Briefing notes: Assembly 2023

The briefing notes below are a product of discussions during the 2023 Tyndall Assembly held at the University of East Anglia last September. Click on the links to download the briefing notes:

  • Activism and advocacy as a researcher

    Atcherson et al. (2023)
    As scientists and researchers, we conduct our work against a backdrop of increasing climate and ecological disasters, humanitarian crises, and social injustice. Despite decades of research into transformative alternatives to the extractive carbon economy – as well as international climate agreements, Net Zero laws and biodiversity targets – global emissions continue to rise, and the Climate and Ecological Emergency continues to worsen. In the UK and elsewhere, governments are acting in direct opposition to scientific advice and their own legal commitments on climate change mitigation and are making increasingly authoritarian moves to repress protest and expressions of dissent. As a result, many of us working in this field experience significant psychological distress, and struggle to feel like our work is making a difference. We believe that engaging with civic activism and advocacy outside of academia must now be considered a valid and morally important role for researchers.

  • Incoming Labour? How can the Tyndall Centre can help shape the future of UK climate policy?

    Smith and Minns (2023)
    The UK has long been considered a forerunner in climate action. The UK was the first major economy to commit a net zero target into law, supported by a system of national carbon budgets and the UK’s expert climate advisory body: the Climate Change Committee (CCC). UK greenhouse gas emissions have fallen by 48% since 1990¹. Yet despite progress, the CCC’s latest progress report to parliament² warned policy developments were ‘too slow’ and their confidence in the current government’s ability to reach climate targets was waning.

  • The role of interdisciplinary science in the Tyndall Centre

    George, Nicholls, and Warren (2023)
    This briefing note reflects upon the Tyndall Centre’s past, present, and future role as a pioneer for interdisciplinary research that addresses the causes, impacts of, and responses to climate change. Early interdisciplinary initiatives, including the Community Integrated Assessment System (CIAS), have demonstrated it was possible to effectively inform policymakers by bridging the two-way knowledge gap between climate change researchers and stakeholders. Interdisciplinarity has also diversified the forms of research outputs the Tyndall Centre generates within and across projects, providing an opportunity to increase accessibility and research impact. For the Tyndall Centre to continue to champion interdisciplinary science into the future, it is necessary to reflect on the challenges faced in the past and the strategies applied to overcome them.

  • What is 1.5 °C and how can it be useful for climate action?

    Cotton and Vaughan (2023)
    In the coming decade, it is likely that global mean surface temperature will pass 1.5 °C warming (above a pre-industrial average 1850-1900) over the course of one year (Sanderson, 2023). This briefing note captures discussions by Tyndall researchers on the future of the 1.5 °C target, held at the 2023 Tyndall Assembly at the University of East Anglia. These discussions unpacked what a 1.5 °C target is and where it came from, the media and public discourse on 1.5 °C, and what this means for climate action.

  • Generative AI and Climate Research

    Parkinson et al. (2023)
    AI (Artificial Intelligience) has grown in maturity, becoming a technology which can be widely utilised to solve a range of different problems. Given the scale and urgency of the challenges faced with climate change, should generative AI therefore form part of the climate research toolkit?

  • Research in Action

    Fredenburgh et al. (2023)
    It can sometimes be hard to know if your research is having an impact in the real world. The case studies below, however, show the vital importance that academic research can hold for climate mitigation and adaptation. Here we outline four examples that have had material benefits in different settings – council flood prevention, post-Brexit policy, and emissions reduction in the freight and shipping industries.

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