Editorials

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  • This month marks 10 years since the first issue of Nature Climate Change. In this issue, we reflect on developments in research areas over those years and celebrate some memorable papers published in our pages.

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  • About 12 months into the COVID-19 pandemic, its immediate and lasting impacts on the climate system and fossil fuel economy are now better understood. These insights will be fundamental to the global recovery — and ideally the green transitions that accompany it — but the implementation will be hard-won.

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  • The ocean connects all corners of the Earth. It supports life, and we need to better understand and support it to ensure a prosperous future.

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  • The past year has seen climate change manifest in wildfires, storms and flooding, in some cases simultaneous with outbreaks of the COVID-19 pandemic that restricted human activity and impacted global emissions. Despite these trials, other developments hint at the potential for positive steps in climate mitigation.

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  • The climate crisis highlights just how connected the world is. But understanding the changes cascading throughout the natural world calls for even greater connectivity: between countries, scientists and scientific disciplines.

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  • In this interconnected world, many of us would regularly jump on a plane, or train, for a weekend away, or into a car to pop to the shops or to visit family and friends. But the way we travel, day-to-day and on longer trips, will need to change if mitigation targets, including net-zero aspirations, are to be met.

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  • Nature Climate Change is making changes to our article formats to streamline our content and more clearly denote original research contributions.

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  • Research addressing compound and connected events, and their integrated risk to the natural and built world, is gaining momentum. Paradigms are now evolving to classify and analyse the processes forming such links — whether physical or societal, direct or indirect — and the role of climate change in their ultimate impacts.

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  • The world has changed this year under the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lockdowns around the world have reduced energy demand, resulting in emissions declines, but what could the post-COVID-19 world look like — a return to normal, or will this start a transition?

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  • Climate change is altering environmental niches, causing species to shift their habitat range as they track their ecological niche. These shifts allow species to persist but may disadvantage existing species in these areas; understanding the positives and negatives is needed to ensure effective management for biodiversity.

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  • Large philanthropic donations to climate causes attract media headlines, but headlines will not solve the challenges ahead. Financial commitments need to be accompanied by action to mitigate climate change before it is too late.

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  • The bushfires burning in Australia have led to widespread local and global calls for increased efforts to mitigate climate change.

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  • In the upper atmosphere, ozone is essential to protect the planet through absorption of ultraviolet radiation; but at ground level, ozone is a pollutant, and increasing anthropogenic emissions are resulting in higher levels. Reducing emissions would mitigate the harmful effects of ozone as well as potentially increasing a natural carbon sink.

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  • Commitment to climate action is needed in the coming year to avoid further impacts such as the wildfires that have grabbed headlines in 2019.

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  • By many accounts, climate change is already driving human migration, but fresh thinking about the consequences of increasingly stringent borders, the intervening effects of global and local policy and how best to characterize human adaptive responses is needed to properly understand whether a crisis is on the horizon.

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  • The broad-scale impacts and mechanisms of physical climate change are scientifically well-understood, but specific estimates of these impacts are associated with uncertainty that is challenging to communicate. How scientists communicate uncertainty affects public trust and acceptance of the research.

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  • CMIP6 output is growing rapidly and will afford a re-examination of important aspects of the climate system.

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  • The latest IPCC report highlights that a change in diets for richer nations, and smarter land use, could ensure food security and mitigation of potential climate impacts.

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  • Forests play an important role in carbon storage and climate regulation, as well as supporting biodiversity. Restoration of lost and degraded areas is firmly back on the agenda with a recent UN announcement.

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  • Parties to the Paris Agreement must increase their ambition, but stringent climate policy has the potential to put sustainable development at risk. A collaborative effort is underway to identify potential trade-offs and to strengthen synergies between climate action and sustainable development.

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