Lessons China Can Learn from the Interactions between Climate Change Research and Governance

Climate change has attracted the general concern of the international community. Global actions on climate change are based not only in the science, but also involve domestic and international economics and politics. Here we review the interactions between the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment reports and the development of climate policy under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). There are inextricable links between the scientific research and political processes. The systematic IPCC assessment reports provide important scientific evidence and conclusions on which the Parties to the UNFCCC have based their negotiations. An important example is policies considering adaptation to long term climate change. Conversely, the UNFCCC negotiations direct research direction and foci for scientific communities and the IPCC. China has participated in global climate change science and policy activities for years, but although its scientific and political contribution has increased, its research activity still lags behind that of Europe and the United States. The percentage of mainland Chinese publications cited in the IPCC’s 5th Assessment Report (AR5; 2013), Working Group I (Physical Science Basis), was 2.8%, a doubling from the percentage cited in the Working Group I report from the 4th Assessment Report (2007). For the AR5 second and third working group reports (Impacts, Mitigation), the lead authors were 1.3% and 1.6% respectively. Some core fields, such as the global sequence of surface air temperature data and the accumulated emission space of 2°C, lack expert and Chinese input.

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Zhang, Y. et al. (2018) 'Lessons China Can Learn from the Interactions Between Climate Change Research and Governance', Chinese Science Bulletin 63.12: 2313-2319

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