The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fails Again to Chart a Decisive Course Forward to Tackle Climate Change
In the most critical decade of opportunity we have left to act decisively, the just issued United Nations report on climate change fails to set a clear, meaningful, and just path forward for governments. Sadly, this third assessment, which will lead to the final 6th Assessment – expected to be issued later this year during the next Climate Change Conference (COP 27) in Egypt – is shameful and woefully inadequate.
“We are in a climate emergency and nothing short of sound, verifiable solutions to stop greenhouse gas emissions should be upheld as part of any roadmap ahead for governments around the world. A Just Transition away from fossil fuel extraction isn’t just aspirational, it is operational.” said CJA Board Co-Chair Elizabeth Yeampierre.
As pointed out during the IPCC press call, “unless there are immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, 1.5C is beyond reach.” In their press statement however, they expand on their proposed forms of action that rely heavily on unproven technologies and band-aid approaches, with a glaring omission: The major transition that would reduce global emissions at the rate needed to stop climate change is not seriously and meaningfully included as a critical pathway forward. For all intents and purposes, the IPCC seems to be content with relying on scenarios where we pass the 1.5C ecological tipping point and/or use dangerous and untested techno-fixes such as carbon capture and storage – a technology yet to be proven to reduce emissions in any meaningful way and one that puts communities and Mother Earth at risk for more health and ecological devastation.
“Ending the production of energy based on fossil fuels and keeping them in the ground is what is needed to meet this historical moment for all the peoples of the world. Until policy mandates that emissions are reduced and ended at their source (without loopholes to continue polluting or inadequate reduction targets such as net-zero), climate chaos is the inevitable result. That means all our communities are at risk.” stated CJA Co-Executive Director Bineshi Albert.
In the lead up to this most recent report, Climate Justice Alliance joined hundreds of organizations in an open letter to the international community and the IPCC calling for bold and meaningful action through the clear phasing out of fossil fuels. As Ramón Pichs-Madruga, Vice-Chair of Working Group 3 that drafted the assessment stated during the press conference today, “Equity and Just Transitions can lead to deeper ambitions for accelerated climate action.” While we applaud this language from the Working Group, these words are meaningless unless the IPCC codifies this commitment into policies that ensure Black, Brown, Indigenous and other communities on the frontlines of this climate emergency are safeguarded from future harm and environmental destruction. Carbon capture and storage and other new, unproven technologies are hazardous distractions that will only continue future harm in frontline communities.
As we stated when part 2 of this assessment was issued in March, “If the nations of the world truly want to solve the climate crisis they will heed the calls of those most impacted and look to them to lead rather than those who created the crisis in the first place; here in the United States that looks like addressing this issue as the emergency that it already is.” We must end fossil fuel use and stop emission at source. No loopholes. No exceptions.