Sixteen global leaders launched a new high-level Commission that will explore how to reduce the rising risks to people and nature if global warming continues its present trajectory, threatening to exceed goals. The primary approach to combatting climate change should remain the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. But as temperatures continue to rise and overshooting the Paris Agreement’s global warming goals becomes more likely, additional approaches to reduce climate risks, like geoengineering, have been proposed.
That is what the introduction of the official press release of the commission writes. It seems, however, that “additional approaches to reduce climate risks” are a euphemism for geoengineering, a way of tinkering with the climate with totally unknown outcomes. Because of the unknown risks, geoengineering is heavily criticized by major climate organizations. The press release continues:
These include expanded and accelerated adaptation, the large-scale removal of excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and possibly cooling the planet by reflecting incoming sunlight. Research indicates that, if these options supplemented emissions cuts and were governed well, they could help ward off harm to people and the planet.
Sweden already refused geoengineering project
Interesting to note is that the commission itself mainly consists of politicians without specific expertise, among who is a former minister from Sweden. But that country recently refused a climate engineering experiment. One of the scientists promoting that project was Chris Field, an expert advisor of the commission. Both other experts are active advocates of geoengineering as well.
As the press release continues: The Global Commission on Governing Risks from Climate Overshoot—or “Climate Overshoot Commission”—will present the first integrated strategy that considers these additional options and how they could be governed ahead of the UN Climate Change Summit in 2023. The Commission will focus on ways of effectively minimizing climate risks that are evidence-based, resilient, just, and equitable.
The Climate Overshoot Commission includes four former presidents and prime ministers, six national ministers, two senior international officials, three leaders of major environmental organizations, and an expert in sustainable development and global governance (see full list below), with the majority of Commissioners coming from the Global South. It is chaired by Pascal Lamy, President of the Paris Peace Forum and former Director-General of the World Trade Organization. The Commission will consult with a wide range of stakeholders, civil society organizations and youth movements, and be assisted by high-level scientific advisors.
Mr Lamy said: “All of us would prefer not to confront the consequences of insufficient action. Importantly, we will continue to work towards achieving the world’s climate goals as best we can. But we also have an overriding responsibility to be prepared, in case we do not succeed. That means considering and anticipating all potential responses that could minimize the damage and suffering, especially the most vulnerable.”
The Climate Overshoot Commission is initially hosted by the Paris Peace Forum and is supported by Open Philanthropy, The Rockefeller Foundation, Cohler Charitable Fund, and LAD Climate Fund. Its first meeting will be held in early June at The Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center in Italy. Further details, including the history and approach of the Commission, can be found at www.overshootcommission.org.