NESP scientists supporting global climate policy

November 3, 2021

Climate change is a global problem that does not stop at state or country boarders. That’s why global action is required to understand and address climate change. 

The Climate Systems Hub is an integral part of Australia’s national and global climate science research effort. We’re contributing through activities such as providing leadership in global ocean observation networks, tracking global carbon emissions, and submitting Australian climate model simulations to international modelling initiatives.  

Participation in global initiatives by Australian researchers ensures Southern Hemisphere climate data and information are included in global climate assessments used by world leaders to inform climate policies, such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment reports. 

IPCC supporting global climate policy

“IPCC assessment starts with scientific literature. Then it assesses and synthesizes those that to produce various chapters, a technical summary and then the Summary for Policymakers, and, in the end produces some key messages, which are fully supported by all of those lines of evidence in the scientific literature” said one of the report authors, Dr Michael Grose, a CSIRO Climate Systems Hub researcher. 

The reports combine evidence from observations, process understanding and global and regional model simulations to create an up-to-date description of how our climate is changing and will continue to changeMany Hub researchers contributed to the IPCC AR6 and other IPCC special reports.

The Working Group I report of the latest IPCC assessment report (AR6)Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis, was published this year. It provides timely information on climate change in the lead up to this year’s international climate conference, COP26. 

“Some of the key messages in the working group on report this time include what we’ve known that for decades that the world is warming, and recent changes in the climate are widespread, rapid and intensifying, and they are unprecedented in 1000s of years” said Dr Grose.

Global leadership at COP26 

This year’s international Conference of the Parties, COP26, provides a critical opportunity for world leaders from more than 120 governments to discuss and develop policies and actions to address climate change, including calls to work towards net zero emissions.  

COP26 will assess progress towards achieving the 2015 Paris Agreement temperature targets and discuss what needs to be changed to ensure these targets are not exceeded. 

But how does AR6 fit into this?

“The IPCC assessment reports have become a really useful resource for climate researchers and scientists. However, they’re also a really important milestone in the decision- making kind of calendar, because they are used by decision makers to make real decisions. Each of the governments that are a member to the COP have had an opportunity to comment,assess and look at the results of the report, and have signed off on the main conclusions, including every statement that’s in the summary for policymakers.

So, going into COP26, all of the government’s will be going in, having already agreed to this set of evidence and this set of headline statements and facts. So, this is why it’s not only important assessment in general, but it’s directly useful and important to the COP26 process” said Dr Grose.

World-leading climate science 

Researchers from the Climate Systems Hub have made invaluable contributions to global climate assessments and initiatives and will continue to do so over the life of the Hub. Participation of Hub researchers in global activities highlights our world-class climate science expertise. 

We’re continuing to undertake research to answer critical science and policy questions about the climate system and how it is changing. Our contribution to the global climate science research effort will support decisions and policies made at this year’s COP26. 

For more information: 

Simon Marsland, Climate Systems Hub Leader 


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