Our Common Future Under Climate Change

International Scientific Conference 7-10 JULY 2015 Paris, France



The International Scientific Conference “Our Common Future under Climate Change” will take place at UNESCO and UPMC (Paris) in July 2015.

This four-day conference will be the largest forum for the scientific community to come together ahead of the 21st UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP21), which will be hosted by France in December 2015 (“Paris Climat 2015”). Building on the results of IPCC 5th Assessment Report (AR5), the Conference will address key issues concerning climate change in the broader context of global change. It will offer an opportunity to discuss solutions for both mitigation and adaptation issues. The Conference will also welcome Side Events organized by different stakeholders.

The conference is organized under the umbrella of ICSU, Future Earth, UNESCO and major French research institutions, with the support of the French Government.

The Conference has four overarching objectives:
1 - Provide state-of-the-art scientific knowledge on climate change, one year after the release of IPCC AR5: physical basis of climate change, impacts, adaptation and vulnerability, mitigation, storylines and scenarios. Special emphasis will be placed on explaining, translating and disseminating the key results of IPCC AR5 and major developments thereafter. This Conference offers the opportunity to progress in our understanding of the multiple interactions between climate change, the geosphere, the biosphere and human societies, at a range of spatial and temporal scales. Special attention will be given to trans-disciplinary research and to emerging concepts.
3 - Assess the potential for evidence-based solutions to climate change challenges. Scientific evidence will be assessed to explore a large array of potential technological, social and institutional solutions to some of the challenges created by climate change. Potential solutions will be discussed in connection with the broader challenges of sustainable development, environmental conservation, equity, and cultural diversity.
2 - Explore a wide range of pathways combining climate change mitigation and adaptation, and sustainable development. Building on forecasts, storylines and scenarios, the Conference will discuss uncertainties; identify areas of consensus, and map controversies while taking stock of the multiple connections to development and environmental challenges within a large diversity of local, national and regional contexts.
4 - Contribute to a science-society dialogue. En route to COP21, the Conference will offer all interested parties (negotiators, policy-makers, businesses, NGOs, public at large) an up-to-date panorama of the insights that science can provide on climate change and how to tackle it. With the post-2015 agenda in sight, the Conference also offers a venue for scientists, policy-makers, businesses and NGOs to debate the research agenda for the coming years (both via the conference itself and side events organized by stakeholders).

Through Plenaries and Parallel Sessions, all major issues are explored through overarching daily themes, moving from present knowledge to future solutions.

A large emphasis is placed on exploring climate change issues through transdisciplinary and integrative approaches, underscoring the need for solutions that cut across sectors and systems and that join stakeholders and communities. The Conference sessions encourage multi-disciplinary and multi-lateral thinking to explore the wide range of topics that cut across climate change issues, from physical feedbacks to social and economic impacts. The Conference sessions offer a broad base for examining a multitude of issues covering the complex and inter-related science-human aspects of climate change.

The Conference is organized around the following daily themes:

  • Day 1: State of Knowledge on Climate Change: Bringing together the latest knowledge from both natural and social sciences, this day addresses the cross-cutting issues related to observed changes in the climate system. It explores drivers and impacts, including GHG emissions, climate variability, extreme events, and physical-ecological-social interactions, connecting both advances and gaps in knowledge across sectors and regions.

  • Day 2: Landscapes of Our Common Future: Looking at future scenarios in the context of the climate change, this day explores possible impacts across and between systems and sectors both in the medium (2030-2050) and long term (2070 and beyond). Contrasted scenarios are investigated as well as their consequences on the interactions between physical, ecological and human systems. An emphasis is placed on examining risks and uncertainties, thresholds and tipping points.

  • Day 3: Responding to Climate Change Challenges: This day addresses mitigation and adaptation options, highlighting scientific and technological breakthroughs and discussing barriers, trade-offs, co-benefits, risks and feedbacks. It explores local and regional responses, and discusses pathways for integration across sectors and stakeholders, emphasizing the need for bottom-up approaches that will be explored through the examples of local and regional case studies.

  • Day 4: Collective Action and Transformative Solutions: This final day of the conference explores transformative solutions to climate change from a cross-sectoral perspective in order to reach integrated solutions especially through collaboration. This includes solutions across a range of disciplines, sectors and stakeholders that encompass technological, institutional, economic and behavioural changes that will lead to transformative pathways to climate change challenges, from the near to long term, and at multiple scales.