditional focus on the power sector, NEO leverages…
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Emissions Gap Report 2020

EGR20_Cover

Emissions Gap Report 2020

By UNEP, UNEP DTU Partnership 12/09/20
The report finds that, despite a brief dip in carbon dioxide emissions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the world is still heading for a temperature rise in excess of 3°C this century – far beyond…
UN 12/9/20

Emissions Gap Report 2020

EGR20_Cover

Emissions Gap Report 2020

By UNEP, UNEP DTU Partnership 12/09/20
The report finds that, despite a brief dip in carbon dioxide emissions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the world is still heading for a temperature rise in excess of 3°C this century – far beyond…
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The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2020: Transforming Food Systems for Affordable Healthy Diets

FOOD_SECURITY_2020

The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2020: Transforming Food Systems for Affordable Healthy Diets

09/18/20
Updates for many countries have made it possible to estimate hunger in the world with greater accuracy this year. In particular, newly accessible data enabled the revision of the entire series of undernourishment estimates for…
FAO 9/18/20

The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2020: Transforming Food Systems for Affordable Healthy Diets

FOOD_SECURITY_2020

The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2020: Transforming Food Systems for Affordable Healthy Diets

09/18/20
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Breaking the Plastic Wave: A Comprehensive Assessment of Pathways Towards Stopping Ocean Plastic Pollution

BREAKING_PLASTICS

Breaking the Plastic Wave: A Comprehensive Assessment of Pathways Towards Stopping Ocean Plastic Pollution

By Simon Reddy & Winnie Lau Photo by Diego Ibarr a Sanchez 07/23/20
Plastic has become ubiquitous on store shelves and in our homes. From wrapped food and disposable bottles to microbeads in body washes, it’s used widely as packaging or in products because it’s versatile, cheap, and…
PEW 7/23/20

Breaking the Plastic Wave: A Comprehensive Assessment of Pathways Towards Stopping Ocean Plastic Pollution

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Breaking the Plastic Wave: A Comprehensive Assessment of Pathways Towards Stopping Ocean Plastic Pollution

By Simon Reddy & Winnie Lau Photo by Diego Ibarr a Sanchez 07/23/20
Plastic has become ubiquitous on store shelves and in our homes. From wrapped food and disposable bottles to microbeads in body washes, it’s used widely as packaging or in products because it’s versatile, cheap, and…
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