World leaders must match words with action on loss and damage as talks get serious
(2 December 2015) Paris – Three major civil society groups demand that the UN climate talks follow through on leaders’ calls for action to help the world’s most vulnerable people. This call follows the Climate Vulnerable Forum’s Declaration to upscale national climate action and a series of statements from richer countries at COP21 promising to help populations already suffering the effects of climate change. As the negotiations bed down to the detail the groups warn countries must now commit to a deal which properly addresses the unavoidable devastation and loss of lives and livelihoods.
In a new report, Climate Reality in the 21st Century, released today in Paris, ActionAid, CARE and WWF say that with global temperatures already at 1 degree above pre-industrial levels, the need for money and regulations to deal with climate devastation are more critical than ever before.
Current plans to mitigate and adapt to climate change (a more prominent focus of the climate negotiations) are insufficient, making it more and more difficult for vulnerable communities and ecosystems to adapt, the report says. This will lead to the unavoidable loss and damage of habitats around the world.
The creation at the UN of the Warsaw International Mechanism in 2014 was an outright recognition of climate change hitting the most vulnerable people and ecosystems. But the mechanism needs to be extended beyond its 2016 lifespan, which according to the report, must be addressed in Paris. Poor nations need new knowledge and skills, finance and material resources to deal with the new challenges of sea level rise, glacial melt and oceans turning acidic.
“Many poor people hang on the precipice as waters rise and storms batter homes with alarming frequency. World leaders gathered in Paris rightly acknowledge reaching a deal is about the survival of human life on our planet. Those same leaders desperately need to practise what they preach and include firm commitments to help poor communities already battling irreversible impacts,” says Harjeet Singh, ActionAid’s Climate Policy Manager.
“Governments have already taken first steps to solve their disagreements, but to ensure that they commit to long-term action, we need to see a robust measure to address loss and damage anchored into the new climate agreement. Countries should take concrete actions and also further strengthen the existing Warsaw International Mechanism. The poorest and most vulnerable people in the world must not be left alone on the frontlines of worsening climate shocks,” says Sven Harmeling, CARE International’s Climate Change Advocacy Coordinator.
“For too long, reducing emissions and scaling up adaptation support has been hopelessly inadequate. This has resulted in worsening climate change impacts that exceed the ability of people and ecosystems to cope. World leaders have to pay attention when their people and the systems that sustain them are crying for help,” says Sandeep Chamling Rai, Senior Advisor on Global Adaptation Policy, WWF Global Climate and Energy Initiative.
The report provides practical steps to negotiators on not only reducing the devastating incidents of loss and damage but how an agreement should anchor it into a deal in Paris. Governments must adopt a bold way forward under the new framework, the report says.
ActionAid International is a global movement of people working together to achieve greater human rights for all and defeat poverty. We believe people in poverty have the power within them to create change for themselves, their families and communities. ActionAid is a catalyst for that change. www.actionaid.org
CARE International is a leading humanitarian organisation fighting global poverty and delivering lifesaving assistance in emergencies. In 90 countries around the world, CARE places special focus on working alongside poor girls and women to equip them with the proper resources to lift their families and communities out of poverty. www.careclimatechange.org
WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the earth’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature. The Global Climate & Energy Initiative (GCEI) is WWF’s global programme addressing climate change, promoting renewable and sustainable energy, scaling up green finance, engaging the private sector and working nationally and internationally on implementing low carbon, climate resilient development. www.panda.org
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