The CNRS, a key player in the COP 21
From climate to global change: the CNRS at the forefront

Multidisciplinary by nature and interdisciplinary by purpose, the CNRS is a major player in all the scientific fields associated with global change. It will contribute its scientific expertise to the UN 21st Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP 21) to be held in Paris in late 2015.

A pluridisciplinary approach

The CNRS relies on the wide-ranging skills of more than 2,000 researchers to shed light on the complex social, economic, health and environmental factors that shape the future of natural systems and human societies.

Testing a core drill prototype at the Concordia station in Antartica © CNRS Photothèque / IPEV / Delhaye Claude

All scientific fields contribute to improving this knowledge, in particular the Earth sciences, ecology and environmental studies, the humanities and social sciences, as well as engineering and systems sciences.

Understanding the Earth’s system

Scientific expertise must be mobilized in order to:

  • Observe and understand the environment, its structural elements and their interactions, based on a broad variety of data collected through multiple innovative methods;
  • Describe, analyze and develop models of ecosystems (encompassing their human dimensions) in all their diversity and complexity;
  • Analyze the evolution of societies and human activities as they interact with climate change in a context of global change, while considering their impact in the short-, medium- and long-term.

Action through better understanding

The various reports by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) have highlighted the role of human activity in the rise of average temperatures at the surface of the planet.

Scientists are well aware of the complexity of these problems and propose to explore scenarios that integrate the short- and medium-term interactions between environments, human behavior, practices and official policies. This approach is an essential complement to technological innovation and public action.

These research projects will enable decision-makers to take into account, depending on the circumstances, the various viewpoints, and the broad range of individual and collective interests of the parties involved at the local and global level, in order to take action for the benefit of societies and natural environments.

Proposing innovative solutions

Researchers have a crucial role to play by:

  • Developing technologies and innovations to promote efficient and responsible energy use, the implementation of alternative production systems, sustainable architecture and urban planning, waste recycling, etc.;
  • Designing integrated solutions for reducing and/or reusing the energy allocated to computer and data storage systems;
  • Proposing strategies to help prevent and adapt to extreme events, based on an improved understanding of ecosystems’ ability to adapt to ecological constraints;
  • Restoring the ecological functions (e.g. carbon filtration and storage) of natural (wetlands, forests, coastal areas, etc.) and urban environments, and developing ecological engineering and phytoremediation;
  • Raising awareness among local populations and stakeholders and involving them in environmental monitoring and the search for alternative solutions (citizen science).

To find out more

COP 21: a busy schedule for the CNRS

Through to June 9
An open forum on climate change and biodiversity

In the greater Paris area, Corsica and the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region.

June 8
“Ocean and Climate” conference at UNESCO in Paris

World Oceans Day Unesco's website

July 7 – 10
“Our Common Future Under Climate Change”

UNESCO scientific symposium in Paris, in partnership with the CNRS.

Our Common Future Under Climate Change website

October 16–18
The 25th Rencontres Sciences et Citoyens (“Science and Citizens Debates”) in Poitiers

Prior to the event, young people will be asked to think of solutions for reducing and adapting to the effects of climate change. Their ideas will be presented and discussed during the debates.

Rencontres Sciences et Citoyens website (French)

November 13–14
"Que reste-t-il à découvrir? the CNRS forum"

An event exclusively focused on global change, in parallel with a “post-apocalyptic” film festival in Paris. The forum also features the first report on a citizen science initiative, launched by the CNRS, on the adaptation of biodiversity to climate change.

Le forum du CNRS website (French)

Fresco on the oceans and climate

In the Paris Metro, in collaboration with Tara Expeditions.

November 30 – December 11
CNRS / Club France

The CNRS will participate in various actions in partnership with the Club France.