Oxfam reaction to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report

Campaigns and Advocacy, Climate Change, Media Releases article written on the 09 Aug 2021

Responding to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Working Group I contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), Oxfam Australia Chief Executive Lyn Morgain said:

“Amid a world in parts burning, in parts drowning and in parts starving, the IPCC today tables the most compelling wake-up call yet for global industry to switch from oil, gas and coal to renewables. Governments must use law to compel this urgent change. Citizens must use their political power to push big polluting corporations and governments in the right direction. There is no Plan B.

“The world’s peak body on climate science, the IPCC, describes humanity’s slimmest chance to keep global warming to 1.5°C and avert planetary ruin. It sets the agenda for a make-or-break climate summit in Glasgow later this year. This report tells us that climate change is happening now, and that global warming is already one of the most harmful drivers of worsening hunger and starvation, migration, poverty and inequality all over the world.

“In recent years, with 1°C of global heating, there have been deadly cyclones in Asia and Central America, huge locust swarms across Africa, sea waters rising into Pacific island communities and unprecedented heatwaves and bushfires across the US and Australia ― all turbo-charged by climate change. The report tells us that if global emissions continue to increase, the 1.5°C threshold could be breached as early as the next decade, leading to even more frequent and extreme weather-related disasters.

“Over the past 10 years, more people have been forced from their homes by extreme weather-related disasters than for any other single reason ―20 million a year, or one person every two seconds. The number of climate-related disasters has tripled in 30 years. Since 2000, the UN estimates that 1.23 million people have died and 4.2 billion have been affected by droughts, floods and wildfires.

“The climate crisis affects us all but it doesn’t affect us equally. The richest 1% globally, about 63 million people, are responsible for more than twice as much carbon pollution as the 3.1 billion people who make up the poorest half of humanity. The people with money and power will be able to buy some protection against the effects of global warming for longer than those without those privileges and resources ― but not forever. No one is safe. This report is clear that we are now at the stage when self-preservation is either a collective process or a failed one.

“The main perpetrators of global warming ― that is, rich countries and corporations that have reaped massive wealth by burning fossil fuels ― must be the ones to cut their emissions first, fastest and furthest. That’s why the Australian Government must reduce carbon emissions by 74% by 2030 and reach net zero by 2035. The world has much to gain in terms of human safety, development, opportunity and jobs by running a global economy on clean renewables, and a lot to lose by continuing dirty business-as-usual.

“Rich countries, including Australia, have a responsibility to pay their climate debt to developing countries by scaling up climate finance to help them adapt to the effects of the climate crisis and transition to clean energy. The Australian Government must increase climate finance and resume contributions to the Green Climate Fund – a major global fund to help the poorest countries grapple with the climate crisis.

“The IPCC report must spur governments to act together and build a fairer and greener global economy to ensure the world stays within 1.5°C of warming. And they must cement this at the COP26 meetings in Glasgow.”