Addressing climate change at regional level: the French IPCC-like science-policy interfaces

Organizer: Yohana Cabaret
Format: Online, Evening

Since 1990 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) provides comprehensive syntheses of available scientific knowledge on climate change, its impacts on our planet and mankind and how to cope with them. Although the IPCC reports gained in both accuracy and relevance and the institution overcame relentless attacks from climate change sceptics and various economic lobbies, the expected shift in government policies failed to materialise, at least at the scale required. One among many difficulties in both mitigation and adaptation is the implementation of policies at local level, to channel national mitigation and decarbonation strategies into concrete action and investments in various domains (lodging, transport, agriculture etc). In this contexty, we have seen the emergence of scientific assessment – IPCC-like – regional mechanisms in various Regions (i.e. regional subnational political and administrative entities) in France. Although with a variety of legal status and unequal human/financial capacities, these scientific bodies undertook to a) downscale the climate change assessment approach to fit the regional level, b) publicise for a wider audience and a wide display of stakeholders the findings of the scientific community, c) provide regional and local decision-makers with a more relevant and convenient set of scientific information in par with the regional/local challenges, what STS research would call “useable knowledge”. AcclimaTerra in Nouvelle-Aquitaine was the first of its kind followed by GREC-SUD in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region and Ouranos Au-Ra in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region to develop but such bodies are emerging nowadays in most regions in spite of the French tradition of political centralisation. In the long term they are likely to change perceptions of the problem in both the public and the decision-makers and increase the ambition of climate change policies at regional/local level. A true policy process innovation in the bud!

Themes: Knowledge-to-Action