The Future is Equal

Rising temperatures jeopardise life as we know it unless governments take swift action: Oxfam

Commenting on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change special report on limiting warming to 1.5C released today, Oxfam New Zealand Executive Director Rachael Le Mesurier said:

“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. This landmark report shows us just how much more ambitious we must be to survive. Currently, the world is on track to reach 3C of warming. But at this level, human civilisation would be in jeopardy and life as we know it will no longer exist.

“We already have first degree burns from monster storms, devastating floods, and brutal droughts, and this is just the beginning. Across the Pacific, people are already finding it harder to grow their crops and get clean water to drink. They are being forced to leave their homes because the sea is flooding their villages and towns.

“Despite communities’ resilience and efforts to adapt, the force of climate change will make it harder to survive and many will be forced to uproot and seek new land to live on.

“And yet it is the countries that are the hardest hit and least responsible, who are boldly taking the lead on increased ambition. It’s time for us all to stand with them to embrace the renewable revolution, scale up support to brace for impact, and enable the poorest among us to not only survive but thrive.

“The report shows that limiting warming to 1.5°C – a matter of survival for many of our Pacific neighbours – would see substantially less impacts globally than warming of 2°C. For example, it would halve the number of people expected to suffer water scarcity and see significantly less impact on crop yields and fisheries, fewer deaths from extreme heat and millions fewer people forced from their homes by rising sea levels.

“We can limit warming to 1.5C. Our best hope is to act swiftly and inclusively: the more we do in the next 10 years, the fewer trade-offs we face and the more lives we save.

“The New Zealand government has shown great leadership. Our government is preparing its Zero Carbon Bill, has halted future off-shore oil and gas exploration, embraced renewable energy, joined the Carbon Neutrality Coalition and the High Ambition Coalition, and is expanding funding for climate change action in the Pacific.

“But as a country, we must also act ambitiously and forthrightly as we negotiate the rule-book for the Paris Declaration. New Zealand must match its words with its actions by pushing for a framework that is transparent, and that works for our Pacific neighbours.

“In New York recently our Prime Minister talked of the importance of kaitiakitanga – guardianship – for our current and future generations. She also highlighted how climate change was humanity’s greatest challenge.

“New Zealand must not hesitate or stand back from this challenge.”


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