RAND Corp Releases Study on “Climate Restoration” Goal

First Analysis of Climate Restoration

Los Altos, California, UNITED STATES

SILICON VALLEY, Calif., April 24, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Healthy Climate Alliance (HCA), a nonprofit organization focused on climate restoration, welcomes RAND Corporation’s first rigorous analysis of the question: “Is Climate Restoration an Appropriate Climate Policy Goal?” While emphasizing the importance of continued research, the authors of the study affirmed climate restoration--returning to pre-industrial levels of atmospheric CO2 by 2050 or 2100--as an appropriate climate policy goal. This climate policy could open up new pathways to solve climate change.

This first peer-reviewed, third-party evaluation of pathways to “Climate Restoration” was conducted by RAND, a nonprofit organization that works to improve policy and decision making through research and analysis. As scientists increasingly raise the alarm about the perils of climate change, climate restoration is emerging as a goal beyond those established in Paris in 2015. To that end, the RAND study explored the technical feasibility of reversing global warming beyond the Paris goals.

RAND’s key findings include:

  • Restoring atmospheric concentrations to preindustrial levels could prove possible at acceptable cost.
  • Setting a climate restoration goal could spark the use of technologies that remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. But it could also slow down the decarbonization of the global economy. If climate restoration proves possible and catalytic, it would reduce the risks of extreme climate change and make meeting other climate goals more likely.

RAND’s recommendations include:

  • Setting 2075 as a target date for climate restoration.
  • Combining a climate restoration goal with a temperature target (like 2 degrees C) to avoid the risk of overshooting.
  • Looking to longer-term financing mechanisms.
  • Viewing the approach to climate change as a process of policy experimentation.

With “giving our children a healthy climate like our grandparents had” as the overarching goal, Peter Fiekowsky, physicist, entrepreneur and founder of the Healthy Climate Alliance, is encouraged by RAND’s findings. RAND’s research is the first to examine the feasibility of HCA’s goal. The report’s Conclusion and Recommendations section states: "Pursuing climate restoration opens up new potential pathways to solve climate change, heretofore unexplored scenarios. However, none of these scenarios are guaranteed. Climate restoration thus calls for a learning process. The best we can do is pursue climate restoration with a passion, while embedding it in a process of testing, experimentation, correction, and discovery.” (Page 31)

“Many scientists and engineers recognize this goal is technically feasible, and it’s important to have research to analyze the implications,” said Fiekowsky. “We’re excited that this report finds many pathways to get there. It's the first major milestone toward a broader discussion of Climate Restoration.”

With this research in place, HCA can more easily accomplish its mission: connecting key climate communities--scientists, policymakers, climate organizations, media, funders, etc.--so they can better access the resources they need to work toward restoring the climate. While HCA acknowledges the immense scope of a climate restoration goal, they believe that these findings will open up opportunities for progress.

The report’s co-authors are:
Dr. Robert J. Lempert, Giacomo Marangoni, Dr. Klaus Keller, Dr. Jessica Duke
To interview the report authors, contact Robert Lempert at lempert@rand.org

The peer-reviewed 50-page study includes both narrative sections for general audiences and highly technical sections. It models over 10,000 economic pathways that include large-scale CO2 removal, some of which would get us to 280 ppm by 2050 at costs peaking at 3.4% of global world production (GWP), or by 2100 peaking at less than 1% of GWP. The study examines the relationship of carbon removal to established mitigation and decarbonization strategies, and its impact on goals of staying under 2 degrees Celsius. It does not evaluate in detail the technologies and economics of diverse approaches to draw down carbon dioxide.

About the Healthy Climate Alliance: The Healthy Climate Alliance is a non-profit education, networking, and advocacy organization with the goal of climate restoration: “giving our children a healthy climate like our grandparents had”. It serves as a bridge between the public, tech and business experts, and policy-makers. More info can be found at www.healthyclimatealliance.org. To interview Peter Fiekowsky from the Healthy Climate Alliance, email contact@healthyclimatealliance.org

Media Contact:
Alexandra Pony