This morning’s climate adaptation report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change pointed to the urgent need for rich countries to step up with financing and emission reductions.
“This IPCC report is a fire alarm for the planet. We all know we are in a climate crisis, but this is a wake-up call that we’re facing an adaptation crisis too,” said Power Shift Africa Director Mohamed Adow. “The rich, polluting, global North has changed the planet through fossil fuel burning and is now refusing to help those suffering the effects. This report shows that the rich world needs to radically increase adaptation support to those on the front lines of this emergency.”
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Small Island Developing States (SIDS) “contribute the least to global emissions while being among the most severely impacted by climate change—a lament we will continue to make because the world has yet to recognize our plight,” said Ambassador Conrod Hunte of the Alliance of Small Island States. “Extreme weather, sea level rise, floods, droughts, and ecosystem degradation and loss are all now synonymous with life on a small island. As things currently stand, SIDS’ lives and economies are in jeopardy. Reducing emissions at scale and pace is no longer a requirement; rather, it is a mandate we are laying out to developed nations.”
“This report is a wake-up call to the world that those on the front lines of this crisis need much greater support if they are going to cope with climate impacts they have not caused,” said Nushrat Chowdhury, Climate Justice Advisor at Christian Aid in Bangladesh. “The main thing lacking from the outcome at COP 26 was robust financial help for the world’s most vulnerable, despite repeated promises from rich nations that it would be provided.”
“Across South Asia, we are already witnessing large-scale human migration and displacement due to droughts, floods, riverbank erosion, and sea level rise,” said Sanjay Vashist, Director, Climate Action Network South Asia. “Every day more and more people are abandoning their ancestral lands due to increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events and yet there are no national laws or international agreements to protect those who are displaced or are forced to migrate due to climate change.”
“This unsettling report shows that the world is not prepared to cope with today’s climate impacts, let alone to withstand exceeding 1.5 ºC,” said Catalina Gonda, Climate Policy Coordinator, Fundación Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (FARN). “Climate change is already causing incredible harm, losses and damages in Latin America, where biodiversity loss, existing inequalities, food and water insecurity are being exacerbated all across the continent.”
“This catalogue of pain, loss, and suffering must be a wake-up call to everyone. The poorest who have done the least to contribute to climate change are suffering the most and wealthy countries have a moral responsibility to help those communities adapt,” said Oxfam Canada Policy Manager Ian Thomson. “In the little over 100 days since COP 26, the richest 1% of the world’s population have emitted much more carbon than the population of Africa does in an entire year. The super-rich are racing through the planet’s small remaining carbon budget for limiting global warming to 1.5°C.”
“A global system that provides support to climate-vulnerable countries to pick up the pieces and rebuild in the aftermath of climate disasters is long overdue,” said Teresa Anderson, Climate Justice Lead, ActionAid International. “The COP 27 climate negotiations in Egypt later this year must finally agree to a funding facility to address loss and damage. We know that behind the scenes, the U.S. made attempts to delete references to ‘loss and damage’ from the IPCC text. The Biden administration is not only shutting their eyes to the reality of the climate crisis –they’re trying to blindfold the rest of the world, too. They appear to wear a badge of climate leadership, while doing all they can to block those most in need from getting help. It’s dishonest and utterly shameful.”
“Every fraction of a degree of warming will cause compounding and cascading climate impacts that hover dangerously close to the limits of adaptation, causing irreversible degradation of ecosystems and profound human suffering,” said Harjeet Singh, Senior Adviser, Climate Action Network-International. “The report makes it clear that there is inadequate financial, governance, and institutional support for adaptation and for addressing loss and damage. Rich countries must scale up funding to enable developing countries to prepare for unavoidable climate impacts.”
“This latest report shows that continued warming will sentence us to a world that we cannot adapt to. Even though we know that extracting everything from existing coal, oil, and gas projects alone would push us past the threshold for a liveable planet, new projects are still being approved and expanded,” said Alex Rafalowicz, Director, Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative. “The fossil fuel industry will not design its own demise so governments must break this dependence on fossil fuels to protect livelihoods, security, and planet. The future projections of the IPCC can be avoided if we act but action means addressing the fossil fuel system in its entirety.”
Governments at all levels must make urgent and deep emissions cuts to protect us from terrible health impacts and irreversible losses of biodiversity,” said Eddy Pérez, International Climate Diplomacy Manager, Climate Action Network Canada. “This IPCC report presents us with a choice: either we continue down the road to disaster, or we work together to build a more equitable, just, and safe world.”
“As a top-ten global emitter, Canada bears enormous responsibility to lead the world in a responsible transition off of fossil fuels,” said Julia Levin, Senior Climate and Energy Program Manager, Environmental Defence Canada. “The Canadian government must act immediately on its promises which means: capping emissions from the oil and gas sector, rejecting new oil and gas projects like Bay du Nord, redirecting fossil fuel subsidies into proven climate solutions, and investing in a fair transition for communities and workers.”
“Some of Working Group II’s most sobering findings were diluted or deleted from the final Summary for Policymakers approved by State Parties. But while Parties can water down wording, they cannot negotiate away the science,” said Nikki Reisch, Climate & Energy Director, Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL). “Surpassing 1.5°C will lead to irreparable harm, whether or not return to lower temperatures is even possible,” and “technological carbon dioxide removal schemes will take decades to deploy at meaningful scales, in which time severe and irreversible harms could occur.”
“The science is clear: we have a quickly narrowing window to rein in climate change by making deep cuts in emissions, investing in adaptation, and advancing climate-resilient development,” said Dr. Rachel Cleetus, Policy Director and Lead Economist, Union of Concerned Scientists. “Further delay in action would be catastrophic for people and the planet, and will also cause substantial, rising, and inequitable economic damages. Richer countries bear a significant responsibility for climate action, including cutting their emissions sharply, paying for the loss and damage they have caused, and rapidly scaling up funding for climate-vulnerable developing nations.”
“Drought and searing heat, ecosystem destruction, stronger storms and massive floods, species extinction—this is not a list of scenes in an apocalyptic film. Instead, it is the content of an authoritative scientific report detailing the climate impacts that are already wreaking havoc on our planet and its people,” said Dr. Stephen Cornelius, Global Lead for IPCC at WWF. “The silver lining to the storm clouds is that not all the most extreme impacts are inevitable. With swift action, we can limit their frequency and severity and help people and ecosystems to adapt to some impacts.”
“This is the safest climate we will ever have, as more warming, sea level rise, hazards, and losses are already locked in,” said Kaisa Kosonen, Senior Policy Advisor, Greenpeace Nordic. “It is painful. But only by facing these facts with brutal honesty can we find solutions that match the scale of the interconnected challenges.”
“Fossil fuels not only cause climate change, but also enable warfare in the midst of the multiple crises in which we all live,” said Olha Boiko, CAN-International coordinator for Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia. “In 2019, 41% of EU natural gas imports came from Russia, according to Eurostat. Russia has played an important role in the history of climate change and has provided many examples of how fossil fuel dependency and conflict are intertwined. We cannot stop one without the other.”