CCLer spearheads successful UN forum

UN

CCLer spearheads successful UN forum

By Jamie Ptacek

On Tuesday, September 17, several international organizations gathered at the United Nations Trusteeship Council Chamber in New York for an event called the Global Climate Restoration Forum. Spearheading the event, and the idea behind it, was CCL volunteer Peter Fiekowsky.

UN

Meet Peter

An MIT-educated physicist and entrepreneur, Peter Fiekowsky began volunteering with CCL in its early days. With CCL, he helped design and obtain funding for the 2014 REMI study, “The Environmental, Economic and Health Impact of Carbon Fee and Dividend.” Peter also started the Team OIL group, active to this day.

Like most CCLers, Peter has been concerned about the climate for years now. “We are now seeing the faster-than predicted collapse of more and more ecosystems: oceans, coral, Arctic, forests, birds, insects, mammals, etc. It’s hard to accept, but the horrifying news and data are there,” he says.

The Foundation for Climate Restoration

In addition to his CCL work, Peter wanted to do even more, so he established the Foundation for Climate Restoration. One of the organization’s goals is to “establish UN language explicitly calling for climate restoration. We seek to ensure the survival and flourishing of humanity,” he explains.

What exactly is climate restoration? In Peter’s view, it means not only curbing the effects of climate change through mitigation and adaptation efforts, but actually reversing the catastrophic effects of climate change and return earth’s climate back to its pre-industrial levels. Among other things, that “requires getting the atmosphere back to proven safe levels, below 300 ppm of CO2 by 2050,” Peter explains.

The inaugural forum

The Foundation for Climate Restoration hosted the forum last month in partnership with Earth Day Network and Future Coalition. The event, Peter explains, was intended to open up a dialogue for different authorities to discuss climate restoration and strengthen relationships with the UN and its member states, with the hope of increasing funding for the development of climate restoration technologies. The meeting created space for experts and innovators to meet and share about existing technologies as well as highlight new research that pertains to the safe and permanent removal of CO2 from the atmosphere and the prevention of further sea ice melt.

The forum brought together nonprofits, NGOs, local and national governments, youth-led movements, multilateral corporations, academic institutions, and over 500 registered attendees. Featured speakers represented organizations including the XPRIZE Foundations, Earth Day Network and the Future Coalition. Fiekowsky reports that veteran UN observers called it “one of the most extraordinary UN gatherings in recent history.”

Next steps

Peter’s organization is already planning for next year’s Global Climate Restoration Forum. “With the momentum from this first event, we are building interest and accelerating investment in climate restoration solutions,” he says.

Additionally, the coalition is working with UN members to urge the IPCC to write a “Climate Restoration Report,” is beginning to form partnerships with global organizations to advance arctic ice restoration, and is developing a bipartisan legislative proposal to provide structure and funding for necessary projects.

The organization also released a white paper about their goal of climate restoration. “Our white paper shows for the first time, with over 200 references, that nonpartisan solutions for that goal exist now and are commercially financeable. What’s needed for the solutions to be implemented is the explicit goals of climate restoration and the survival of humanity,” Peter says.

With such a successful UN forum under their belt, it seems like the work is well underway. We’re proud to count Peter among the CCL family and grateful for all the work he and other advocates are doing to advance our shared goal of a livable world.

Jamie Ptacek is a communications intern at Citizens’ Climate Lobby. She has a B.A in Environmental Studies and Earth and Oceanographic Science from Bowdoin College. Currently, she is traveling through Southeast Asia, where she is working for different organizations dedicated to making the world a sustainable and equitable place. 

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