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Climate targets will not be met without research strategy

The UK lacks a research strategy for meeting the targets set out in the 2008 Climate Change Act, according to a new report from Research Fortnight.

The Act requires an 80 per cent cut in CO2 emissions from 1990 levels to be made before 2050. But the report, which looked at research programmes across government, found there is no coordinated strategy on how to gain the knowledge needed to meet the requirements.

The lack of a strategy leaves the government open to duplication of research and missing out on the studies needed to meet targets, the report suggests.

Financing Climate Research: A guide for UK researchers and policymakers, published on 15 September, was compiled by a team of writers and researchers led by the publication’s comment and analysis editor John Dwyer.

The report finds there is no agreed figure for how much the UKs is spending on climate change research or where. Priorities of the government’s 10-year, £1 billion flagship climate research programme, Living With Environmental Change, do not align with the Climate Act, it adds.

The report also highlights particular fields, such as questions around climate ‘tipping points’ and forecasting, where further study should be commissioned. Capacity for social and behavioural research, as well as a general capacity to commission and process research, is lacking from the Department for Energy and Climate Change, it adds.

The report is designed for UK-based individuals and organisations applying for climate change research funds, and also for those who provide funding and includes information on UK funding sources compared to the EU.

It finds that the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Commission is the single largest source of funding for climate change research and includes advice and case studies on making successful applications.

Report available here.