Making climate science more relevant

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Science  28 Oct 2016:
Vol. 354, Issue 6311, pp. 421-422
DOI: 10.1126/science.aag3248

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For nearly three decades, the central goal in international climate policy had been to set the political agenda—to engage all countries on the need for action. So long as that was the goal, it was sufficient for policy-makers to focus on simple indicators of climate change, such as global average surface temperature With the 2015 Paris Agreement, governments launched a process that can move beyond setting agendas to coordinating national policies to manage the climate. Next month in Marrakesh, diplomats will convene to flesh out the Agreement. They need to focus on the infrastructure of data and analysis that will be needed as the Agreement becomes operational. The scientific community can help by identifying better lagging indicators to describe what has changed as policy efforts progress, and leading indicators to focus policy on the right risks as the planet warms.