10 November 2017 | Bonn, Germany

Photos of WCRP/ICSU side event at COP23  Photos of WCRP/ICSU side event at COP23 

ICSU and WCRP co-organized a science event during COP23 in Bonn, titled “Where and when habitability limits of the Earth will be reached due to climate change?". The event took place at the Turkey Pavilion on Friday 10 November from 18:15 to 20:15. The discussion was moderated by Martin Visbeck, member of both WCRP JSC and ICSU CSPR.

Speakers presented scientific progress in exploring and understanding the impact of climate change on the human and natural environment. They gave examples where climate change impacts push some of our planet’s regions to the limits of habitability. A discussion took place on socio-economic implications of climate extremes and associated risks to human health, terrestrial ecosystems, transport infrastructures and ocean acidification, among others. 

The take-home message of the event is that science brings critical value to climate negotiations on mitigation targets and adaptation measures. Global, regional and local science provides key information on a wide range of habitability dimensions (for example, human health, ecosystem, infrastructure). There remains further work for science, in particular to enable the evaluation of impacts of different scenarios, which can inform climate-related decisions in the larger context of sustainable development. Speakers emphasised the relevance of continuous and systematic observations on the status of the climate, as well as free, open data and information sharing from these observing networks. Moreover the need for increased capacity development was recognized, in particular for the developing world. 

Participants stressed that science should be widely communicated not only to decision makers but also to the general public, and that the current gaps in this information flow have to be filled. Innovative approaches for network-to-network collaboration and technical development are much desired. One example for these in the climate science community are closer cross-community engagements by WCRP and Future Earth under the global scientific umbrella of ICSU.

Speakers and Panelists at the science event were:

  • Martin Visbeck (GEOMAR/Germany, ICSU and WCRP): Where and when habitability limits of the Earth will be reached due to climate change?
  • Jana Sillmann (CICERO/Norway, WCRP CMIP and GC-Extremes): Climate extremes in a warming world
  • Markus Reichstein (MPI/Germany, Future Earth-WCRP-IRDR Knowledge Action Network on Risk and Disasters): Climate extremes - impact and risk cascades for ecosystems and society
  • Piet De Wildt (Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment/The Netherlands, UNECE): Climate change impacts and adaptation for transport networks and nodes
  • Jan Newton (UW/USA, GOA-ON): Observing Ocean Acidification - Working together globally to make a difference locally


The official list of COP23 side events and exhibits: https://seors.unfccc.int/seors/reports/events_list.html?session_id=COP23

The official, revised COP23 homepage: https://cop23.unfccc.int/