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Reading Recommendations

February 2020

Social tipping dynamics for stabilizing Earth’s climate by 2050 Achieving a rapid global decarbonization to stabilize the climate critically depends on activating contagious and fast-spreading processes of social and technological change within the next few years. Drawing on expert elicitation, an expert workshop, and a review of literature, which provides a comprehensive analysis on this topic, we propose concrete interventions to induce positive social tipping dynamics and a rapid global transformation to carbon-neutral societies.  
Emissions – the ‘business as usual’ story is misleading Stop using the worst-case scenario for climate warming as the most likely outcome — more-realistic baselines make for better policy. More than a decade ago, climate scientists and energy modellers made a choice about how to describe the effects of emissions on Earth’s future climate. That choice has had unintended consequences which today are hotly debated. With the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) moving into its final stages in 2020, there is now a rare opportunity to reboot.   NATURE
The Worst Climate Scenarios May No Longer Be the Most Likely Some climate scientists argue using such scenarios could make climate targets sound less achievable than they are. According to some experts, presenting the public with unreasonable climate scenarios could hurt global efforts to address climate change. It could suggest that global climate targets, like the goals of the Paris Agreement, are less achievable than they actually are.  
Scientific American
Deep Decarbonization: A Realistic Way Forward on Climate Change Global emissions have soared by two-thirds in the three decades since international climate talks began. To make the reductions required, what’s needed is a new approach that creates incentives for leading countries and industries to spark transformative technological revolutions.  
Yale 360
The systemic and governmental agendas in presidential attention to climate change in Mexico 1994–2018 Ambitious climate action requires sustained long-term attention from political leaders. To understand how climate change entered the political agenda in a developing country, we examine from an agenda-setting perspective the attention paid by Mexican presidents to this issue from 1994 to 2018. We perform a longitudinal analysis of 968 documents referring to climate change published by four presidencies to describe changes in attention levels over time and to determine how changes in international agreements and public policies and National Development Plans (NDPs) influence them.
Six global biomass burning emission datasets: intercomparison and application in one global aerosol model Aerosols from biomass burning (BB) emissions are poorly constrained in global and regional models, resulting in a high level of uncertainty in understanding their impacts. In this study, we compared six BB aerosol emission datasets for 2008 globally as well as in 14 regions.   Atmospheric chemistry and Physics
Designing for a green chemistry future The material basis of a sustainable society will depend on chemical products and processes that are designed following principles that make them conducive to life. Important inherent properties of molecules need to be considered from the earliest stage—the design stage—to address whether compounds and processes are depleting versus renewable, toxic versus benign, and persistent versus readily degradable.  
Unusual Arctic warming explained by overlooked greenhouse gases The same gases that caused holes in Earth’s ozone layer in the past century are responsible for the rapid warming of the Arctic as well, according to a new study published in Nature. Scientists looked at the effect of these gases in climate simulations between 1955 and 2005.  
Increase in global emissions of HFC-23 despite near-total expected reductions Under the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, new controls are being implemented to reduce emissions of HFC-23 (CHF3), a by-product during the manufacture of HCFC-22 (CHClF2). Starting in 2015, China and India, who dominate global HCFC-22 production (75% in 2017), set out ambitious programs to reduce HFC-23 emissions. Here, we estimate that these measures should have seen global emissions drop by 87% between 2014 and 2017. Instead, atmospheric observations show that emissions have increased and in 2018 were higher than at any point in history.  
Microplastics Pollution Is Everywhere. Is It Harmful? Microplastics are everywhere. They’ve made their way into our food and water supply. There’s no doubt we’re ingesting them. Are they harmful?  
Scientific American
The 2010s Were the Hottest Decade—the 2020s Will Top Them By the mid-2030s, global temperatures will likely top 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. Global temperatures will continue to rise over the next decade and will reach a critical milestone in the 2030s, two of the U.S. government’s leading climate scientists said yesterday.  
Scientific American
The World in 2050 Pursues Paths to a Sustainable Future This initiative aims to provide fact-based knowledge to help implement and achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. In recent years, international organizations have sounded alarms that if rapid and global progress isn’t made on a myriad of sustainability fronts, generations to come—and even already born—could face a future steeped in inequity and climate crises.  
EOS Earth & Space Science News
The role of artificial intelligence in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals The emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) and its progressively wider impact on many sectors requires an assessment of its effect on the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Using a consensus-based expert elicitation process, we find that AI can enable the accomplishment of 134 targets across all the goals, but it may also inhibit 59 targets.   NATURE

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