Governing Our Planetary Emergency

Governing Our Planetary Emergency
Charting a Safe Path for a Workable Future

A Statement by the
Climate Governance Commission
18 September 2023

The Climate Governance Commission has issued a Statement entitled Governing Our Planetary Emergency: Charting a Safe Path for a Workable Future, released for the UN General Assembly High-Level Week and Climate Week 18-22 September 2023. It is available here:

Members of the Commission, co-chaired by Mary Robinson, Maria Fernanda Espinosa, and Johan Rockström, preview ideas from their forthcoming report (in time for COP-28 in Dubai), Governing Our Planetary Emergency, on pioneering a system-wide approach to solving the climate crisis while advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. By working with diverse partners and contributing to smart coalitions of governments, civil society groups, cities, businesses, and others worldwide, the Climate Governance Commission aims to advance innovative solutions in the near and medium-term, to catalyze a shift in global governance and provide a practical path forward for ambitious and doable climate action

As the Statement notes: The world faces a deepening planetary emergency – and is on a reckless path toward catastrophic climate change – having already over-stepped six of nine scientifically-identified planetary boundaries. A continued failure to address the underlying causes of this emergency – such as fossil fuel-based economies, resource waste/overconsumption and the destruction of nature – will have further devastating effects for all of humanity, triggering potentially irreversible tipping points, with dangerous consequences for planetary stability, both social and ecological. A system-wide approach to solving the climate crisis is required now, ensuring reliable climate and planetary boundary governance for the Earth as a whole.

The Commission makes ten short-term proposals:
1. Urgent Improvement of Climate COPs to Focus on Delivery, Action, and Accountability
2. Declaration of Planetary Emergency, Planetary Emergency Platform, and Broadening International Security Paradigms
3. Transformative Action and Accountability of Powerful Actors
4. Enhance International Scientific Capacity for Earth System Governance
5. Elevate Environmental Governance within the Multilateral System and MEA Accountability
6. International Economic/Financial Measures
7. Better use of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), International Law, and UN Human Rights Council, and Facilitate Citizen Participation
8. Connecting Trade and International Investment Law with Climate/Planetary Ecological Priorities
9. Business as a Force for Good while holding it Environmentally Accountable
10. Boosting “Next Generation” City and Regional Alliances

In addition, it proposes four deeper reforms:
1. A Global Environment Agency (GEA)
2. An International Court for the Environment
3. Institutional Reform of the Global Financial System
4. UN Charter Reform

The Climate Governance Commission is convened by IEF member Maja Groff and several IEF members have contributed to its work. The proposal for a Global Environment Agency was prepared by IEF board members Sylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen and Arthur Dahl.

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Last updated 19 September 2023