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Published

28 January 2016

Mistra researchers summarise outcome of Paris Climate Change Conference

In the past few weeks, the world has followed the Paris negotiations on a new climate agreement. The driving forces in different countries and stakeholders, and also in all overlapping subject areas in the complex climate issue, have been discussed from every angle. Mistra researchers who were there have now collected everything you need to know ahead of your discussions around the Christmas dinner table.

For the first time, the world’s nations have reached a global climate agreement that unites them all in helping to reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. Mistra Indigo held a breakfast seminar on 17 December at which the pre-meeting talks, the Paris negotiations and finally what all the countries had agreed on and what this will mean were discussed. Participants included Anna Lindstedt, Sweden’s Climate Ambassador and climate negotiator in Paris, and Lars Zetterberg, a researcher in Mistra Indigo and attendee at the Conference.

For those who did not manage to keep up with all the reports on what was decided in Paris, Lars Zetterberg and Markus Wråke, who are also researchers in Mistra Indigo, summarised the results of the negotiations. The list was somewhat jocularly planned as an aid to discussions, on the climate agreement and its actual implications, that may arise around the Christmas dinner table. Will it save humankind? Why doesn’t it contain compulsory objectives? And how are air travel and justice between poor and rich countries tackled in the agreement?

Improved scope of climate efforts

Markku Rummukainen, Programme Director of the Mistra-SWECIA research programme, also attended the Paris Climate Change Conference as a member of the official Swedish delegation in the negotiations. His work included analysing proposals for temperature targets and emission trends in the new agreement, and also taking part in the negotiations on systematic climate monitoring — an area relevant to climate change adaptation.

Unlike new written declarations on the target 2°C limit, which proved hard to agree on, reaching unity on the declarations about climate monitoring was rapid.

‘All the parties thought it was a relevant issue. It’s a matter of how we can follow climate trends both globally and in various regions. What happens to temperature, precipitation and other aspects of the climate is important for planning adaptation to climate change.’

The final Paris agreement — under which the global temperature increase must be held well under 2°C, with an effort to restrict it to 1.5°C — is a step in the right direction, Rummukainen thinks. Although the threat of climate change has not been averted, the agreement enhances scope for solving the climate issue in the long term, he says.

‘The aim of the agreement is to limit climate change and, at the same time, enable us to adjust to the changes we’re not going to be able to avoid.’

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