on 13th April 2014

UN climate report: Slash global emissions to help limit climate catastrophe for world’s poorest people

The scale of the climate catastrophe facing the world’s poorest people can still be reduced if governments take bold steps to cut global emissions and help vulnerable communities adapt to climate change impacts, aid organisation CARE International says today.

As the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change releases the latest instalment of its Fifth Assessment Report in Berlin, Germany, CARE International’s Climate Change Advocacy Coordinator Sven Harmeling said:

“The IPCC’s findings confirm that climate change is a man-made phenomenon that has emerged from largely unequal human development patt erns. Even though a small, rich segment of the global population has caused the vas t majority of greenhouse gas emissions, it is the world’s poorest people who are increasingly suffering from growing climate disruption. This is an extreme global injustice.”

The so-called IPCC Working Group III report shows that global society is at increasing risk unless greenhouse gas emissions are cut rapidly. It also shows that the longer it takes for the world to move towards low-emission, renewable energies and a new, green economy, the more expensive tackling climate change and its impacts – including widespread loss and damage – will become.

Sven Harmeling adds: “The IPCC’s findings show that climate change is here and it’s happening now. This latest report also amounts to a nother warning shot across the bows of the fossil fuel industry as it is increasingly clear th at the majority of fossil fuels will have to be left in the ground. We know that solutions exist and global climate action makes sense. From investing in renewable energy to improving energy efficiency and driving behavioural change in richer parts of the world, governments need to pursue far more rigorous measures all-round if they are going to limit the scale of the growing climate catastrophe for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people.”


In particular, CARE wants to see governments take bold steps to significantly reduce global emissions, as well as:

  • Far more public funding and support to help drive investment in renewable energies and energy efficiency.
  • New funding and resources to help the world’s poor est and most vulnerable people adapt to climate change impacts.
  • Phasing-out subsidies for fossil fuels combined wi th increased sustainable energy access for the poor.
  • Commitment and action to reduce global emissions w hich keep global temperature rises to as close to 1.5 degrees C as p ossible.
  • Efforts to tackle climate change must address the underlying causes of poverty and inequality. The people CARE works with, including many vulnerable women and girls, are often amongst the most marginalised members of society and therefore at particular risk of adverse climate impacts, which are already undermining their chances of lifting themselves from poverty.

CARE also warns that the need to reduce emissions must not stand in the way of ensuring that the world’s poorest people can meet their basic energy needs, for cooking or lighting, for example. The Working Group III report shows that there are many alternatives to dirty fossil fuels that have significant cost, health and environmental benefits.

To arrange an interview with Sven Harmeling, CARE International’s Climate Change Advocacy Coordinator, contact Jo Barrett, Climate Change Communications C oordinator jbarrett@careclimatechange.org

View of Polar Ice Rim

Jo Barrett

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