At the UNESCO headquarters in Paris during the first week in July, thousands of climate and social scientists and policy experts came together for the largest gathering of high-ranking scientists to clear a path for a successful COP21 Climate Summit in December. The seminal conference was entitle “Our Common Future under Climate Change.”
According to spokespersons from Common Future, about 2000 scientists from almost 100 countries met in some 165 sessions led by experts in the physical and social sciences who are considering ways to reduce emissions and build resilient societies in the upcoming climate change era.
Standing in for French President Francois Hollande for the opening plenary was French research and education minister Najat Valland-Belkacem. “If we don’t act [on climate], in the future we can be pretty sure there will be conflicts,” said Belkacem. “Thanks to you, no-one can seriously challenge the role of humans in climate change.”
Scientists reviewed new projections for impacts on ocean life and economic activities from rising temperature and ocean acidification, and laid the groundwork for scientific, fact-based decision-making.
Scientific Committee member and Professor at the University of Oslo Karen O’Brien said “This conference has shown that social and technological innovation, from individuals, communities, firms, and nations, can lead to mitigation and adaptation options that are scaleable, fair and cost-effective.” Chairman of the Common Future Climate Change 2015 (CFCC15) Scientific Committee and director of the US Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology Chris Field added “We are moving to a post-carbon era, where climate-change mitigation and adaptation are combined with other goals to build a sustainable future”
French Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy Ségolène Royal, told delegates in her closing remarks “I would like you to have an impact on the COP21 negotiations,” Royal told delegates. “You are free to express your ideas, you don’t have to hide behind euphemisms.”
Common Future released a final statement after the conference that said “Bold action in 2015 can be decisive in assuring a common future of sustainable, robust economies, equitable societies, and vibrant communities. Science is a foundation for smart decisions at COP21 and beyond. Solving the challenge of climate change requires ambition, dedication, and leadership from governments, the private sector, and civil society, in addition to the scientific community.