Scientists, policymakers and civil society leaders from France, Germany, Bangladesh, Spain, the US and UK identify their highlights of 2016

(Pic: State Department/Flickr)

(Pic: State Department/Flickr)

Athena Ballesteros, Philippines climate negotiator, head of Asia Climate Finance strategy at Growled Family Fund

China taking on leadership in greening its finance sector with major policy recommendations feeding into the Mark Carney and Bloomberg Task Force on Disclosure but also straight to the G20 leaders communique. As the largest bilateral source of financing for energy and infrastructure investments (US$250 billion) China committing to “green” its finance and investments makes a huge difference and sends strong political signals.

Michael Zammit Cutajar, former UN climate chief

My highlight was the Paris Agreement entering into force, amid reports of growing competitiveness of renewable energy technologies versus coal.

Teresa Ribera, director of Paris-based think tank IDDRI

It was a stormy year. My highlights are the announcement that countries agreed to place the Ross Sea (a large bay of the Southern Ocean in Antarctica) under protection, we saw Arctic temperatures 20C higher than usual; the Paris Agreement came into force in record time for a major UN deal; and finally we now have the prospect of climate denier heading the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Richard Betts, Met Office Fellow, Head of Climate Impacts Research

My highlight of 2016 was successfully forecasting the CO2 concentrations at Mauna Loa (home of the iconic Keeling Curve) for the year, including the fact that this would be the first year with CO2 above 400ppm all year round, due to the influence of the EL Nino giving the CO2 rise an extra kick on top of the effect of human emissions

We predicted that the CO2 concentration in May would be 407.57 +- 0.53 ppm, and the actual value was 407.70 ppm so we were astonishingly spot-on (must have been a bit of luck involved there I think!). But more importantly, we predicted ahead of time…