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Research in support of COP26

This November, world leaders will meet in Glasgow, UK for the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) to discuss action on the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Science and research played a critical role in identifying and understanding the drivers and impacts of climate change and they are key in delivering solutions to address it. This Collection draws together content from across the Nature Portfolio that discusses solutions to challenges in mitigation, adaptation and finance — key pillars for COP26. The Collection also presents four Q&As with advisors and decision-makers from different parts of the globe on the science–policy interface and their hopes for COP26.

Q&As

Nature Climate Change talks to Felipe C. Mandarino, city information coordinator within the Rio de Janeiro city government, Brazil, about building cooperation, facing data and knowledge gaps and responding to climate change in Brazilian cities.

Q&A | | Nature Climate Change

Climate action is needed across the Global South, with just transition the central priority. Nature Climate Change spoke to Maisa Rojas, associate professor at the University of Chile, about Chile’s progress in climate governance and the challenges ahead, as well as the opportunities with COP26.

Q&A | | Nature Climate Change

As the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow nears, calls for politicians to heed the warnings on climate change increase. We talked to Atte Harjanne, a member of parliament in Finland, to hear how some politicians are trying to incorporate scientific findings in their decisions.

Q&A | | Nature Energy

Dr Shailja Vaidya Gupta is Senior Adviser at the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India. She tells Nature Sustainability about the challenges of climate negotiations from her country’s perspective, views are her own.

Q&A | | Nature Sustainability

Mitigation

A global energy system model finds that planned fossil fuel extraction is inconsistent with limiting global warming to 1.5 °C, because the majority of fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground.

Article | | Nature

Personal carbon allowances (PCAs) could support climate mitigation efforts but would need to be carefully designed to avoid impacts on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This Perspective discusses why the time is ripe for reconsidering PCAs and provides a set of SDG-based design principles for the future adoption of PCAs.

Perspective | | Nature Sustainability

Aviation contributes to climate change and ways to reduce its emissions are widely debated. Here, the authors assess the effects of technology improvements and the use of sustainable aviation fuels and find that even when these are considered aviation is unlikely to meet emissions goals in line with the Paris Agreement.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Nature-based climate solutions can help meet climate mitigation goals, but estimates of their carbon storage potential vary. This Review discusses the constraints and potential contributions of increasing carbon storage in the terrestrial biosphere, suggesting a conservative estimate of 100–200 GtCO2 in negative emissions to 2100.

Review Article | | Nature Reviews Earth & Environment

Established climate mitigation modelling relies on controversial negative emissions and unprecedented technological change, but neglects to consider degrowth scenarios. Here the authors show that degrowth scenarios minimize many key risks for feasibility and sustainability and thus need to be thoroughly assessed.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Increasing greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture must be compensated by emissions reduction in other sectors if global emissions are to be capped. Using macroeconomic–climate modelling, this study quantifies such emission compensation efforts under different dietary choices.

Article | | Nature Food

Wind and solar energy must be complemented by a combination of energy storage and firm generating capacity. Here, Sepulveda et al. assess the economic value and system impact of a wide range of possible long-duration energy storage technologies, providing insights to guide innovation and policy.

Article | | Nature Energy

Concrete is one of the most widely used man-made materials and is critical for the ongoing urbanization of the global population. However, owing to its widespread use, concrete can have a negative impact on the environment. This Review provides medium-term and long-term solutions to address the environmental concerns surrounding concrete production.

Review Article | | Nature Reviews Earth & Environment

Adaptation

The world’s future food security will certainly be affected by extreme climate events, yet the location and magnitude of their impact are often overlooked. Using crop yield and food need projections under different socioeconomic conditions, this study estimates the share of the population at the risk of hunger under high and low greenhouse gas emission scenarios in the face of climate extremes.

Article | | Nature Food

An intensity−duration−frequency model linking food shock risk to supply chain diversity in the USA finds that boosting a city’s food supply chain diversity increases the resistance of a city to food shocks of mild to moderate severity.

Article | | Nature

Globally, land- and fire-management policies have counterproductively caused cascading ecosystem changes that exacerbate, rather than mitigate, wildfires. Given rapidly changing climate and land-use conditions that amplify wildfire risk, a policy shift to adaptive management of fire regimes is urgently needed.

Comment | | Nature Geoscience

Community-based adaptation, in principle, leverages existing local knowledge, capabilities and priorities, but it is unclear what factors drive its success or lack thereof. Here the authors evaluate 32 community-based adaptation initiatives in the Pacific Islands and identify key optimization points for future initiatives.

Article | | Nature Climate Change

Qualitative comparative analysis of 25 case studies across climate change hotspots in Africa and Asia shows that male migration and women’s poor working conditions combine with either institutional failure or poverty to constrain women’s agency, which limits their adaptive capacity.

Article | | Nature Climate Change

Finance

To enable net-negative CO2 emissions, the repayment of previously accrued carbon debt by establishing the responsibility for the net removal of CO2 by carbon-emitting parties through carbon removal obligations is necessary.

Article | | Nature

The transfer of public funds between governments within a country based on ecological indicators is an emerging tool in environmental policy. A review of extant and proposed schemes identifies challenges and opportunities to expand the use of this instrument.

Review Article | | Nature Sustainability

Energy scenarios can sometimes miss lock-in caused by planned power plant projects and uncertainty around their realization. Here, Alova et al. build a machine-learning model that predicts Africa’s electricity generation mix in 2030 based on the commissioning chances of planned projects.

Article | | Nature Energy

The perception of risks imminent to younger technologies may hinder renewable energy firms’ access to financing. Here, Kempa et al. have used a global dataset of loans to show that the cost of debt of renewable energy firms decreased over time below those of non-renewable energy firms, which saw an increase in financing costs.

Article | | Nature Energy