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Climate Change Justice

Climate Finance: The Planet is Speaking, Listen and Respond with Justice

While Africa is responsible for two to three percent of global emissions, the continent stands out disproportionately as the most vulnerable. Credit: Joyce Chimbi/IPS

While Africa is responsible for two to three percent of global emissions, the continent stands out disproportionately as the most vulnerable. Credit: Joyce Chimbi/IPS

BONN & NAIROBI, Jun 11 2024 (IPS) - As the planet groans under record-breaking temperatures and extreme weather events, Africa, which is responsible for only two to three percent of global emissions, stands out disproportionately as the most vulnerable region in the world. 

António Guterres, the United Nations Secretary-General’s special address on climate action titled ‘A Moment of Truth’ said 2024 was the hottest May in recorded history, and that this marks twelve straight months of the hottest months ever. For the past year, every turn of the calendar has turned up the heat.

“Our planet is trying to tell us something.  But we do not seem to be listening. Humanity is just one small blip on the radar. But like the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs, we’re having an outsized impact. In the case of climate, we are not the dinosaurs. We are the meteors. We are not only in danger. We are the danger. But we are also the solution,” he said.

The speech was made during the 60th Sessions of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Subsidiary Bodies—also called the 2024 Bonn Climate Change Conference—to build on the many mandates of COP28 in Dubai, drive forward progress on key issues and prepare decisions for adoption at the COP29 UN Climate Change Conference in Baku, Azerbaijan, in November 2024.

“We are at a moment of truth. It is a travesty of climate justice that those least responsible for the crisis are hardest hit: the poorest people, the most vulnerable countries, Indigenous Peoples, women and girls. The richest one percent emits as much as two-thirds of humanity,” Guterres observed.

Emphasizing that extreme events “turbocharged by climate chaos are piling up—destroying lives, pummeling economies, and hammering health. Wrecking sustainable development; forcing people from their homes; and rocking the foundations of peace and security—as people are displaced and vital resources depleted.”

Climate justice is an approach to climate action centered on the unequal impacts of climate change on vulnerable populations. It seeks to achieve an equitable distribution of both the burdens of climate change and the efforts to mitigate climate change, examining issues such as equality, human rights and historical responsibilities for climate change.

Activists demand that negotiators at the 2024 Bonn Climate Change Conference and COP29 stay on track with climate finance demands. Credit: UNFCCC

Activists demand that negotiators at the 2024 Bonn Climate Change Conference and COP29 stay on track with climate finance demands. Credit: UNFCCC

This approach recognizes that marginalized or vulnerable communities, especially in developing and least-developed countries, often face the worst consequences of climate change. The “triple injustice” of climate change means that they frequently experience additional disadvantage as a result of climate change responses, which exacerbates already existing inequalities.

Meena Raman from the Third World Network spoke about the poor performance and duplicity of the developed countries.

“They come to these negotiations talking about issues such as mitigation ambition while regressing and moving away from the climate finance agenda,” she said, pointing to the failure of the developed world to keep to their promises of reducing their carbon emissions by 25 to 40 percent by 2020.

“There are only 17.4 percent emissions reductions overall in developed countries and economies in transition…This is the height of irresponsibility.”

She also called them out on climate finance.

“The developed world has only managed to generate about USD 51.6 billion annually from 2019 to 2020, against a commitment of USD 100 billion per year. And here they come talking about achievements and being on target while they are nowhere near that target,” she said.

Sara Shaw from Friends of the Earth International stressed that developed countries have not provided the finance they owe to developing countries over the past decades to deliver a just transition and a meaningful and just phase out of fossil fuels. This has led to a dire emergency situation, with the impacts of the climate crisis becoming increasingly devastating.

“The situation is fueling, understandably, a narrative of urgency. But instead of the urgency meaning that the action is directed at tackling the root causes of the climate crisis at source, including fossil fuel and greenhouse gas emissions, we see rich countries and big polluters chasing after a range of dangerous distractions, such as the carbon market,” she said.

Raman speaks of a lack of good faith in the negotiations, of big countries minimizing and disguising their contribution to global emissions, and their financial responsibility to developing and underdeveloped countries. Saying there is a resistance to focusing on finance and a deliberate shift to focusing on other issues.

“Developed countries are saying that negotiations here are not only about finance but about the global stocktake—how parties have progressed towards achieving global climate goals—in their entirety. The negotiations are about every global stocktake outcome. But what they are attempting to do is dilute and muddy the discussions so that there will not be a total focus on finance,” Raman emphasized.

“For Baku, COP29 is a finance COP and the new collective quantified goal on finance is a very critical discussion that is going on now and that has to be decided in terms of what the quantity of the new goal is going to be.”

Civil society from Africa, under the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), is in Bonn to voice their concerns and demands on behalf of millions of Africans suffering from climate change’s impacts. To remind the Parties to the UNFCCC of their moral and legal obligations to protect their planet and people from the existential threat of global warming. To hold them accountable for their actions and inactions that have caused and exacerbated this crisis.

“Africa is on the frontlines of the climate crisis. We are experiencing the worst effects of a problem that we did not create. Our communities are facing severe water scarcity, crop failures, malnutrition, diseases, displacement, conflicts, heat waves and loss of life due to climate change. Our natural resources and ecosystems are under immense pressure from climate change and other human activities. Our development prospects and aspirations are being undermined by inadequate support and finance from the international community,” their joint statement read.

Their statement said their call was not for charity or sympathy.

“We are here to demand justice and equity; to demand that the parties, especially those from the North, stop procrastination; to call on them to listen to the voices of the people, especially those who are most vulnerable and marginalized, and to act following the best available science and the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities. We are here to call on rich countries to demonstrate leadership and courage in tackling this crisis that threatens our common future.”

IPS UN Bureau Report

 


  

 

 
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