Between February 10 and 12, Commissioners Basri, Beinecke, Calderon, Campbell, Godrej, Gonzalez, Kalibata, Khar, Tubiana, Xue, and Tong and joined Chair Lamy in person in Jakarta, Indonesia or remotely for the Commission’s fourth meeting. Scientific Advisors Thelma Krug, Chris Field and Michael Obersteiner as well as ad hoc advisor Geoff Lamb joined them.
A strong focus of this meeting was adaptation problems and possible solutions in a world of climate overshoot. Particularly salient issues were raised by Commissioners, among which extreme heat and its impact on food systems; sea level rise urban and energy systems; and extreme weather events.
The Commission examined in depth the conditions and instruments to implement these adaptation approaches. Deliberations among Commissioners on adaptation on recommendation will continue until with an aim at finalizing them during the next plenary meeting in Nairobi. The Jakarta meeting was also an opportunity to also advance other areas covered by the Commission. Among them:
The Commission opened a section of the report on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, proposing equally radical solutions. They heard the results of the work of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate - of which several members are also members of the Climate Overshoot Commission - and layed out economic arguments showing green growth is higher quality, more resilient, inclusive. Key ingredients in such cases are resource efficiency, infrastructure investment, and innovation.
The Commissioners discussed issues related to the public regulation of potential carbon dioxide removal (CDR) market mechanisms, to their governance, and the polluter-pays principles and their sustainability. They made progress on provisional recommendations on CDR along two lines: criteria for categorizing different approaches and impacts, and market tools to incentivize the rapid and large-scale deployment of quality CDR. Furthermore, Commissioners opened the conversation on the overall global burden-sharing of deployment costs and possible allocation keys.
The Commission then heard about nature-based solutions (NBS) in CDR and adaptation, their definition, additions and limitations. The discussion highlighted the specificities of NBS, and in particular their dual purpose of helping both humans, climate and biodiversity. Their multiple goals lead to necessary trade-offs, and NBS should not be seen as an alternative to emissions reductions. It was also stressed that NBS’s capacity and effectiveness depend on local circumstances and details of implementation, and decrease with climate change.
The Commission moved its thinking forward on sunlight reflection methods (SRM), diving into the desirable conditions and governance criteria for this set of potential technologies. In particular, it was stressed that early attention to potentially serious governance problems–preventing unilateral deployment, discouraging the view that SRM could solve climate change–are important to prevent risks. Unintended consequences is the core of what needs to be researched, especially on possible impacts on coupled systems: human, ecosystems, agriculture, oceans. Capacity building must be global and not confined to developed countries.
The Commission learned from guest speaker Jim Palardy of the Pew Charitable Trusts of the multiple roles of the oceans in climate change: as a sink of heat and carbon dioxide, as a site of impacts, and a system that offers possible means to reduce climate change. All these exchanges were informed by many policy insights from Commissioners on the evolution of the international climate debate and how the Commission can best fit into it to maximize its impact.
Mr. Bill Gates sent a supportive video to the work of the Commission.
- Geoffrey Lamb, former President of Global Policy, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; former Vice-President, World Bank
- Jim Palardy, Ph.D, Project Director, The Pew Charitable Trusts
The Commission meets next in Nairobi, Kenya, in early May, home of Commissioner Agnes Kalibata.