WGC calls out concerns on the new report released by the “Climate Overshoot Commission” promoting risky and dangerous distractions for climate action

14th September 2023

New York, NY – The Women and Gender Constituency (WGC), a rights-based network that advocates for gender-just climate solutions, is deeply concerned about the promotion of speculative, risky, and dangerous technologies from the new report released by the “Climate Overshoot Commission” days before the beginning of the UN Climate Ambition Summit.

The report produced by the Climate Overshoot Commission is particularly biased and problematic as it normalises a false “Plan B” claim. This Commission, a private-led initiative, is constituted by a group of pro-geoengineering scientists and former politicians. A Youth Engagement Group has also been formed to provide views. However, some of the commissioners as well as members of the youth group have left the commission as they have raised their criticisms and concerns, particularly regarding their approach and tokenisation of young people to increase acceptance of their discourse.

 Gina Cortés Valderrama, co-Focal Point of the WGC and former member of the YEG who stepped down since its launch, states: “The technologies presented in the report, such as solar radiation management (SRM), shift attention and resources away from the real need to address the systemic causes of climate change. This includes corporate interests, extractivist patterns of production and consumption, as well as the appropriation of territories for the exploitation of natural resources.

“As decolonial and intersectional feminists we scrutinize the invisible, visible, and hidden powers behind the climate crisis that are deeply intertwined with issues of social injustice and gender inequality. This is why we are highly concerned about the undue and desired influence and disproportionate power wielded by elite actors behind the Commission aiming to shape the climate policy discourse and its technological development.

“The Climate Overshoot Commission even instrumentalises feminists’ fights and advocacy work by co-opting “CARE” as an acronym to raise empathy towards their agenda – however, their recommendations in the report and the logic of their actions do not coincide with the fundamental principles of a care economy.”

Geoengineering techniques like SRM raise significant ethical and environmental concerns. These technologies would disproportionately affect marginalized communities, exacerbate gender inequalities and human rights violations, and potentially create new forms of environmental injustice and sacrifice zones.

“Promoting outdoor research to use territories and ecosystems across the globe as test laboratories follows a line of colonial thinking. This is particularly true as Indigenous Peoples rejected these projects, including in Alaska and Sweden, as human rights abuse, and African governments have recently rejected the deployment of solar geoengineering by calling for a global Solar Geoengineering Non-Use Agreement (SGNUA)” adds Cortés.

The report deliberately ignores the SGNUA – being endorsed by more than 450 academics from across disciplines and continents – and an existing global and rigorous moratorium on geoengineering under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

We call on governments, organizations, and individuals to prioritize gender-inclusive, justice-oriented, and community-driven approaches to climate action. The “Climate Overshoot Commission” report’s recommendations pose a threat to further delay the real climate action needed, incentivizing projects with huge risks and impacts particularly for Indigenous Peoples, women in all their diversity and frontline communities, jeopardizing the goals of the Paris Agreement itself.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urgently called world leaders to commit to fossil fuel phase-out plans. This echoes the voice of frontline communities and the latest science advocating for rapid, just, and equitable transitions as a priority to limit global warming temperatures to 1.5°C.

To respond properly to today’s multiple crises, it is crucial to recognize and address dangerous distractions towards this aim, ensuring that they do not exacerbate existing inequalities.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Gina Cortés Valderrama
Co-Focal Point UNFCCC Women and Gender Constituency