World-leading scientists launch international climate crisis advisory group

Expert panel inspired by Independent Sage is calling for ‘urgent, large-scale action’ to tackle biodiversity and climate crises

Harry Cockburn
Tuesday 22 June 2021 14:09 BST
<p>Panel will focus on global approaches to cutting emissions, advancing carbon capture technology and restoring nature</p>

Panel will focus on global approaches to cutting emissions, advancing carbon capture technology and restoring nature

Leading scientists are to launch an independent body to scrutinise governments’ responses to the climate and biodiversity crises, and suggest how policymakers can mitigate the worst impacts.

The Climate Crisis Advisory Group (CCAG) has been inspired by Independent Sage – which has provided independent scientific advice to the UK government and public during the coronavirus pandemic – and the new body will be lead by Sir David King, the former UK chief scientific adviser, and current leader of Independent Sage.

“We are calling for urgent, large-scale action to curb the effects of climate change,” the group said in a launch statement.

The group is made up of 14 experts from 10 nations across every continent, and will issue monthly reports on global efforts to tackle the climate and biodiversity crises.

They include Fatih Birol, the chief executive of the International Energy Association, Robert Corell, the principal and director of the US Global Environment Technology Foundation, Professor Ye Qi, of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Professor Mercedes Bustamante, an ecologist at the University of Brasilia, in Brazil, Lavanya Rajamani, a professor of international environmental law at the Faculty of Law at the University of Oxford, and Dr Tero Mustonen, an expert in Arctic biodiversity at the non-profit Snowchange Cooperative in Finland.

“I believe we have a truly superb group of scientists, one that I am looking forward to working with,” Sir David said.

Sir David King, the head of Independent Sage, will lead the Climate Crisis Advisory Group

The group has said it is committed to three approaches to dealing with the crises. These are: reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, scaling up technologies to remove greenhouse gases from the air, and repairing and restoring the natural world.

“Current targets are not enough,” the statement on the CCAG website says. “Nations need to triple their emissions-cutting pledges to limit the Earth’s warming.”

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies are still in their infancy, with none currently operating at a large enough scale to significantly offset emissions of greenhouse gases, but the group has said “urgent innovation” and “critical investment” is required in this field.

The group also said “deep research is needed to explore and investigate safe methods and technologies that could repair parts of our damaged climate systems”.

Sir David told The Observer: “We are not just going to say ‘this is the state of the global climate’, but also what should the global response be from governments and companies … What we do in the next five years will determine the future of humanity for the next millennium.”

Arunabha Ghosh, founder and chief executive of India’s Council on Energy, Environment and Water, and one of the experts in the group tweeted: “I joined @ClimateCrisisAG because #sustainability needs to shift from the #margin2mainstream. For that we must  communicate the science but we also must listen to communities. We must #ReduceRemoveRepair & in doing so, sidestep our hubris.”

The group will have its first public meeting on Thursday where it will present a launch paper and invite questions from the media and public.

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