Published 2017-11-22

This post is also available in Swedish

Mistra joins UN climate summit in Bonn

Adaptation to climate change is a shared responsibility that requires international measures. For delegates to the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn in November, Mistra Geopolitics wants to drum that message in.

In November, the United Nations Climate Change Conference is being held in Bonn, Germany. Mistra is the organiser of two seminars among the official side events. Researchers at Stockholm Resilience Centre will present, for example, a new action plan that within three years will reverse the current upward emission trend and, in the long term, achieve zero global emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050.


The newly launched research programme Mistra Geopolitics, too, is travelling to Bonn with several researchers, including Magnus Benzief of the Stockholm Environment Institute. He sees the meeting as an excellent opportunity to discuss the issues that are central to the programme: the nature of current and future cross-border climate impacts; who the most vulnerable populations are; and which stakeholders should do what.


‘We’re organising an official side event with a panel debate to discuss one of the most important parts of the Paris Agreement: the global objective of climate change adaptation. We want to sharpen the focus on these important issues, and at the climate summit in Bonn we now have the opportunity to address an international audience,’ Benzie says.


To meet the target adopted in the Paris Agreement — keeping the global temperature rise below two degrees — countries have undertaken to make emission reductions. Equally important are measures to adapt societies to those changes in the climate that are unavoidable (known as ‘adaptation to climate change’). Climate change affects migratory flows; undermines global ecosystems, with consequences for food supply; and has had repercussions on the world’s financial markets, Benzie notes.


‘At present, climate change adaptation is very much focused on local impact and action. But since we’re now seeing cross-border climate effects that encompass many countries, it’s no longer enough,’ Benzie says.


The 2015 Paris Agreement has set a global goal for adaptation to climate change. The Agreement declares that adaptation is a global challenge that requires global measures and global stewardship. How these written objectives are to be interpreted and realised will be a very important topic for discussion at the conference, Benzie thinks.


‘We want to influence the discussion so that the parties also heed the limitless risks caused by climate change. Hopefully, it will highlight our mutual interdependence and the importance of solidarity. ​Adapting successfully to climate change at a global level requires international cooperation.’


For researchers at Mistra Geopolitics who study the interplay among geopolitics, security issues and global environmental change, the need for international cooperation is evident. If Magnus Benzie and his colleagues can highlight the message during the climate summit, he will be satisfied. But Benzie points out that he and his colleagues are also in Bonn to share experience with the other delegates and convey their ideas and opinions to people back home in Sweden afterwards.


‘Gathering representatives from different countries, international organisations, industry and other researchers gives us a chance to discuss ideas that will shape the research we carry out in the programme over the next few years.’