As the world’s climate experts gather in Glasgow, Scotland, for the 2021 United Nations Climate Conference, many Princeton environmental scientists are speaking to the moment.
“This is a very, very important meeting for humanity,” said V. “Ram” Ramaswamy, who has developed some of the world’s leading climate models and was one of the many Princeton scholars who shared in the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007. “It’s been almost 30 years since Rio [the seminal 1992 gathering of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro]. And with every decade that passes, the climate crisis is more and more of a serious concern for society, and more and more difficult to cope with.”
The conference has four goals: (1) secure global net zero by mid-century and keep 1.5 degrees Celsius within reach; (2) adapt to protect communities and habitats; (3) mobilize finance; and (4) work together to deliver.
“It’s one thing to predict climate change; it’s another thing to decide what to do, given that prediction,” said Syukuro “Suki” Manabe, a meteorologist in Princeton’s Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences and the 2021 recipient of the Nobel Prize in physics for his work developing the science of climate modeling.