Sixteen global leaders successfully launched the Global Commission on Governing Risks from Climate Overshoot, known as the ‘Climate Overshoot Commission’. It held its first meeting on June 9th and 10th at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Conference Center in Italy, supplemented by online participation.
The first achievement was to establish mutual understanding of the Commissioners’ perspectives on climate change and overshoot and to develop a shared foundation of knowledge of the issues and approaches at hand. Of course, the Commissioners were already deeply familiar with climate change, reductions of greenhouse gas emissions, and adaptation. Carbon dioxide removal and sunlight reflection methods present new potentials, dynamics, and uncertainties—some of which remain contested. To this end, the Commission heard in depth from a range of external scientists, diplomats, critics, and other experts. With assistance from the Commission’s high-level science advisors, this learning process will continue.
The Commission charted a path for its future work. Key here is mapping and ensuring good close coordination and transparency with existing relevant governance institutions, processes, and activities regarding the efforts to reducing climate change risks. Future work will particularly emphasize international equity and ensure that emissions reductions remain the top priority of climate action.
Finally, a common thread was that recent events and current politics have caused international cooperation. Multiple challenges loom on the horizon, among which are a potential food crisis, economic stresses as COVID restrictions are relaxed, and persistently uneven development and demographic changes, all of which emphasizes the importance of the Commission’s aim to produce recommendations that are conducive to global cooperation.
- Frank Biermann, Research professor of Global Sustainability Governance, Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University
- James Dyke, Associate Professor in Earth System Science, and Assistant Director of the Global Systems Institute at the University of Exeter, a Fellow of the European Geosciences Union, and serves on the editorial board of the journal Earth System Dynamics
- Janos Pasztor, Executive Director of the Carnegie Climate Governance Initiative (C2G) and Senior Fellow of the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs
The Commission meets next in New York in mid-September, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.