Climate Crisis Advisory Group: New body launches, modelled after British scientists’ Covid-19 initiative | Climate Change

Sir David King (pictured) is chairing the new Group. Image: ClimateRepair, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sir_David_King_-_photograph..jpg

Called the Climate Crisis Advisory Group, the new entity is headed up by the UK’s former chief scientific advisor Sir David King and has been modelled on Independent Sage – a group of scientists that has scrutinised the UK Government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic since early 2020. Sir King first flagged his intention to chair such a Group in late 2020.

Members of the Group represent 10 nations and “every continent”, the body said in a statement. The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) executive director Fatih Birol is one of the 14 members. Areas of expertise covered by the membership include high-level national and international agreements, water systems, behaviour change and climate change communications, climate adaptation, nature restoration and indigenous knowledge on biodiversity.

The Climate Crisis Advisory Group will host monthly updates online, recapping the global state of play in terms of climate impacts and changes to relevant policies, before providing scrutiny and recommendations. The first of these meetings will take place on Thursday (24 June) to outline the Group’s three-pronged approach for delivering “urgent, large-scale action to curb the effects of climate change”. This approach centres around reducing emissions, removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and repairing “parts of our damaged climate systems”. Geoengineering is flagged under this last pillar, along with nature restoration.

Under the first pillar, it is believed that the Group will argue that targeting net-zero globally by 2050 is not a sufficient response to the climate crisis. Alternative dates between 2035 and 2040 have been posted in a draft statement.

Between meetings, Group members will continue their own respective research and advocacy but will also be able to issue interim statements on breaking news stories and provide interviews to journalists.

“We are hoping that by putting expertise directly into the public domain we are reaching into policymakers’ decision processes, and into the financial sector and how they invest in our future,” King told the Observer.

The launch of the new Group comes shortly after a major joint report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IBPES) outlined how the global policy response to the twin climate and nature crises has, thus far, proven insufficient.

The UN’s 2020 emissions gap report concluded

that the global temperature increase by 2100 is likely to be more than 3C, while the Paris Agreement requires either a “well below” 2C pathway or 1.5C pathway. On nature, the vast majority of scientists in the field recognise that Earth is on the brink of a sixth mass extinction, and the spending gap needed to properly halt nature loss and restore key habitats is estimated to be $500bn per year.

Sarah George

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