PRESS STATEMENT – IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) Reacts to the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 1.5C Report
CVF Countries to world leaders: We commissioned the IPCC Report on 1.5˚C. The findings are serious. The good news is keeping warming below 1.5˚C is feasible with concerted action. Inaction would be criminal negligence. It is time to act to save humanity.
Thursday 11 October, 2018:
On Monday, IPCC, the top scientific authority on climate change, released a report stating that racing past warming of 1.5˚C over industrial levels can only be avoided through deep and rapid transformation of economies across sectors, systems and geographies. While affirming that the 1.5˚C limit, set in the Paris Agreement, is possible, the report clearly states that all nations must take unprecedented actions to cut their carbon emissions over the next decade. The report makes clear that the world has the scientific understanding, the technological capacity and the financial means to tackle climate change. The only missing ingredient is political will, which is the only way to precipitate the unprecedented concerted actions necessary to stabilize global temperature rise below 1.5˚C.
Commissioned by governments in Paris in 2015, the report recognizes that warming of 1.5C will already have dire consequences for vulnerable and poor communities. They would have to bear significant impacts causing food insecurity, populations displacement, health effects and more. But going above 1.5˚C even for relatively short periods is likely to create significant health problems and species extinctions.
Countries of the CVF are already suffering grave impacts with only 1˚C warming, sea-level rise causing flooding that claims lives, ravages property and homes and sets back the economy. They are also experiencing devastating heatwaves, droughts, monster hurricanes and other forms of extreme weather. Torrential rains triggered landslides and flooding that killed more than 1,000 people and affected 41 million more in India, Bangladesh and Nepal.
There are substantial economic and development benefits from bold climate action. More importantly, limiting global warming to 1.5˚C is imperative. Falling short would lock in climate impacts so catastrophic our world would be unrecognizable. Governments, businesses and others have the clarity and the scientific evidence they need. Now it’s time for them to step up to the challenge. While not cited in the IPCC report, new analysis by the New Climate Economy found that bold climate action can deliver $26 trillion in economic benefits through 2030 (compared with business-as-usual) while generating more than 65 million jobs and avoiding more than 700,000 premature deaths from air pollution in 2030.
Pre-empting the expected news from the report, countries of the CVF did not stay idle and took action despite limited resources and close to nil contribution to emissions to prompt other countries to follow their example. Fiji set on course the Talanoa Dialogue to get countries to take stock of efforts and reach decisions to enhance ambition and action at the upcoming UN negotiations in Poland. The Current CVF Chair, the Marshall Islands is hosting the first ever political summit on 22 November to provide a platform for countries to express enhanced ambition in mitigation and adaptation. Most recently and on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly and the One Planet Summit in New York, both countries presented concrete steps to enhance their commitments and low emissions long-term strategies and called on other countries to do the same. The IPCC said that controlling warming is doable and vulnerable countries demonstrated that action is feasible. Inaction by countries from now onwards can only be interpreted as grossly negligent at best, and at worst willfully acting in a way that they know to put the very existence of some countries, cultures and people at risk – including vulnerable people in their own countries.
H.E. Frank Bainimarama, Prime Minister of the Republic of Fiji and COP23 President.
“The IPCC Special Report on 1.5˚C tells us that we are not doing nearly enough to confront the greatest threat humankind has ever faced. It also tells us the goals of the Paris Agreement are not yet out of reach, but to achieve them will require a realignment of our priorities and an unprecedented global mobilisation to deliver much stronger Nationally Determined Contributions in line with the 1.5-degree target and a universal commitment to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest. I call on all national leaders to follow Fiji and the Marshall Islands’ lead and aim higher in your national plans to reduce emissions. I am encouraged by those who are already working in this direction and urge others to quickly follow suit. We will have the opportunity to jump start the process of raising our collective ambition at the Talanoa Dialogue at COP24 in Poland. I implore my fellow leaders to come to Katowice fully prepared to take on the decisions, commitments and hard work necessary to save us from a disaster of our own making.”
H.E. David Paul, Minister -in-Assistance to the President & Environment Minister of the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
“The IPCC Special Report on 1.5˚C is a call to arms. It clearly states that it is possible to keep global warming to within the 1.5˚C limit of the Paris Agreement. At the same time it reaffirms the urgency for every country to step up their climate ambition and come forward with long-term low-emissions development strategies to reach net zero emissions by 2050. That is exactly what we in the Marshall Islands have done with our new 2050 Strategy. If we can come forward with such a vision and take steps to implement it, so can every country. And so must every country. Because the thing that the Special Report makes crystal clear is that if we fail to stay within the 1.5˚C limit no country will be immune from the impacts. Low-lying atoll nations like the Marshall Islands may be hit the hardest first. But you will be next if we do not stay within 1.5˚C. The report must represent a turning point where the world realizes that 2˚C or more of warming is not safe for any country – and act accordingly. History will judge harshly those leaders who fail to lead and step up to this challenge.”
H.E. Dr. Gemedo Dalle, Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Ethiopia.
“African countries have been bearing the brunt of climate impacts with excessive heat, more dry seasons and droughts leading to disease and food insecurity that forced 100 of thousands from their homes. Without transformation in society and rapid implementation of ambitious emissions cuts, limiting warming to 1.5˚C while achieving sustainable development will be exceedingly difficult, if not impossible. Bold climate commitments make sense for meeting development challenges we all pledged to achieve in 2015.
Building ecosystem based community resilience and enhancing removal of greenhouse gas emissions through more carbon sinks needs concerted action and the time to act is now. Delay in doing this is not justified and we will all go down in history as the governments that missed the opportunity to listen to science and secure the preservation of humanity. We call on countries to change the course of the damned future we currently face, and step up climate ambition and action to stop disease, migration and mass extinction.”
Secretary Emmanuel M. de Guzman, Philippines Vice-Chairperson and Commissioner of the Climate Change Commission of the Office of the President
“The report states with great clarity that holding warming to 1.5°C throughout the 21st century is feasible, and is likely to have considerable sustainable development benefits. What is standing in the way is a lack of real commitment to ambitious action from governments and non-state actors. Developed countries need to deliver with dispatch predictable, scaled up climate finance that can provide vulnerable countries the means to implement ambitious climate action.”
Saleem Al-Huq, Chair of the expert advisory group
“The tale told by the IPCC report is mostly bleak and worse than we thought. It clearly says that it will be extremely difficult to keep warming below 1.5C but the reprot does entail good news. It is possible to stabilize temperature increases if we act immediately and with determination. We have what is required, we know what works, every degree matters and it is much easier and cheaper to act immediately than deal with the consequences later. It is up to us to conclude the story with a happy ending. There is no excuse for not having a clear commitment by all countries at the upcoming UN negotiations in Poland to enhance ambition and deliver concrete actions that transition society to a more sustainable future through investment in renewable energy and other safe technologies saving millions from pollution and other impacts.”
Dr. Hilda C. Heine, President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands and Chair of the CVF announced last June the first ever carbon-free online Summit of world leaders on 22nd of November 2018. The CVF Summit aims to trigger a universal effort by all countries to enhance their emission reduction pledges by 2020 in order to stay within the 1.5°C limit set by the Paris Agreement.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
About the Climate Vulnerable Forum:
The Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) is an international cooperation group for developing countries highly vulnerable to climate change. Since its foundation in 2009 the CVF has come to include 48 member states from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Pacific. In 2015, the Ministers of Finance of the Forum created a dedicated body named the Vulnerable Twenty Group, or V20, to promote economic and financial responses to climate change. The Forum has led the #1o5C campaign to limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, now a Paris Agreement Goal. The Marshall Islands exercises the 7th presidency of the Forum. More info at: www.thecvf.org & www.V-20.org
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