12.05.2022 - Focus of the IPCC Assessment Reports Has Shifted to Lower Temperatures
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12.05.2022 - Focus of the IPCC Assessment Reports Has Shifted to Lower Temperatures

Expected temperature rise of more than two degrees Celsius plays a minor role in climate research as a publication from authors from Giessen, Potsdam and Cambridge identified.

Although a significantly stronger global temperature increase is to be expected, climate research is still too much concerned with the so-called two-degree target of the international climate policy. A team of researchers from the Justus Liebig University Giessen (JLU), the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics in Potsdam and the University of Cambridge now identified that the actual topic is being missed in a recent article in the scientific journal "Earth's Future".

In their article, the researchers refer to the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), for which tens of thousands of specialist articles are regularly evaluated and which reflect the current state of climate research. The researchers from Giessen, Potsdam and Cambridge used automated text analysis procedures to examine all IPCC reports published to date. The results showed a clear trend: half of the first four reports (published 1990-2007) deal with a temperature increase of more than two degrees Celsius and the other half with a lower temperature increase. In the fifth (2013) and sixth (2021) reports, however, the proportion of temperature rises of less than two degrees Celsius considered jumps to 60 and 80 percent, respectively.

The authors raise the question of why scientists are currently primarily concerned with projections that assume the targeted, limited global warming, while there are many indications that the temperature increase is likely to be significantly higher. The International Energy Agency, for example, predicts that the measures currently being taken to combat climate change will not ensure that the rise will be less than 2.4 degrees, but it could become 2.8 degrees.

First author Dr. Florian Ulrich Jehn from the Institute of Landscape Ecology and Resource Management at JLU comments: "As long as we are moving towards a stronger global temperature increase, this should be the focus of research."


Florian U. Jehn, Luke Kemp, Ekaterina Ilin, Christoph Funk, Jason R. Wang, Lutz Breuer: „Focus of the IPCC Assessment Reports Has Shifted to Lower Temperatures“, Earth’s Future, 06 May 2022

Chair of Landscape, Water and Biogeochemical Cycles
Dr. Florian Ulrich Jehn
Prof. Dr. Lutz Breuer

The research was supported by the SDGneuxs Network. The SDGnexus Network, financed by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), is a global community of universities, research centers, and stakeholders that aims to strengthen higher education for enabling effective and innovative contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations.  SDGnexus Network is based at the Center for international Development and Environmental Research (Zentrum für internationale Entwicklungs- und Umweltforschung, ZEU) of Justus Liebig University Giessen, Germany.