2022 was a landmark year for climate change action—and repercussions. President Biden signed the historic Inflation Reduction Act to boost clean energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the midst of the hottest August on record for North America and Europe. Following a summer of historic flooding that put one-third of Pakistan under water, the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP27 in November recommitted to the goals set by the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement and agreed to help countries most vulnerable to climate change. Also in November, U.N. officials met in Uruguay to discuss terms for a treaty to end plastics pollution by 2040, and in December COP15 participants meeting in Montreal adopted a framework to address biodiversity loss, protect indigenous rights and restore the ecosystem.
Whether these actions will be enough to help put the brakes on global warming and keep rising temperatures to less than 2 degrees Celsius—preferably, to 1.5 degrees as stated in the Paris Climate Agreement—depends on steps taken in 2023, experts at Northeastern say. News@Northeastern spoke to associate law school professor Alexandra Meise, engineering professor Auroop Ganguly and public policy professor Maria Ivanova—experts in energy use, climate adaptation and resilience and plastics pollution diplomacy, respectively—about what needs to happen in the next 12 months to meet climate change challenges.