SG Puna warns that climate change challenges are now direr and urgent than ever before for Blue Pacific people after the release of the IPCC Working Group II report

The Pacific Islands Forum has warned climate change challenges are now direr and urgent than ever before, confirming the findings of the recently released Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Working Group II report.

The Working Group II report is the second instalment of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report which will be completed this year. This report provides a detailed assessment of climate change impacts, risks and adaptation in cities where more than half the world’s population lives. 

People’s health, lives and livelihoods as well as property and critical infrastructure, including energy and transportation systems, are increasingly adversely affected by hazards through the form of heatwaves, storms, drought and flooding as well as slow-onset changes, including sea-level rise. 

According to an IPCC statement, the latest instalment of its report clearly states climate-resilient development is already challenging at current warming levels and it will become more limited if global warming exceeds 1.5°C (2.7°F). 

“In some regions, it will be impossible if global warming exceeds 2°C (3.6°F). This key finding underlines the urgency for climate action, focusing on equity and justice,” the statement reads.

“Adequate funding, technology transfer, political commitment and partnership lead to more effective climate change adaptation and emissions reductions.

The Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum, Henry Puna, said in a statement that the evidence is painfully clear. 

“Findings and data on Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability provide irrefutable evidence for what our Blue Pacific people already know and experience daily: our lived reality of dealing with the disproportionate impacts of climate change – the Pacific’s single greatest threat,” Secretary-General Puna said.

“These dangerous and pervasive impacts are increasingly evident in every region of the world. Any further delay in global action to build the resilience and adaptive capacity of the most vulnerable developing countries will miss a rapidly closing window to secure a liveable future,” he said.

He said the report finds that for small island developing states of the Blue Pacific and other vulnerable areas of our world, climate-resilient development will be impossible if the temperature exceeds 2°C. 

“The choices we make now, not in five years or ten years, but now- will determine our fate. The report makes it clear that biodiversity loss in the short and medium-term is unavoidable and even irreversible,” he said.

“That is why all countries – especially the big emitters and developed countries – must act with ambition and must act now. We need it for the sake of humanity, for nature, for the generations to come.

Secretary-General Puna emphasised that the world is not yet on track to meet the 1.5 degrees target and neither has global funding gone in that direction.

“We did not secure the promised $100 billion per year. We are not yet compensating for loss and damage to countries who are collateral damage on the front lines of climate change. And financing for adaptation is at a mere 20% of global climate finance mobilised,” he said.

Secretary-General Puna said that the IPCC report provides the truth of the situation. 

“It provides real solutions, and tells us in plain language, how we can act now to bring future generations back from the brink,” he said.

“As we look beyond this report to COP 27 in Sharm El-Sheikh this November, this is not the time to be despondent or to give up the fight for our climate. We must remain optimistic and hold the biggest emitting countries to account. 

“The collective voices of our youths and elders calling for these countries to take urgent climate action must be louder than ever.

“We will work harder, and we will work with the science, including the indigenous wisdom and traditional knowledge we bring on our journey, to ensure the big emitters and developed countries hold themselves accountable and keep our world to 1.5 degrees.”

This story was written by Marc Membrere, originally published at Samoa Observer on 03 March 2022, reposted via PACNEWS.

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