Here is why the world needs to act NOW to tackle Climate Change.
The climate emergency is being felt on every continent and in every region in the world. WHO says climate crisis is ‘single biggest health threat’ facing humanity – and saving lives and livelihoods requires urgent action to address both the pandemic and the climate.
In many places, the air is now hotter, heavier, and depending on the day, clogged with particulate pollution. You can no longer simply walk out your front door and breathe fresh air.
Also in many other parts of the world, the changing climate is threatening national security and peace.
Climate Change is a risk multiplier that exacerbates already existing challenges. Droughts in Africa and Latin America directly feed into political unrest and violence. The World Bank estimates that, in the absence of action, more than 140 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and South Asia will be forced to migrate within their regions by 2050.
World leaders will attend the opening days of COP26 and after they depart, negotiations will be start with their representatives, environment ministers and other high-ranking officials.
As politicians, prepare to take to the world stage to reaffirm their commitment to Net Zero climate targets by 2050, Trócaire is seeing the stark impact in the countries in which we work.
Honduras and Malawi:
Tens of thousands of Hondurans are being displaced and made homeless by hurricanes, floods and warming temperatures.
World Bank figures show that Hurricanes Eta and Iota caused $2.2 billion in damages in Honduras last year, with 368,901 people displaced and over 100 people killed because of the floods. The concept of climate refugees is not yet recognised by international law, with many Hondurans and Guatemalan’s residing within the dangerous parameters of global warming with nowhere else to go.
Meanwhile in Malawi, a small country in southern Africa, temperatures are increasing and changing rain patterns are damaging growth directly impacting food supply. Women and girls, the majority of whom work on smallholder farms, are even more affected. Only 2% of the largely rural population have access to the electricity grid and households.
The recent IPCC report is another bleak reminder of the urgent need for a global climate response strategy to protect the world’s most vulnerable. The report points to strong and sustained reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to limit climate change. It identifies human-induced climate change as the major source of extreme weather conditions and with every small increase in global warming the crisis is worsening.
The report states that much of the climate damage induced by human activity is irreversible and global warming of between 1.5°C and 2°C will be exceeded during this century unless significant reductions in emissions are imminent.
Researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have shown that warming has increased the likelihood of a hurricane developing into a Category 3 or higher, with sustained winds greater than 110 miles an hour, by about eight percent a decade – making the risk of stronger and more frequent hurricanes a real threat in central America
As COP26 goes into session this week , there is an urgent demand for international support to help developing countries reduce their emissions in line with the Paris Agreement, and to allow them to adapt to the challenging climate conditions.
The Paris Agreement is intended to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius.
An increase in annual climate finance is needed to deliver on ParisAgreement commitments, particularly targeted at interventions dedicated to impacts for women, including funding for grassroots and women’s organisations to empower local civil society.
The role of human influence on the climate system is undisputed. Human actions still have the potential to determine the future course of climate, pointing to strong and sustained reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to limit climate change.
The climate crisis has caused devastating ripple effects across society and the economy, threatening people’s lives, decreasing worker productivity, and straining infrastructure and health services. The consequences have exposed the inequalities that have led certain communities to be more vulnerable than others.
Progress has been slow and many communities forgotten – we are urging policymakers at COP26 to ‘act with urgency’ on the climate crises that is wiping out humanity.