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Climate change: Commonwealth to unveil findings of 60 scientists, others

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‘Femi Asu

The Commonwealth has said it will on Thursday present the findings of more than 60 scientists, ecologists, and others who recently explored cutting-edge approaches to reducing carbon emissions and addressing global warming.

The Commonwealth said in an emailed statement on Tuesday that the stakeholders including activists, academics and funders met in October 2016 at Marlborough House, London.

It said some of the world’s leading environmental experts would meet at a Commonwealth conference this week to see how they can take forward an innovative strategy to reverse the human impact of climate change.

According to the statement, they are hoping their new approach will influence the debate among world leaders when they meet at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP23, chaired by Fiji in Bonn, Germany this November.

The Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland, will present the findings at the Commonwealth Secretariat’s London headquarters on May 18, 2017.

The statement said this would include submissions from Project Drawdown – a comprehensive plan with the potential to reverse global warming.

Scotland said, “A pronounced increase in violent storms, floods, drought, desertification and devastating sea level rises – extreme events such as these are the realities that many people across the Commonwealth wake up to every day. This is why from the moment I took office I have been working hard to address climate change.

“It is truly a historic moment for the Commonwealth as the first intergovernmental organisation to take on the bold challenge of flipping the narrative on climate change. What we are saying is that climate change is not only our biggest challenge, it is also our biggest opportunity.”

According to the statement, the Commonwealth’s Regenerative Development to Reverse Climate Change Conference, organised in collaboration with the Cloudburst Foundation, is the second meeting of experts, who believe that climate change does not have to be all doom and gloom, and there is potential to reverse its effects.

The secretary-general said, “Funders, as well as leading experts in a range of areas relating to climate change, came to our headquarters last year to give us a verdict on the feasibility of making reversal rather than mitigation our goal.

“We looked at existing working examples of the regenerative development approach, which mean actions to heal the damage we have caused to the earth and working with nature instead of against nature. For example, tapping into the power of volcanic hot springs for our electricity, geothermal power plants, regenerating coastal wetlands and constructing buildings that mimic trees in the way they dispose of carbon.

“The unanimous agreement was that, if we have the political will and work together, we can drastically reduce carbon emissions and reverse the human impact of climate change while accelerating economic growth and boosting development.”

According to Scotland, the aim now is to find a strong business model for this “revolutionary approach” which can be tailored to the needs of Commonwealth member countries.

She said the initiative would complement the Commonwealth’s Climate Finance Access Hub, which opened its doors last September to help countries to access millions of pledged funds for climate action.

According to the statement, Keynote speakers at the conference include global advocate on climate change action and former President of Kiribati, Anote Tong; former UN Secretary General’s special envoy on climate change and former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson; New York bestselling climate change author Paul Hawken; scientist Janine Benyus; design, art, science, and technology specialist David McConville; and authority on regenerative development Ben Haggard.

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