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Climate Overshoot Commission held its second meeting, will go to COP27

Climate Overshoot Commission held its second meeting in New York during UN

General Assembly, September 16 & 17

The Climate Overshoot Commission held its second meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly and its annual “Climate Week.”

The Commissioners were present both physically and remotely: Pascal Lamy (chair), Hina Rabbani Khar, Laurence Tubiana, Celso Amorim, Muhamad Chatib Basri, Frances Beinecke, Felipe Calderón, Kim Campbell, Jamshyd Godrej, Mahamadou Issoufou, Agnes Matilda Kalibata and Xue Lan. They were joined by the three high-level Science advisors to the Commission: Thelma Krug, Vice-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); Chris Field, professor at Stanford University and former co-chair of IPCC Working Group II (impacts and adaptation); and Michael Obersteiner, Professor and Director of the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford. The Commissioners developed a shared understanding of the impending risk of overshooting the Paris Agreement global warming goals, the decades of insufficient greenhouse-gas emissions reductions that have led to this situation, and the root causes of these conditions. Cutting across these discussions was the impact of the recent multiplication of crises and growing geopolitical risks. The Commission strongly underlined that the Paris Agreement and its globally adopted ambition cycle are pivotal to climate diplomacy efforts and the need to aggressively pursue emissions cuts. Members also emphasized that international mechanisms to pursue development objectives needed to be fulfilled, particularly in this moment of juxtaposed crises weighing on developing economies. The Commissioners then explored in greater depth additional approaches to manage and reduce climate overshoot: adaptation, carbon dioxide removal (CDR), and sunlight reflection methods (SRM). They were presented with the latest scientific developments from advisors Field, Obersteiner and Krug and had subsequent in-depth exchanges. The inadequacy of current adaptation finance and the need for multilateral mechanisms to assess, promote, and fund effective adaptation in diverse national and local settings have been prominently debated. CDR options were discussed with attention, assessing their associated limits and impacts, including issues of scalability, permanence of storage, and potential impacts and co-benefits. Scientific advisors detailed SRM’s potential to address climate change as well as the serious issues it raises: lingering uncertainties, the need to integrate with and maintain emissions reductions, and decision-making complexities. Commissioners expressed a wide range of views marked by caution and questions about the distribution of benefits and risks especially with respect to specific regions and ecosystems, about expected impacts especially in developing economies, and about the extent of existing research, as well as an overall general acknowledgement that the Commission is in a unique position in the SRM research and governance debate. The Commissioners identified further information and analysis on adaptation, CDR and SRM they would need to further their debates on policy decisions, principles and criteria, and that would in turn provide the basis of the Commission’s future recommendations. They concluded by discussing the evolution of global climate change debates leading up to the 27th and 28th Conferences of Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP) and other fora, in order to position the Commission’s further work and to most constructively contribute to an effective climate response. The Commissioners considered, in particular, what activities or communications the Commission might undertake around its third meeting in conjunction with COP27.

The Commission meets next in Egypt in mid-November, on the sidelines of the COP27.

Download a science brief of the meeting on "Assessing Adaptation, CDR, and SRM" here:

Science Brief - Assesing Adaptation, CDR, and SRM Options
Download PDF • 383KB

Upcoming events:

The Commission at the Paris Peace Forum and the UN climate change conference, COP27

The Climate Overshoot Commission will be present at the Paris Peace Forum during its major annual event on 11 and 12 November. There, the Commission will hold a public panel “What can be done if—and when—global warming exceeds the Paris Agreement goals?” and a roundtable discussion “Climate Overshoot Dialogues.” Currently scheduled Commissioners for these are Pascal Lamy, Celso Amorim and Hina Rabbani Khar. Both events will be streamed online at the YouTube Channel of the Paris Peace Forum.

The Commission will host a side event at the upcoming COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. This is scheduled for 17 November at 12:00 noon in the green zone, Hall B.

Youth Engagement Group

Given the longevity of climate change impacts, consulting with the younger generations is critical for decision-making. To enable constructive input into the Commission process, its secretariat is forming a Youth Engagement Group that will facilitate a meaningful and constructive contribution regarding the governance of adaptation, CDR, and SRM, and to enable the Commission to take the diverse perspectives of younger generation(s) into account. Its selection is being overseen by an ad hoc committee of globally diverse, young external advisors.


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