The Climate Governance Commission aims to fill a crucial gap in confronting the global climate emergency by developing, proposing and building partnerships that promote feasible, high impact global governance solutions for urgent and effective climate action to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C or less. Worldwide greenhouse gas emissions need to be halved by 2030 and then halved again every decade to fall to zero by 2050, following the “Carbon Law”. Among other partners, the Commission is collaborating with the Global Challenges Foundation, Stimson Center and the Exponential Roadmap Initiative.
Given the gravity of current circumstances and the narrow window for collective action, when designing solutions, exponential and disruptive thinking – rather than purely linear thinking – is needed. The Commission has identified three major climate action gaps that prevent the implementation of solutions at the pace and scale needed to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C or below.
The Solution-Action Gap – technological, economic and social solutions exist, but are not implemented at the pace and scale that mirrors the magnitude of the challenge. For example, the Exponential Roadmap Initiative has identified 36 technologically viable and market-ready solutions that can be scaled to halve greenhouse gas emissions globally by 2030 and that provide pathways to achieve the temperature rise limitation target.
The Policy Gap – policies to support effective implementation of technological and other solutions also exist, such as carbon pricing and the removal of fossil fuel subsidies, but are not being implemented at the pace and scale that is needed, nor are they being sufficiently scaled up and diffused globally to enable the required climate action. “Exponential policies” are needed as well; that is policies that support exponential climate action and that could themselves be scaled up exponentially and diffused globally.
The Governance Gap – there is still a deficit in governance mechanisms at a global level that can reliably and effectively promote the implementation of exponential climate policies and the achievement of collective climate targets.
The Commission’s goal is to identify and create partnerships around high impact governance solutions that can resolve and overcome these gaps. A synthesis report on how to bridge the gaps and possible solutions will be presented in October 2021.
Looking at different types of global governance solutions according to the Commission’s explorations to date there may be several ways forward, for example:
Bottom-up pathways, such as “climate clubs” of like-minded states, the establishments of climate councils (at various levels of governance), strengthened multi-stakeholder alliances, a proposed Green Hydrogen Alliance;
New institutions, for example, a consolidated Global Environment Agency, a new Global Resilience Council;
Reformed or enhanced existing institutions, such as the incorporation of clear climate goals within the WTO and the international trade system, strengthening UNFCCC and COP working methods, exploring an appropriate, strengthened role for the UN Security Council.
Strengthened international law, such as with the establishment of an International Court for the Environment , considering greater use of the International Court of Justice or the International Criminal Court, new legal paradigms to recognize the “earth system”.