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First major international conference to discuss the science behind the 1.5°C climate goal

Centre news
Press release

CONFERENCE: ‘1.5 degrees: Meeting the challenges of the Paris Agreement’

LAUNCH: 5pm on 20 September 2016 (conference runs 20-22 Sept)

VENUE:  Oxford Town Hall, St Aldate’s, Oxford, OX1 1BX

The ambition of the 2015 Paris Agreement of the 21st Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change caught the world by surprise. The largest emitters, the United States and China, have already signed up to the agreement, which sets the goal of limiting global warming to ‘well below’ 2°C, with an aim possibly as low as 1.5°C. The Priestley International Centre for Climate is cosponsoring a conference hosted by the University of Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute (ECI), and attended by over 200 scientists, policymakers and business people to understand its implications, looking particularly at how this goal could be achieved. Findings will contribute to a Special Report on 1.5 degrees that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will produce in 2018.

Keynote speakers launching the conference on 20 September include some of the figures behind the Paris climate agreement: Janos Pasztor, Senior Advisor to the UN Secretary-General on Climate Change; and Laurence Tubiana, French climate ambassador.

‘The Paris Agreement was a great achievement,’ says Janos Pasztor, ‘but it was only the beginning. Governments made it clear where they would like to go, but the details of how to get there still need to be worked out. Success depends on implementation: what countries do to reduce emissions and adapt to climate change. The academic community has a responsibility and an opportunity here to think outside the box and come up with new ideas on pathways and implications of rapid climate stabilisation.’

“Meeting the challenge of 1.5°C will require action on all fronts. It’s time for us academics to get out of our ivory towers and work with businesses, NGOs, and governments to provide timely solutions” says Piers Forster, director of the Priestley International Centre for Climate and IPCC Lead Author.

Dr Saleemul Huq, Director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) in Bangladesh and visiting speaker at the Oxford conference, also calls for action: ‘The challenge before the world is to now achieve the long-term temperature goal of 1.5°C which was agreed in Paris in December even if it is hard to do.’

To mark the start of the conference, the ECI will launch a new website:, showing the current level of human-induced climate change, to track progress over coming decades to limiting warming to 1.5°C.

The day after the launch of the Oxford conference, Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, will welcome leaders from 175 countries at a special ratification event in New York. His aim will be to accelerate the entry into force of the Paris Climate Agreement.

Live webcasts of the public keynote talks (17:00 GMT, 20 September) and the main conference talks (09:00-17:15 GMT, 21 – 22 September) can be live streamed at

For more information about the conference, go to

The conference is supported by University of Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute, Priestley International Centre for Climate at the University of Leeds, Center for International Climate and Environmental Research – Oslo,  Met Office, Union of Concerned Scientists, Tyndall Centre for Climate Impacts Research, Future Earth, the International Centre for Climate Change and Development, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis and the University of Cape Town.