Top 10 insights in climate science in 2020

3rd February, 2021

The 10 New Insights in Climate Science 2020 report was prepared by a consortium of 57 leading researchers from 21 countries - including our CESET partner Professor Vanesa Castán Broto. As a partnership of Future Earth, the Earth League, and the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), the series synthesizes the latest sustainability research for the international science-policy community, with annual installments since 2017.

This year’s top insights are below:

  1. Improved understanding of Earth’s sensitivity to carbon dioxide strengthen support for ambitious emission cuts to meet Paris Agreement
  2. Emissions from thawing permafrost likely to be worse than expected:
  3. Tropical forests may have reached peak uptake of carbon
  4. Climate change will severely exacerbate the water crisis
  5. Climate change can profoundly affect our mental health
  6. Governments are not seizing the opportunity for a green recovery from COVID-19
  7. COVID-19 and climate change demonstrates the need for a new social contract
  8. Economic stimulus focused primarily on growth would jeopardize the Paris Agreement
  9. Electrification in cities pivotal for just sustainability transitions
  10. Going to court to defend human rights can be an essential climate action

For full access to the resources visit:




To cope with future climate change, we require detailed knowledge about the functioning of the climate system, and actionable information has to be developed about regional to local climate change and its impacts. This report provides several examples of important progress in both categories.

Prof Detlef Stammer, University of Hamburg and Joint Scientific Committee Chair of the World Climate Research Programme