Kornek, U., Flachsland, C., Kardish, C., Levi, S., Edenhofer, O.

What is important for achieving 2°C? UNFCCC and IPCC expert perceptions on obstacles and response options for climate change mitigation

in Environmental Research Letters, 28.01.2020

Peer Review , Directorate , Governance

Global mitigation efforts remain insufficient to limit the global temperature increase to well below 2°C. While a growing academic literature analyzes this problem, perceptions of which obstacles inhibit goal attainment and which responses might be most effective seem to differ widely. This makes prioritization and agreement on the way forward difficult. To inform prioritization in global climate policy and research agendas, we present quantitative data on how 917 experts from the IPCC and the UNFCCC perceive the importance of different obstacles and response options for achieving 2°C. On average, respondents consider opposition from special interest groups the most important obstacle and technological R&D the most important response. Our survey also finds that the majority of experts perceives a wide range of issues as important, supporting an agenda that is inclusive in terms of coverage. Average importance ratings differ between experts from the Global North and South, suggesting that balanced representation in global fora and regionally differentiated agendas are important. In particular, opposition from special interest groups is a top priority among experts from North America, Europe and Oceania. Investigating the drivers of individual importance ratings, we find little difference between experts from the IPCC and the UNFCCC, while expert's perceptions correlate with their academic training and their national scientific, regulatory, and financial contexts.