The organising committee and IPCC Co-Chairs.
From the left: Professors Peter Cox, Richard Betts, Chris Field, Ottmar Edenhofer, Thomas Stocker, Neil Adger, Catherine Mitchell, and Pierre Friedlingstein.

Transformational Climate Science: IPCC report Chairs and authors congregate in Exeter

The Transformational Climate Science conference, held at the University of Exeter on 15/16 May 2014, provided an opportunity for key delegates from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) community to summarise important findings from the recent Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). It was the first conference in the world to feature Co-Chairs and authors from all three Working Groups following the publication of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report.

More than 500 climate scientists, policy makers, industry professionals, students, and members of the public participated in this exciting event. The conference was hosted by the University of Exeter in partnership with the Met Office and University of Leeds.

Watch the short video of highlights.

All presentations and videos of speakers are available online together with a selection of images from the conference.

The first panel discussion focussed on the scientific developments made over the last five years. The co-chair of Working Group I, Thomas Stocker, led discussions with a summary of various projections of future climate change. Key findings included that global surface temperature change by the end of the 21st century is now projected to exceed 2°C in all but the most mitigation-intensive scenario.

The second panel discussion, which focussed on the impacts of climate change and adaptation measures, noted that certain observed climate changes are directly attributable to human influence. Despite the current implementation of adaptation measures, said the keynote speaker Chris Fields (co-chair of Working Group II), dealing effectively with climate change requires the introduction of ‘smart policies’ which must result from effective engagement between scientists and policy-makers.

The Thursday afternoon session included a discussion on the science and policy interface, aided by contributions from Andrea Tilche, representing the European Commission. The inclusivity of policy-makers within the IPCC framework was an important topic of debate, as was the effectiveness of dialogue between IPCC scientific representatives and governmental delegates. The evening session was open to the public, and comprised a panel discussion on the future of climate science. The topics of future impact on society and current state of emissions were ubiquitous throughout the proceedings.

On Friday morning, a panel discussion led by representatives of Working Group III of AR5, focussed on the challenge of mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. Ottmar Edenhofer, the co-chair and keynote speaker, began by highlighting that global greenhouse gas emissions are continuing to increase, with the predominant driver being increases to income. The ethical and political dimensions of climate change were explored, including the accountability of nations for historical emissions and progress in developing sufficient political institutions to tackle climate change.

The final panel discussion, chaired by Dame Julia Slingo, Chief Scientist at the Met Office, primarily focussed on future developments to IPCC and the climate science field in general.

Watch the short video of highlights.

Date: 16 June 2014

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