HOW SHOULD THE WORLD REDUCE THE RISK OF TEMPERATURE OVERSHOOT?
In 2015 in Paris, the countries of the world agreed to limit global warming to well below 2 °C and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5 °C. But temperatures are approaching the lower end of these. Even optimistic emissions scenarios indicate a significant chance of overshooting the goals, even if temporarily.
Every extra tenth of a degree and every extra decade of overshoot matter. Greater warming adds to the serious negative impacts on ecosystems and people, especially the most vulnerable, and increases the likelihood of crossing critical planetary boundaries.
The world needs to understand all the options available to limit climate risk.
The primary means to combat climate change should remain the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. But it has become necessary to explore additional approaches to reduce risks beyond what emissions cuts alone can achieve.
Additional approaches include
//greatly expanded and accelerated adaptation measures to reduce climate vulnerability
//removing excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere
//possibly cooling the planet by reflecting incoming sunlight.
These additional approaches should be researched and evaluated so that well-informed decisions can be made about their potential use. Governance is crucial, and should be effective, just, and equitable. But current arrangements are inadequate.
The Climate Overshoot Commission is holding the necessary conversations about whether and how these additional approaches could reduce the risks of a warming climate, and will recommend an integrated governance strategy.
The Commission is the first high-level group to address all these options in a holistic, integrated manner, free from conventional political constraints. Members include former heads of government, national ministers, directors of intergovernmental organizations, leaders of environmental groups, and academic experts.
Our aim is to recommend an integrated strategy that could minimize the damage and suffering to people and the planet.
Former Director-General of the World Trade Organization, France