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Fate of humanity weighing heavy on ministerial shoulders at UN Climate Change Conference

Ministers arriving in Katowice, Poland, will need extreme courage and conviction to make life-saving decisions if humanity is to be saved from the worst impacts of climate change, Oxfam and CARE International said today.

Despite it forming the key scientific input to this years UN Climate Change Conference, COP24, a handful of countries blocked inclusion of the report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), leaving it to ministers to ensure the report is put back into the heart of conference outcomes.

Sven Harmeling, CAREs Global Policy Lead on Climate Change and Resilience, said: “The landmark science report on 1.5°C has shown that we need immediate action to reduce emissions now, not in the future. This week, we expect ministers to no longer hide behind the inaction of the United States and Saudi Arabia, to no longer stay silent, but to speak up for both agreed rules on implementing the Paris Agreement and enhanced national action plans. This is essential to lead us towards roughly halving emissions by 2030 compared to today.”

Kristen Hite, Oxfam Climate Change Policy Lead, said: “Its unacceptable that despite the clear findings of the IPCC governments are still refusing to see the writing on the wall: preventing a world warmer than 1.5 degrees must be the benchmark for all decision making this week. There is real energy and leadership amongst from states, but how many more people need to die from drought-induced hunger or thirst before everyone agrees to limit global warming? How many more communities should burn, or drown?”

Climate change is already forcing people from their land and homes. During the first week of COP24 governments adopted landmark recommendations on displacement, complementing the broader Compact on Migration which was adopted in Marrakech today. In a recent report, Oxfam found the vulnerability to extreme weather of small-scale farmers and pastoralists in the Sahel region made 24 million people reliant on humanitarian assistance this year alone.

Harmeling comments: “We welcome that governments and UN agencies now have a clear framework on how to protect the rights of people at risk of displacement from the climate crisis and ensure communities have full ownership over decisions on relocation. However, this week it is essential that developed countries also agree to commit to financing loss and damage in the Paris Rulebook, to help vulnerable people cope with the unavoidable impacts of climate change.”

Oxfam and CARE are also calling on governments to agree on strict accounting rules which ensure that only dedicated funding for real climate action gets counted towards the $100 bn per year which developing countries have been promised.

“Theres been some really important discussions to agree a set of crucial rules that everyone should stick to when tackling climate change, but emission cuts are the high-stakes poker chips that governments are betting our lives on. This week the world will be watching to see if Ministers can bring true ambition to the table to win a more prosperous future for everyone,” Hite said.

Join CARE Internationals call to action tomorrow, December 11, at 8:30 AM near COP24 sign:

By Oxfam

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