The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report presents the scientific basis of climate change and highlights the recent changes in the climate that are widespread, rapid and intensifying. It also stipulated compelling evidence that the recent heat episodes are a warning signal.
It is time to act, to not exceed 1.5°, which will result in facing irreversible climate change impacts. Pacific countries and territories are low emitters but are already very impacted.
It is indisputable that human activities are causing climate change leading to extreme climate events (heat waves, drought, more intense tropical cyclones, heavy rainfall, fire etc.) The warming is now a very evident threat of climate change.
Other impacts such as sea level rise have consequences on maritime borders, food security, economic loss, resettlement, water shortage, soil degradation and exponential cost of repair.
Today's trajectory is + 2.4° from pre-industrial time. If we do not reach carbon neutrality, climate change will continue with temperature rise and there is no way to undo this.
Unless there are immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in Greenhouse gas emissions, limiting warming to 1.5 ° is impossible to reach. We need to reach net zero emission in 2050. The climate we will encounter depends on the decision we take now.
What are the solutions coming from the Pacific?
- Political leaders must consider that this is the number one priority that impacts every facet of society; employment, the economy, agriculture, water, health etc.
- The response to Climate change must be integrated into everyday environmental policies, decisions must not be disconnected.
- We know what to do and how to respond to Climate change, we need to have the right ambition and drive the national low-carbon strategies.
- We need to implement the ecological transition, develop structuring economic policies (informed by science) compatible with the Paris Agreement objectives.
- Concrete actions include reducing our reliance on energy, moving away from fossil fuels and developing renewable energies, stopping deforestation, restore ecosystems and reducing also emissions other than CO2.
It can be done at several scales.
SPC and other scientific and technical regional organisations support their members in this challenge. SPC provides technical assistance and scientific data to inform decision to limit vulnerabilities of PICTS, assists in the development and implementation of strategies to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, coordinate political mobilization and prepare for negotiations with a long-term vision. SPC also facilitates access to climate funds to develop adaptation and mitigation projects.
The next UNFCCC Conference of parties (COP 26) has crucial objectives, that includes updating and raising all NDCs with carbon neutrality objectives and committing the international community to increase funds for developing countries, to stay within a carbon budget and reach as soon as possible net zero CO2 emission.
Every year we move forward, but not fast enough because Politics and Climate Change see time differently.
Radical transformation is required, including considering that it is a collective challenge that implies solidarity and degrowth.
You can download the latest IPCC Report here.
This article was contributed by the Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability Programme, Program Manager Anne-Claire Goarant (SPC).