Is climate change really happening? Learning from the past to look into the future (29 Sept 2021)

On the 29th of September, JRC organized an Ask-a-Scientist event within the pre-cop26 All4Climate initiative. The event involved scientists from the ETH Zurich, the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna Pisa, the Instituto Dom Luiz at the University of Lisbon, the Max-Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, and the Justus-Liebig University of Giessen. The aim of the event was to inform and discuss the science behind climate change with the civil society, interested citizens, and young activists. It was opened by an overview of the European Climate Pact provided by Katerina Fortun from the Commission's Directorate-General for Climate Action, followed by two young Climate Ambassadors sharing their experience and motivation. During the event, four main themes were discussed:
- How we know that the Earth is getting warmer
- Climate change is anthropogenic
- Back to the future: learning from the past
- What will happen in the next 80 years

The first theme focused on how we observe and measure the state of the climate system and what can be learnt from the recent past available observations. The second one discussed the role of CO2 (and the other Green House Gases) and how to attribute current changes to human activities and emissions. During the third part of the event, a journey though the last hundreds of thousands of years was done thanks to paleo-climate reconstructions and proxies such as ice-core, tree rings, sediments, etc. This gave the opportunity to place the current changes within the Earth’s history, to appreciate how exceptional they are by looking at the last millennia, and to find analogues in eras preceding the homo sapiens evolution (that took place with atmospheric CO2 concentration levels ranging well below 400 parts per million). Finally, the last part of the event was devoted to analyzing scenarios for the coming decades assuming different socio-economic development pathways.

Following the enthusiastic feedback, it was decided to organize again a similar event in presence in 2022.

Link to the videorecording of the event:
Link to webpage of the event:

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