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We summarize some of the past year's most important findings within climate change-related research. New research has improved our understanding about the remaining options to achieve the Paris Agreement goals, through overcoming political barriers to carbon pricing, taking into account non-CO2 factors, a well-designed implementation of demand-side and nature-based solutions, resilience building of ecosystems and the recognition that climate change mitigation costs can be justified by benefits to the health of humans and nature alone. We consider new insights about what to expect if we fail to include a new dimension of fire extremes and the prospect of cascading climate tipping elements.
A synthesis is made of 10 topics within climate research, where there have been significant advances since January 2020. The insights are based on input from an international open call with broad disciplinary scope. Findings include: (1) the options to still keep global warming below 1.5 °C; (2) the impact of non-CO2 factors in global warming; (3) a new dimension of fire extremes forced by climate change; (4) the increasing pressure on interconnected climate tipping elements; (5) the dimensions of climate justice; (6) political challenges impeding the effectiveness of carbon pricing; (7) demand-side solutions as vehicles of climate mitigation; (8) the potentials and caveats of nature-based solutions; (9) how building resilience of marine ecosystems is possible; and (10) that the costs of climate change mitigation policies can be more than justified by the benefits to the health of humans and nature.
Social media summary
How do we limit global warming to 1.5 °C and why is it crucial? See highlights of latest climate science.
In the south-eastern Amazon, positive feedbacks between land use and severe weather events are increasing the frequency and intensity of fires, threatening local biodiversity. We sampled fruit-feeding butterflies in experimental plots in a south-eastern Amazon forest: one control plot, one plot burned every 3 y, one plot burned yearly. We also measured environmental parameters (canopy cover, temperature, humidity). Our results show no significant differences in overall species richness between plots (34, 37 and 33 species respectively), although richness was lower in burned plots during the dry season. We found significant differences in community composition and structure between control and burned plots, but not between burned treatments. In the control plot, forest-specialist species represented 64% of total abundance, decreasing to 50% in burned every 3 y and 54% in yearly burned plots. Savanna specialist species were absent in the control plot, but represented respectively 8% and 3% of total abundance in burned plots. The best predictor of the change in spatial community patterns and abundance of forest specialists was canopy cover. Although we found high resilience to forest burning in many species, our study suggests that fire disturbance can still be a threat to forest specialists due to changes in microclimate.
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