POLITICO: Planning for the breach


A project in Iceland hopes to suck in 4,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year. | Businesswire via AP
A project in Iceland hopes to suck in 4,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year. | Businesswire via AP

THE OVERSHOOT — What if we don’t make it? Under the 2015 Paris Agreement, the world agreed to limit — or at least try to limit — global warming to 1.5° Celsius.


But we’re approaching that horizon now, and chances are pretty good that we’ll breach it. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change last month said that it is “almost inevitable.”


Enter the Climate Overshoot Commission, a new group that will explore ways to respond and adapt if global warming continues on its present trajectory.


On the commission’s agenda: Large-scale carbon capture and a system to cool the planet by reflecting sunlight back into space.


It all sounds a little sci-fi. Geoengineering is scientifically controversial. And large-scale carbon dioxide removal and sunlight reflection would require global governing structures that don’t exist, which is one problem the commission will try to address.


But big problems demand big ideas. The 16-member group includes former heads of state, government ministers, environmental leaders, academics and others. It’s led by Pascal Lamy, president of the Paris Peace Forum and former director-general of the World Trade Organization.


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