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No Excuse for Inaction

Created date

Sunday, March 2, 2014 - 01:39

On the 2013 UN Climate Change Conference held in Warsaw (COP19), the Member states were unable to reach an agreement about how they will deliver their share of the emissions reductions and their share of the money needed to help the poorest and most vulnerable countries adapt. The last day of the conference, the most prominent civil society organizations walked out of it and decided to follow the discussions from the outside, as a protest in the absence of meaningful discussions heading to decisive actions.

Consequently, many of the proposals provided by various actors of civil society remain valid as recommendations for global policy action, and especially in the context of the negotiations that will take place at the next UN Climate Change Conference in Lima in December 2014 (COP20). For this reason we are publishing here this documents containing the demands by one of them, the humanitarian organization CARE

Climate change is real and it is happening now. As the latest installment of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report confirms with 95% certainty, global temperatures are increasing sea-level rise is accelerating, oceans are warming and acidifying, glaciers and Arctic sea ice are in decline and rainfall patterns are changing, all as a result of human-caused climate change. These changes are also disrupt, global weather patterns resulting in more intense, more frequent, less predictable and longer-lasting floods, cyclones, and droughts.

We are all affected by climate change, either directly or indirectly. Its impacts affect global food and trade system, pushing up prices, damaging economies and market infrastructure, and worsening conflict over natural resources. However the world’s poorest people, who have done the least to produce the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change, are the most severely affected by unpredictable and extreme weather events, as well as more gradual climate changes that can destroy livelihoods and aggravate financial, political, social and environmental inequalities. Climate change, therefore, is not only an extreme global injustice but a fundamental threat to sustainable economic development and the right of poor people to grow their way out of poverty.

The fact that governments have been able to rapidly mobilize trillions of dollars to bail out the banks and address the global financial crisis, or to resource expensive wars, demonstrates that nations can mobilize significant resources to work together to achieve a common goal. Yet, despite clear scientific evidence about the growing scale and pace of climate change, the exploration for and burning of fossil fuels continues uncurbed. Current levels of concerted global action to tackle emissions and help people adapt to climate impacts still fall far short of what is required. The time left to avoid dangerous climate change is fast running out and the longer we wait, the more costly it becomes, not least for those who will suffer most. This is an extreme global injustice on an unprecedented scale.

There are many vital issues up for negotiation and decision and CARE has a number of key demands for governments to act upon, drawn from our experiences of working with people living on the front line of climate change impacts. These specific demands are outlined in greater detail in the following pages. In summary, governments meeting at COP19 must:

1. Urgently increase political ambition and action to tackle both the causes and consequences of climate change, because climate change impacts are increasingly impacting the world’s poorest people.

2. Achieve significant political progress that enables all governments to collectively commit to a fair, ambitious and binding climate deal by 2015

3. Massively scale-up efforts to reduce global emissions because the world urgently needs to sopt greenhouse gas emissions and rapidly transition towards low emission and climate-resilient development

4. Urgently ensure financial and technical resources are made available to promote low emission and climate-resilient development in developing countries

5. Establish an international mechanism to deal with loss and damage from climate change because the world’s poorest people are increasingly losing assets and livelihoods due to climate impact

6. Establish and commit to the implementation of a Gender Action Plan to strengthen gender equality across the UNFCC process to help protect poor women, girls and other vulnerable people from the adverse impacts of climate change

7. Promote the interests of smallholder farmers in agriculture and food nutrition security, recognizing that they increasingly face unprecedented challenges from poverty and climate, change impacts