Targeting 1.5 °C
In December 2015, representatives from 195 nations met in Paris to negotiate an international agreement to combat climate change. The resulting ‘Paris Agreement’ codified an aspiration to limit the level of global temperature rise to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels — lower than the previously generally agreed target of 2 °C. From a research standpoint, a more ambitious temperature target poses many questions that could draw scientific and intellectual attention and resources. Furthermore, the timescales in which researchers must decide how to engage with this new policy context is very short.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has agreed to publish a special report on the costs and implications of the 1.5 °C target in 2018. In order to inform that process, researchers must decide which efforts to prioritise and begin work almost immediately. But deciding what can and should be delivered is far from trivial. This evolving collection draws together content from Nature Climate Change, Nature Geoscience, Nature Communications, Nature Energy and Nature to provide comment on how research might best inform decisions about limiting climate warming as well as presenting pertinent new research that addresses this very question.