climate change

COP22: Climate change and innovation

The 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP22) to the UNFCCC took place from 7-18 November 2016. Read research and opinion from STEPS on what happens next. This year’s COP comes shortly after the Paris Agreement enters into force. The agreement aims to keep global temperature rise this century to under 2 degrees….

Dryland landscape with trees, people and animals

Why we should stop talking about ‘desertification’

A great new book has just been published called ‘The End of Desertification? Disputing Environmental Change in the Drylands’, available at a shocking price from Springer. It is edited by two people who know a thing or two about these issues – Roy Behnke and Mike Mortimore – and it has 20 top quality chapters…

Earth Day: are we astronauts or toads?

It’s 50 years since the first image of the Earth from space was beamed back home from Lunar Orbiter 1. It’s hard for us now to imagine, or remember, what it meant back then. For the first time, humans could see a real image of their home as a whole. The picture, and others that…

Was COP21 a failure or a success?

In the aftermath of the COP21 climate change conference, the debate over whether the Paris Agreement is a success or a failure is going full blast. Among other things, the deal sets a high aspirational goal to limit warming below 2C and strive to keep temperatures at 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. This is a far…

‘This hope is real’: how COP21 frames the future

Who would have bet any meaningful amount of money, a month ago, that most of the world would sign up to 1.5 degrees at COP21? Of course there were celebrations on Saturday when Laurent Fabius banged his little green gavel down to mark the agreement. Most of those in the room had toiled for long…

Carbon forestry in Africa: who wins?

2015 is a crucial moment for sustainability and climate change, with the Conference of the Parties (COP) in Paris following hard on the heels of the UN’s new Sustainable Development Goals. What to do about carbon, forests, and forest management are crucial questions in reaching global agreements. But as recent research in Africa’s forest landscapes…

‘All eyes on Paris’: climate talks in a heightened security context

For the past few weeks, all eyes have been on Paris because of two major events. The first is the seven coordinated terrorist attacks that hit the French capital on 13 November, killing 130 ordinary citizens, left many in shock, and led to an outpouring of messages of solidarity from around the world. Second, Paris…

Why climate negotiations should tackle ‘technology injustice’

Climate change is already causing harm to vulnerable people and will continue to do so. If we accept that mitigation and adaptation alone cannot avoid all the adverse impacts of climate change, this means that there will be some unavoidable consequences. This has led to the concept of ‘loss and damage’ appearing in global climate…

Why are some people so keen to link climate change and terrorism?

Friday’s murderous attacks in Paris came just over two weeks before the start of the COP21 conference on climate change. A crisis meeting was held on Saturday morning to determine whether the event should go ahead, with a swift resolution to continue, under heightened security. Christiana Figueres, the UNFCCC’s Executive Secretary, tweeted “Of course #COP21…

Unpacking multiple “shades of green” to make hope possible

Sandra Pointel, Associate Tutor, SPRU This year will see the culmination of two major global agreements for climate change and development. From 30 November to 11 December, worldwide negotiators will gather in Paris at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to hammer out a…