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We summarize what we assess as the past year's most important findings within climate change research: limits to adaptation, vulnerability hotspots, new threats coming from the climate–health nexus, climate (im)mobility and security, sustainable practices for land use and finance, losses and damages, inclusive societal climate decisions and ways to overcome structural barriers to accelerate mitigation and limit global warming to below 2°C.
We synthesize 10 topics within climate research where there have been significant advances or emerging scientific consensus since January 2021. The selection of these insights was based on input from an international open call with broad disciplinary scope. Findings concern: (1) new aspects of soft and hard limits to adaptation; (2) the emergence of regional vulnerability hotspots from climate impacts and human vulnerability; (3) new threats on the climate–health horizon – some involving plants and animals; (4) climate (im)mobility and the need for anticipatory action; (5) security and climate; (6) sustainable land management as a prerequisite to land-based solutions; (7) sustainable finance practices in the private sector and the need for political guidance; (8) the urgent planetary imperative for addressing losses and damages; (9) inclusive societal choices for climate-resilient development and (10) how to overcome barriers to accelerate mitigation and limit global warming to below 2°C.
Social media summary
Science has evidence on barriers to mitigation and how to overcome them to avoid limits to adaptation across multiple fields.
Terrestrial ecosystems provide a number of key services to society that are linked to carbon (C) cycle processes, a few of which include controlling food and fiber production, basic building materials, energy sources, and soil water holding capacity. Human societies have developed a number of land-use practices to enhance biological C processes and increase the delivery of many ecosystem services. However, some of the modifications have led to unintended degradation of land systems in ways that have reduced the natural capacity of ecosystems to maintain a range of supporting, provisioning, and regulating services.
As society strives to sustain key ecosystem services while attempting to meet the challenge of a growing human population and manage for climate change, new and sustainable land-use strategies must play a role. Sustainable management practices – those that maintain the provision of ecosystem services at or from a location – should be a main component of any land-use strategy if we are to successfully deal with global environmental challenges. Society is now demanding much more from land-use systems to achieve multiple goals. Multiple ecosystems services are being required from these systems – to provide food, environments for maintaining biodiversity, and production of energy products, and for preventing pollutants from entering the air and waterways. Developing land-system practices and policies that consider the long-term dynamics of C cycling among competing ecosystem services will provide a framework to develop more sustainable land management.
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