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How researchers can help fight climate change in 2022 and beyond

How researchers can help fight climate change in 2022 and beyond

COP26 energized the global effort to halt global warming. Research is now crucial to monitoring progress and creating solutions.

Late last year, the major climate summit in Glasgow, UK — the 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations climate convention (COP26) — injected much-needed momentum into the political and business community in the fight to stop climate change. The year ahead represents an opportunity for scientists of all stripes to offer up expertise and ensure that they have a voice in this monumental effort.

Science is already baked into the UN’s formal climate agenda for 2022. In February, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is scheduled to release its assessment of the latest research into how climate warming is affecting people and ecosystems; a month later, the panel is set to provide an analysis of the options for curbing emissions and halting global warming. Combined with last year’s report on climate science, the governments of the world will have a solid review of the state-of-the-art of research on climate change. But the research community’s work stretches far beyond the IPCC.

At the top of governments’ climate agenda is innovation. Existing technologies such as wind and solar power, whose price has plummeted over the past decade, and more-efficient lighting, buildings and vehicles will help to reduce emissions. But if green energy is to push out fossil fuels and fulfil the rising demand for reliable power in low-income countries, scientists and engineers will be needed to solve a range of problems. These include finding ways to cut the price of grid-scale electricity storage and to address technical challenges that arise when integrating massive amounts of intermittent renewable energy.


COP26 energized the global effort to halt global warming. Research is now crucial to monitoring progress and creating solutions.
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