Understanding the Pathways to and Impacts of a 1.5°C Rise in Global Temperature

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Copyright John Hawkins

This programme aims to advance our understanding of the research needs and provide timely evidence to inform policy following the introduction of the 1·5°C limit in the Paris agreement. To enable this aim to be achieved, NERC and the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) will be looking for projects with pathways to impact that provide at least one of the following:

  • Evidence for the UK Committee on Climate Change, with regard to their statutory advice on national carbon budgets.
  • Input to the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report, which is expected to have a publication submission deadline in late 2017 or early 2018.

Applicants should note that UK and Indian representatives co-chair the IPCC Working Group III on mitigation and DECC financially supports the Technical Support Unit (TSU) delivering this aspect of the 6th Assessment Report for the Working Group. Projects will be expected to work closely with DECC and the IPCC Working Groups to ensure that the outcomes of the research contribute to policy development.

Understanding the Pathways to and Impacts of a 1.5°C Rise in Global Temperature: Announcement of Opportunity

Closing date: 18 Aug
2016

1 Jul 2016

NERC and DECC are inviting research proposals under a new strategic research programme that aims to undertake research to address the novel national and international research needs arising from the Paris Agreement.

At the 21st Conference of Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) in Paris in December 2015 (COP21), 195 countries, including the world's largest emitters, agreed to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change partly by agreeing to hold the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1·5°C.

NERC and DECC have come together to fund a Joint Strategic Response research programme to inform UK policy on this area.

The aim of this research programme is to advance our understanding of the research needs and provide timely evidence to inform policy following the introduction of the 1·5°C limit in the Paris agreement. To enable this aim to be achieved, NERC and DECC will be looking for projects with pathways to impact that provide at least one of the following:

  • Evidence for the UK Committee on Climate Change, with regard to their statutory advice on national carbon budgets.
  • Input to the IPCC special report, which is expected to have a publication submission deadline in late 2017 or early 2018. This special report will be developed under the joint scientific leadership of Working Groups I, II and III with support from WGI TSU.

Applicants should note that UK and Indian representatives co-chair the IPCC Working Group III on mitigation and DECC financially supports the Technical Support Unit (TSU) delivering this aspect of the 6th Assessment Report for the Working Group. Projects will be expected to work closely with DECC and the IPCC Working Groups to ensure that the outcomes of the research contribute to policy development.

Three key science areas have been identified for research:

  1. Linkage between the cumulative level of future net emissions of greenhouse gases and future temperature increases in the 1·5-2·0°C range.

    • Further development of climate models to reduce uncertainties regarding the maximum cumulative future CO2-equivalent emissions if the 1·5°C limit is not to be exceeded. This will involve the inclusion of post-AR5 parameterizations of processes affecting temperature sensitivity for radiative forcing.

    • Investigation of the potential impact of changing emissions of other radiatively-active gases and particles, including tropospheric pollutants that currently exert a cooling effect, on the cumulative emissions that result in temperature increases in the 1·5-2·0°C range.

  2. Feasibility of pathway options that limit warming to 1·5°C and their additional consequences.

    • Improved understanding of the scale of negative emission technologies (greenhouse gas removal), and the timing for their introduction, needed in pathways that achieve a 1·5°C limit to warming (noting that more detailed studies on negative emissions will be supported by the new Greenhouse Gas Removal programme (following a workshop in April 2016), with the expectation that linkages will be developed as and when appropriate)

    • Exploration of risk of slow-acting climate change impacts (eg sea-level rise, ocean acidification, changes in biodiversity ecosystems) and threshold effects (eg Arctic methane release) across a range of temperature rises (1·5-2·0°C). Also, investigation of the impacts in the case of an overshoot in temperature or atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases that are subsequently reduced by active removal.

  3. Environmental impacts of a 1·5°C temperature rise compared with 2°C, to include assessment of changes in:

    • Regional patterns of projected climate impacts over that temperature range, with associated potential consequences for agricultural production.

    • Frequency and intensity of extreme weather events over that temperature range.

    • Impacts on temperature-sensitive ecosystems such as the polar regions, high mountains and the tropics, with potential for critical thresholds and irreversible change.

    • Impacts on the pace and long-term consequences for sea-level rise.

    • Ocean acidification and its impacts, over the range 400-450 ppm CO2.

The funders expect proposals to address a subset of the issues identified above, recognizing that it may not be feasible for all topics to be addressed, and will look to fund a balanced portfolio of projects which cumulatively address all three science areas.

Although the focus here is on 1·5-2·0°C, it is appreciated that for some studies a hard limit of 2°C may not be appropriate, for example some pathways may just miss the 2°C target. As such, the upper limit is not a fixed value and studies that also look beyond 2°C (ie up to 2·5°C) will be considered for funding.

Given the need to provide timely evidence for policy development applicants must be able to show a track record in this area of work and set out how they will ensure that the research will be completed in time to contribute to the IPCC special report.

Timing

2016 - 2017

Can I apply for a grant?

No. This call is now closed.

Budget

Up to £700,000 is available for this call. The programme will support up to seven small projects of a maximum of £100,000 each (80% full economic cost) and up to 12 months' duration.

Programme awards

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