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United In Science: High-level synthesis report of latest climate science information convened by the Science Advisory Group of the UN Climate Action Summit 2019

The world’s leading climate science organizations have joined forces to produce a landmark new report for the United Nations Climate Action Summit, underlining the glaring – and growing gaps – between agreed targets to tackle global warming and the actual reality.

The report, United in Science, includes details on the state of the climate and presents trends in the emissions and atmospheric concentrations of main greenhouse gases. It highlights the urgency of fundamental socio-economic transformation in key sectors such as land use and energy in order to avert dangerous global temperature increase with potentially irreversible impacts. It also examines tools to support both mitigation and adaptation.

“The Report provides a unified assessment of the state of our Earth system under the increasing influence of anthropogenic climate change, of humanity’s response thus far and of the far-reaching changes that science projects for our global climate in the future. The scientific data and findings presented in the report represent the very latest authoritative information on these topics,” said the Science Advisory Group, which is co-chaired by WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas and Leena Srivastava, outgoing Vice Chancellor of TERI School of Advanced Studies.  

Now, I believe in science. I believe in what has been considered . . . the most valid scientific position today,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

The  Special Report on Climate Change and Land stressed that land is already under growing human pressure and climate change is adding to these pressures. At the same time, keeping global warming to well below 2ºC can be achieved only by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from all sectors including land and food.

The report shows that better land management can contribute to tackling climate change, but is not the only solution. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from all sectors is essential if global warming is to be kept to well below 2ºC, if not 1.5°C.

Climate change exacerbates the effect of a growing human pressure on land,coordination on improved land use is needed. Climate Change and Land, an IPCC special report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems was released on 8 August 2019. Key findings include:

  • Land is a critical resource – we rely on it for food, water, health and wellbeing – but it is already under growing human pressure. Climate change is adding to these pressures. Agriculture, food production, and deforestation are major drivers of climate change.
  • Coordinated action to tackle climate change can simultaneously improve land, food security and nutrition, and help to end hunger.
  • The way we produce our food matters; dietary choice can help reduce emissions and pressure on land.
  • There are things we can do to both tackle land degradation and prevent or adapt to further climate change.
  • The land that we are already using could feed the world in a changed climate and provide biomass for renewable energy, but it would require early, far-reaching action across several fronts.
  • Better land management also supports biodiversity conservation.
  • Tackling this challenge requires a coordinated response.
  • Better land management can play its part in tackling climate change, but it cannot do it all.

The United in Science Report has been created by the world’s leading climate science organizations who have joined forces to produce a unified assessment in preparation for the United Nations Climate Action Summit.

The report underlines the glaring and growing gaps between agreed on targets to tackle global warming and the actual reality, highlighting the urgency for the development and implementation of concrete commitments and actions. The current state of the planet, humanity’s response to date and the changes that are projected have been summarised in this landmark report.

The UN Environment Programme contributed two pages from its flagship report, The Emissions Gap Report, whose tenth edition is, released on 25 November. It assesses the latest scientific studies on current and estimated future greenhouse gas emissions, highlighting the gap of “where we are likely to be and where we need to be” and summarizes what is needed to get there.

Other contributing agencies include the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Global Atmosphere Watch, Global Carbon Project, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Future Earth, Earth League and the Global Framework for Climate Services.

Read the full text report ( 28 pages ) "United In Science. High-level synthesis report of latest climate science information convened by the Science Advisory Group of the UN Climate Action Summit 2019"

united in science