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Oxfam reaction to the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report

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Responding to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Working Group I contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) released today, Oxfam Climate Policy Lead Nafkote Dabi made the following statement:

“Amid a world in parts burning, in parts drowning and in parts starving, the IPCC today tables the most compelling wake-up call yet for global industry to switch from oil, gas and coal to renewables. Governments must use law to compel this urgent change. Citizens must use their own political power and behaviors to push big polluting corporations and governments in the right direction. There is no Plan B.

“The world’s highest-level of political and scientific consensus, the IPCC, describes humanity’s slimmest chance to keep global warming to 1.5°C and avert planetary ruin. It sets the agenda for a make-or-break climate summit in Glasgow later this year. This report is yet more unimpeachable proof that climate change is happening now, and that global warming is already one of the most harmful drivers of worsening hunger and starvation, migration, poverty and inequality all over the world.

“In recent years, with 1°C of global heating, there have been deadly cyclones in Asia and Central America, floods in Europe and the UK, huge locust swarms across Africa, and unprecedented heatwaves and wildfires across the US and Australia ―all turbo-charged by climate change. Over the past 10 years, more people have been forced from their homes by extreme weather-related disasters than for any other single reason ―20 million a year, or one person every two seconds. The number of climate-related disasters has tripled in 30 years. Since 2000, the UN estimates that 1.23 million people have died and 4.2 billion have been affected by droughts, floods and wildfires.

“The richest one percent of people in the world, approximately 63 million people, are responsible for more than twice as much carbon pollution as the 3.1 billion people who make up the poorest half of humanity. The people with money and power will be able to buy some protection against the effects of global warming for longer than people without those privileges and resources ―but not forever. No one is safe. This report is clear that we are at the stage now when self-preservation is either a collective process or a failed one.

“Global warming is a base factor behind all of today’s huge regressions in human development. The main perpetrators of global warming ―that is, rich countries that have reaped massive wealth by burning fossil fuels― must be the ones to cut their emissions first, fastest and furthest. They must also pay their climate debt to developing countries by scaling up finance to help them adapt to the effects of climate change and transition to clean energy. Other major polluters don’t get a free pass and must also drastically cut emissions. The world has as much to gain in terms of human safety, development, opportunity and jobs by running a global economy on renewables, as it has to lose in continuing dirty business-as-usual.

“Very few nations ―and none of the world’s wealthy nations― have submitted climate plans consistent with keeping warming below 2°C, let alone 1.5°C. If global emissions continue to increase, the 1.5°C threshold could be breached as early as the next decade. The IPCC report must spur governments to act together and build a fairer and greener global economy to ensure the world stays within 1.5°C of warming. They must cement this in Glasgow. Rich country governments must meet their $100 billion-a-year promise to help the poorest countries grapple with the climate crisis ―according to Oxfam, not only have they failed to deliver on their promise, but over-inflated reports of their contributions by as much as three times.”

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