Published on Feb 12, 2021

Each year Future Earth consults with researchers and carries out a horizon scan in fields related to climate change to assess the latest findings and most important new emerging trends. This report summarizes 10 new important climate science insights, and is a testament to how valuable scientific synthesis is for policy and society at large, by expanding and improving the knowledge of our planetary climate systems and the interactions with the human world.

Earth System Governance fellows Otto Spijkers, Thomas Hickman, Michelle Scobie and Jakob Skovgaard and Pedro Henrique Campello Torres were among 57 leading global researchers who contributed to this interdisciplinary effort. As a core project of Future Earth, the Earth System Governance Project contributes much needed governance and social science perspectives to the field of global environmental change.

While this report confirms the continued amplification of key environmental impacts, such as higher than expected emissions from permafrost thaw and possible weakening of the land sink, it also points to opportunities that arise from new insights in climate change economics and governance, and the possibility of using climate litigation. There is still a window of opportunity but 2021 will be a critical year to act if the world is to achieve the Paris Agreement targets.

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