The world is running out of time to secure a liveable planet for humans and nature, according to Stop Climate Chaos (SCC), the civil society coalition campaigning for Ireland to do its fair share to tackle causes and consequences of climate change.
It welcomed calls by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its latest report for urgent action in response to accelerating risks for humanity and nature – and its endorsement of “adaptation solutions with a focus on cities and climate-resilient development”.
Its stark picture of “a world in climate breakdown”, however, was particularly concerning, SCC said in a statement.
"Climate change is already causing dangerous and widespread disruption to human wellbeing and the health of the planet...Exceeding 1.5 degrees of warming (even temporarily) will result in unavoidable extreme impacts," it added.
With more than three billion people living in countries highly vulnerable to climate change, almost all of them were in the global South, and are suffering the brunt of climate change, it noted.
"Today's IPCC report is the latest in a long list of warnings about the cost to people and planet of failing to take rapid and drastic climate action. Countries on the climate crisis frontline must be financially supported to cope with the impacts of rising global temperatures," added Conor O'Neill, head of policy with Christian Aid – a member organisation of SCC.
Ireland had a good track record in funding adaptation projects to prepare for the inevitable impacts of climate change, he said, “but we’re still falling well short of our fair share. We should be contributing roughly €500 million per year, but the current target of €225 million set for 2025 is just not enough”.
World leaders must act immediately to prevent the loss of millions of lives and human suffering due to the devastating consequences of climate change and climate inaction, said Trócaire chief executive Caoimhe de Barra.
The IPCC findings were “a depressing and stark reminder” of the disproportionate impact of climate change, with poorer countries who have contributed least to climate change suffering most”, she said.
The global South was suffering more than 90 per cent of the costs of climate change, and 98 per cent of the deaths associated with climate breakdown, Ms de Barra added.
“How many more reminders do we need of a pending catastrophe? People are experiencing devastating consequences of climate inaction right now, but who is listening?
“The communities we support are in crisis, experiencing drought, floods and heatwaves with devastating consequences on people’s ability to survive. Richer countries must pay their fair share of climate finance and respond to the loss and damages that people are enduring.”
The report confirms what the world's poorest were experiencing everyday; "that the impacts of climate change are here now and will only get worse without immediate action", said Sally Tyldesley of Concern Worldwide. It "shows that there are steps we can take to prevent the worst impacts of climate change. Disasters do not need to be inevitable. But funding from high-income countries is needed to take action."
"We have a simple choice: 'delay and pay' or plan for a greener way of living," said Global Action Plan chief executive Hans Zomer.
“Today’s report shows that climate change is pushing people and nature beyond their limits. Now is the time to take action, and change the path of destruction that we are on. The report is very clear that things are bad, and going to get worse, unless every one of us takes responsibility,” he added.