Climate – Planetary Emergency
Coupled with securing long-term human health and wellbeing, climate change and biodiversity loss are today’s most pressing global challenges. For years, scientists warned about the risks of straying beyond our planetary boundaries. The Limits to Growth report issued the first warning about unsustainable human activity on our planet 50 years ago. In 1972, its authors made the case that unlimited growth in population, material goods and resources on a finite planet would eventually lead to the collapse of Earth’s environmental and economic systems. Yet, it was only in 2020 that the public at large experienced the real impact of the encroachment of humanity on these limits through a zoonotic disease called COVID-19.
Living our lives as if Earth is infinite and shock resistant as we are doing today, is pushing our planet towards a series of tipping points that will become the greatest existential threat to humanity. Decades of exponential consumption and population growth have come to imperil the Earth’s climate and life-supporting systems, while reinforcing social and economic inequalities globally. We find ourselves in the midst of a Planetary Emergency, facing interconnected and mutually reinforcing climate, biodiversity and health crises.
The Club of Rome’s historical recognition of the existential nature of this threat, the need for an integrated emergency response and the opportunity for transformation that emergence offers, is the unique contribution that the Club of Rome wishes to bring to the global community.
THE PLANETARY EMERGENCY PLAN
Too often, interconnected crises are viewed in siloes, when there is an urgent need to address them as one integrated challenge. The Planetary Emergency Plan, which was drafted in partnership with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), aims to do just that.
First published in 2019, the Planetary Emergency Plan provides a set of key policy levers to address the cross-cutting challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss and human health and wellbeing. The Plan outlines a vision of transformation and regeneration; a roadmap for governments and other stakeholders to to shift our societies and economies to bring back balance between people, planet and prosperity. Only then can we truly emerge from emergency. The Plan is a novel contribution to the emergency debate, recognising the inextricable interconnectedness of the three challenges referred to above and providing an alternative approach to conventional siloed, sectoral policy action. It combines a focus on protecting and restoring our Global Commons with implementing a series of economic and social transformations to guarantee the long-term health and well-being of people and planet.
The first edition of the Planetary Emergency Plan was launched at WWF’s Leaders for Nature and People event in September 2019, on the sidelines of the UN Climate Action Summit. The Plan has since been infused into international discussions on climate, biodiversity, sustainable development and global risks, providing The Club of Rome with unprecedented entry-points at the highest levels of decision-making. It forms the foundation of a global Planetary Emergency Partnership and has inspired global campaigns and policy efforts.
In the first year since the publication of the Plan, the world has changed significantly. COVID-19 has exposed our vulnerabilities and has reinforced the case for emergency action. The Club of Rome and PIK initiated a revision process for the Plan, in order to ensure that the Planetary Emergency Plan 2.0 accurately reflects the convergence of three urgent crises (climate, biodiversity and health) and guides the work of the Planetary Emergency Partnership post-COVID. The Plan 2.0 was presented during the Earth Overshoot Day on 20 August 2020.
THE PLANETARY EMERGENCY PARTNERSHIP
One year after the publication of the first Planetary Emergency Plan, the Club of Rome and Potsdam Institute, with the support of WWF, launched the Planetary Emergency Partnership to support the delivery of the Planetary Emergency Plan. Its goal: to advocate for a global Planetary Emergency declaration and to implement the commitments and actions set out in the Plan.
Born from the need to bring together siloed voices from the climate, biodiversity and health communities to adequately address the emergency we face, the Partnership has grown from 30 Partners in late 2019 to over 300 Partners by the end of 2020. The strength of the network is its diversity: the Partnership brings together civil society organisations, academics, scientists, business leaders and public officials from across the globe and climate, biodiversity/nature and health sectors.
As a coalition of coalitions, the Partnership provides one of the largest, unbranded civil society coordination platforms to help build for a successful ‘triple crown’ of the UN Food Systems Summit, CBD COP15 and COP26 summits in 2021.