Breaking the silence on overshoot – Climate Weekly

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Pascal Lamy will chair a commission to inform the international response to overshooting Paris Agreement temperature goals (Pic: Arno Mikkor/EU2017EE/Flickr)


It is never the perfect time to talk about overshoot.

Before global warming passes 1.5C, there is a chance, however slim, of staying within the threshold. To entertain the alternative is to normalise the sacrifice of vulnerable communities and ecosystems to fossil fuel interests.

After the target is breached is a little late to start maturing the technologies that could cool things down again and limit the damage.

For Pascal Lamy and the Paris Peace Forum, now is as good a time as any.

A recent study gives only a 6-10% chance of staying below 1.5C warming, based on national targets. The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says sucking carbon dioxide from the air is “an essential element” to meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Lamy will next month launch the Climate Overshoot Commission, a group of 15 brave and/or pragmatic leaders, to ask the hard questions. Who will pay for carbon dioxide removal? What are the ethical and technological limitations? Is solar geoengineering ever a good idea?

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Tsunami plus

The low tech way to remove CO2 from the air is to plant trees. It’s an impermanent solution and sometimes clashes with human rights or food production, but done well it can have a lot of benefits.

Pakistan had one of the boldest afforestation plans in the world under Imran Khan: his 10 billion tree “tsunami”. His ousting as prime minister last week threw that ambition into question.

Incoming climate minister Sherry Rehman assured the public that work would continue, while criticising Khan’s record on other environmental issues like air pollution. She wrote in a statement: “We are not abandoning the tree plantation project, however, our policies need to be more than that if we are to improve the quality of life.”

“[My] prime minister’s mission will be to make France the first great nation to exit gas, oil and coal. It’s possible, and we’ll do it”

Emmanuel Macron’s pitch for green voters in the upcoming French presidential election

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