Reaction: IPCC Report Combines Urgency and Hope, but ‘Every 0.1° is a Choice Between Life or Death’
About 40 representatives of climate, energy, international development, and other groups affiliated with Climate Action Network-International were monitoring the negotiations in Incheon, South Korea. Here are some of their reactions to the IPCC’s 1.5°C report.
“Every tenth of a degree of warming is a choice between life or death,” at a time when “climate change has set our planet on fire, millions are already feeling the impacts, and the IPCC just showed that things can get much worse. The faster governments embrace the renewable energy revolution and move to protect communities at risk, the more lives and livelihoods will be spared.” – Raijeli Nicole, Regional Director for Oxfam in the Pacific
“The IPCC report clearly demonstrates that we can still limit temperature increases to 1.5°C and thereby avoid entering a climate era unprecedented in human experience. To do so, we must act with urgency to bring about deep emissions cuts. Governments at this December’s UN climate negotiations must sign up to increasing their climate ambition by 2020: to not do so would be a dereliction of duty towards all humanity, especially the poorest and most vulnerable, and to all life on earth. Not every pathway to achieve the goal is sustainable, however: governments must also choose to avoid false solutions, like geoengineering, to the climate threat, and instead promote approaches that safeguard and promote a better quality of life for all.” – Kat Kramer, Christian Aid’s Global Lead – Climate Change
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“Staying under 1.5°C is now a matter of political will. Burying our heads in the sand cannot be contemplated as an option any longer. The climate crisis is here and already impacting the most vulnerable and the least responsible for creating it. The only way to achieve it is to stop all fossil fuel extraction and redirect the massive resources currently spent on the fossil fuel economy towards the renewable energy transition.” – Payal Parekh, Programme Director, 350.org
“Science has given us a message of both urgency and hope. It has made it crystal clear that warming of more than 1.5°C would result in ever wilder extreme weather events. These in turn would expose us to greater drought, food shortages, and economic devastation. The silver lining to the report is that we still have a chance to stay below 1.5°C, that solutions are within our reach.” – Wendel Trio, Director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe
“No more excuses, no more delay. That is the message this report has for the world. If we want to continue living on a planet that resembles the paradise we inhabit now, we must act immediately and without relent. Importantly, this report also tells us that we have the time and we have the means. 1.5°C is possible. So what’s holding us back from taking the action demanded of us? Short-sighted politics and the reckless self-interest of polluting industries. The science is clear and it has handed us a way forward: all of us must do all we can, all at the same time.” – Catherine Abreu, Executive Director, Climate Action Network Canada
“Australia’s health professionals are declaring this report a public health warning. With just 1.0°C of global warming we are already seeing devastating impacts. People are dying in extreme heat waves, food production is threatened, massive ecosystems are breaking down. Continuing our current pathway will bring further catastrophic impacts for human populations, and dramatic losses of other species.” – Fiona Armstrong, Founder and Executive Director, Climate and Health Alliance – Australia
“I fully understand the impressive needs for our countries and leaders to work towards a flourishing future, but to make sure that this future is as flourishing as we expect, we need to bear in mind that the Earth has limited resources. Brothers in humanity, the Earth no longer has the time to see us negotiating indefinitely, it’s time to be attentive to its complaints and act accordingly.” – Moussa Elimane Sall, Executive Director of Plateforme Mauritanienne du Climat, Board Member and Regional Coordinator of CAN-Arab World
“The IPCC report is a wake-up call for slumbering world leaders. We must reduce emissions as quickly as possible to keep 1.5°C of warming within reach…Limiting warming to 1.5° will require a radical transformation of economic and social systems at a scale never seen before. This is difficult, but by no means impossible. We know how to do it, and we know that it will lead to a much healthier economy and much healthier citizens. We now know that accelerated climate action can lead to large economic benefits, including a $26-trillion win.” – Andrew Steer, President and CEO, World Resources Institute
“We are living in an urban era, and the 1.5°C target can only be reached if local and regional leaders work with citizens to adopt sustainable lifestyles and build robust frameworks to ensure city efforts are supported and coordinated across all levels of government….Urban climate science will play an increasingly important role in shaping climate action, integrating sustainable urban and territorial development into climate policy, and supporting a global transformation to achieve the 1.5-degree target.” –Yunus Arikan, Head of Global Policy and Advocacy, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability
“This new report makes it clearer than ever that we’re in the race of our lives. Our fate—and the fate of our children—is in our hands. We can make decisions that protect our communities, our children, and future generations, or we can pass on a world far different and more damaged than the one we inherited.” – Nathaniel Keohane, Senior Vice President for Climate, U.S. Environmental Defense Fund