Climate change

The search for solutions


IRD has made the study of climate change one of its research priorities. It conducts multidisciplinary research in more than 25 countries, in regions that are key to understanding environmental changes and that are especially vulnerable to the impact that these changes could have. 

To support public policies, IRD researchers: 

Faced with these complex issues, in which interactions between communities and their environment are particularly strong, the IRD proposes an integrated scientific approach. The strength of its network of partners, both in the Global North and South, means it can develop highly multidisciplinary research programmes at regional scales. IRD promotes the consideration of climate aspects in development issues, by using the direct results of its research, developing decision-making aids, transferring knowledge to the populations, training experts and building research capacity in countries in the Global South.

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Key figures

Flagship projects

COP21: IRD’s involvement

IRD has served as an observer for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change since 2014 and was actively involved throughout 2015 preparing for COP21 with its partners from the French higher education and research system, and especially with the academic and scientific communities from developing countries.

The Pacific at the heart of the Earth’s climate machine

The Pacific western boundary currents carry huge quantities of warm water containing salts and nutrients, which have a considerable influence on climate. Although they were discovered some time ago, these oceanic systems are still not fully understood. An IRD team, together with Chinese, Australian and American partners, recently published a report in Nature magazine reviewing the latest findings on these Pacific currents, their variations, their impact and their response to climate change.

The ‘4 per thousand’ initiative

IRD, Inra and Cirad have joined forces for the ‘4 per thousand’ scientific initiative launched by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), as part of the Lima-Paris Action Agenda. The goal of this initiative is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve carbon sequestration in agricultural soils, and is a promising avenue for research. It also contributes to food safety and to the security of agricultural jobs.

2015 Highlights
  • Third global scientific conference on Climate-Smart Agriculture

    This international event was held in Montpellier in March 2015.

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  • MedCOP21

    Marseille hosted the Mediterranean Civil Society Forum for Climate Change (MEDCOP21) on 4 and 5 June 2015. IRD and its partners from the Global South took part in different focus sessions, themed workshops and public events.

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  • International conference on biodiversity and climate change in Quito

    This conference was organised by IRD and its partners to mark the International Day for Biological Diversity.

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  • Scientific conference: ‘Our Common Future under Climate Change’

    Close to 2,000 researchers took part in this major scientific event ahead of COP21.

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  • Climate change and health

    IRD and its partners organised this workshop to coincide with the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit held from 25 to 27 September 2015.

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And in the future?

IRD, a key contributor at COP22

After its involvement in COP20 and 21, IRD will naturally take part in COP22, putting special focus on Mediterranean issues. Through their actions, IRD and its partners will continue to uphold the positions it defended at COP21. The Institute will organise and support a whole series of events throughout the year and during COP22. Many of these events will draw on the work conducted in countries around the Mediterranean, although IRD will continue to work with Inra, Cirad and the CGIAR on the scientific element of the ‘4 per 1000’ initiative and other three-way cooperation projects.
COP22 will also be an opportunity to spotlight the network of Mediterranean Experts on Climate and Environmental Change (MedECC) formed during MedCOP21.