"Adults keep saying: 'We owe it to the young people to give them hope.”'But I don’t want your hope. I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act. I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if our house is on fire. Because it is."
-Greta Thunberg, speech at Davos World Economic Forum conference, January 2017
At the UN Climate Conference, COP 25, in Madrid in December 2019, countries took steps to adopt a plan for a more gender-responsive approach to climate action. The United Nation climate change Gender Action Plan (ccGAP) includes 20 activities grouped under the priority areas: a) capacity-building, knowledge management and communication; b) gender balance, participation and women’s leadership; c) coherence; d) gender-responsive implementation and means of implementation; e) monitoring and reporting.
Gender equality and women’s rights have progressed immensely since the adoption of the most visionary agenda on women’s empowerment, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, 25 years ago. This year, we have the opportunity to make a real difference in our climate response and to recognize its critical links to gender equality. In addition to the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration this year, 2020 is also the year when countries are requested to deliver stronger climate action plans to adapt and cut their emissions further and faster under the global Paris Climate Accord. Climate action is attracting a large volume of funding through increasingly diverse funding streams, but often ignores its impacts on gender equality and misses to benefit from women’s leadership and expertise on climate-related issues.
According to Save The Children, Climate Change Is a Grave Threat to Children’s Survival worldwide. Nearly 710 million children are currently living in countries at the highest risk of suffering the impact of the climate crisis. However, every child will inherit a planet with more frequent extreme weather events than ever before.
Extreme events, including wildfires, floods and hurricanes, have become a frightening new normal. Hotter temperatures, air pollution and violent storms are leading to immediate, life-threatening dangers for children, including difficulty breathing, malnutrition and higher risk of infectious diseases. The climate crisis magnifies inequality, poverty, displacement and may increase the likelihood of conflict.
90% of diseases resulting from the climate crisis are likely to affect children under the age of five.
By 2050, a further 24 million children are projected to be undernourished as a result of the climate crisis.
By 2040, it is estimated that one in four children will be living in areas with extreme water shortages.
Almost 160 million children are exposed to increasingly severe and prolonged droughts.
The education of around 38 million children is disrupted each year by the climate crisis.
The climate crisis is forcing families to migrate. By 2050, there could be 143 million more migrants due to the climate crisis.
Climate change has many consequences . The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released a report that was the work of thousands of scientists stating that climate change has already increased the risk of severe heat waves and other extreme weather and warns of worse to come, including food shortages and violent conflicts in 2014, and has updated several times, most recently in March 2023.(See below)
We know that that poorest people in the world are the worst affected, and that while the carbon footprint of the poorest billion people is about 3% of the world's total footprint, loss of life is expected to be 500 times greater in Africa than in the wealthy countries.
Such shortages can lead people to migrate as climate refugees, leading to further health problems, and conflicts. People forced to move, whether by food shortages, floods or extreme storms may suffer serious mental and physical health problems. Despite global efforts that are improving human health overall, the following are also true:
10 million children still die every year;
200 million children under age five are undernourished;
800 million people are hungry
1,500 million people already do not have clean drinking water.
All of the above could worsen very significantly due to climate change.
Recent research indicates the ways to avoid dangerous global warming are both available and affordable:
Global poverty can only be reduced by halting global warming;
A rapid phase-out of coal from the global energy mix is among the commission’s top recommendations, due to the millions of premature deaths from air pollution this would prevent.
Carbon emissions will ultimately have to fall to zero. (Currently carbon emissions, mainly from burning coal, oil and gas, are currently rising to record levels, not falling)
Reports indicate that it is POLITICAL WILL, not finance or technology that is the barrier to low-carbon economies and the associated improvements to health and poverty.
The IMF says the costs of dealing with climate change caused by CO2 emissions account for subsidies of $1.27 trillion a year.
if fossil-fuel subsidies were abolished, there would be no need to subsidize renewable energy,which receives a comparatively small $120 billion globally per year. Renewable sources would become cost-competitive with fossil fuels if the latter were priced to reflect the total costs to society of their impact.
"Human activities, principally through emissions of greenhouse gases, have unequivocally caused global warming, with global surface temperature reaching 1.1°C above 1850–1900 in 2011–2020. Global greenhouse gas emissions have continued to increase, with unequal historical and ongoing contributions arising from unsustainable energy use, land use and land-use change, lifestyles and patterns of consumption and production across regions, between and within countries, and among individuals"
"Widespread and rapid changes in the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere and biosphere have occurred. Human-caused climate change is already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe. This has led to widespread adverse impacts and related losses and damages to nature and people (high confidence). Vulnerable communities who have historically contributed the least to current climate change are disproportionately affected"
"Adaptation planning and implementation has progressed across allsectors and regions, with documented benefits and varying effectiveness. Despite progress, adaptation gaps exist, and will continue to grow at current rates of implementation. Hard and soft limits to adaptation have been reached in some ecosystems and regions. Maladaptation is happening in some sectors and regions. Current global financial flows for adaptation are insufficient for, and constrain implementation of, adaptation options, especially in developing countries"
"Policies and laws addressing mitigation have consistently expanded since AR5. Global GHG emissions in 2030 implied by nationally determined contributions (NDCs) announced by October 2021 make itlikelythat warming will exceed 1.5°C during the 21st century and make it harder to limit warming below 2°C. There are gaps between projected emissions from implemented policies and those from NDCs and finance flows fall short of the levels needed to meet climate goals across all sectors and regions."
"Continued greenhouse gas emissions will lead to increasing global warming, with the best estimate of reaching 1.5°C in the near term in considered scenarios and modelled pathways. Every increment of global warming will intensify multiple and concurrent hazards (high confidence).Deep, rapid, and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions would lead to a discernible slowdown in global warming within around two decades, and also to discernible changes in atmospheric composition within a few years ."
"For any given future warming level, many climate-related risks are higher than assessed in AR5, and projected long-term impacts are up to multiple times higher than currently observed (high confidence). Risks and projected adverse impacts and related losses and damages from climate change escalate with every increment of global warming (very high confidence). Climatic and non-climatic risks will increasingly interact, creating compound and cascading risks that are more complex and difficult to manage."
"Some future changes are unavoidable and/or irreversible but can be limited by deep, rapid and sustained global greenhouse gas emissions reduction. The likelihood of abrupt and/or irreversible changes increases with higher global warming levels. Similarly, the probability of low-likelihood outcomes associated with potentially very large adverse impacts increases with higher global warming levels. "
"Adaptation options that are feasible and effective today will become constrained and less effective with increasing global warming. With increasing global warming, losses and damages will increase and additional human and natural systems will reach adaptation limits. Maladaptation can be avoided by flexible, multi-sectoral, inclusive, long-term planning and implementation of adaptation actions, with co-benefits to many sectors and systems."
"Limiting human-caused global warming requires net zero CO2emissions. Cumulative carbon emissions until the time of reaching net-zero CO2emissions and the level of greenhouse gas emission reductions this decade largely determine whether warming can be limited to 1.5°C or 2°C (high confidence). Projected CO2emissions from existing fossil fuel infrastructure without additional abatement would exceed the remaining carbon budget for 1.5°C (50%) "
"All global modelled pathways that limit warming to 1.5°C (>50%) with no or limited overshoot,and those that limit warming to 2°C (>67%), involve rapid and deep and, in most cases, immediate greenhouse gas emissions reductions in all sectors this decade. Global net zero CO2emissions are reached for these pathway categories, in the early 2050s and around the early 2070s, respectively."
"If warming exceeds a specified level such as 1.5°C, it could gradually be reducedagain by achievingandsustainingnetnegativeglobalCO2emissions.Thiswouldrequireadditional deployment of carbon dioxide removal, compared to pathways without overshoot, leading to greater feasibility and sustainability concerns. Overshoot entails adverse impacts, some irreversible, and additional risks for human and natural systems, all growing with the magnitude and duration of overshoot. "
"Climate change is a threat to human well-being and planetary health (very high confidence). There is a rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all (very high confidence). Climate resilient development integrates adaptation and mitigation to advance sustainable development for all, and is enabled by increased international cooperation including improved access to adequate financial resources, particularly for vulnerable regions, sectors and groups, and inclusive governance and coordinated policies (high confidence). The choices and actions implemented in this decade will have impacts now and for thousands of years ."
"Deep, rapid and sustained mitigation and accelerated implementation of adaptation actions in this decade would reduce projected losses and damages for humans and ecosystems (very high confidence), and deliver many co-benefits, especially for air quality and health (high confidence). Delayed mitigation and adaptation action would lock-in high-emissions infrastructure, raise risks of stranded assets and cost-escalation, reduce feasibility, and increase losses and damages (high confidence). Near-term actions involve high up-front investments and potentially disruptive changes that can be lessened by a range of enabling policies."
"Rapid and far-reaching transitions across all sectors and systems are necessary to achieve deep and sustained emissions reductions and secure a liveable and sustainable future for all. These system transitions involve a significant upscaling of a wide portfolio of mitigation and adaptation options. Feasible, effective, and low-cost options for mitigation and adaptation are already available, with differences across systems and regions. "
"Accelerated and equitable action in mitigating and adapting to climate change impacts is critical to sustainable development. Mitigation and adaptation actions have more synergies than trade-offs with Sustainable Development Goals. Synergies and trade-offs depend on context and scale of implementation."
"Prioritising equity, climate justice, social justice, inclusion and just transition processes can enable adaptation and ambitious mitigation actions and climate resilient development. Adaptation outcomes are enhanced by increased support to regions and people with the highest vulnerability to climatic hazards. Integrating climate adaptation into social protection programs improves resilience.Manyoptionsareavailableforreducingemission-intensiveconsumption,includingthrough behavioural and lifestyle changes, with co-benefits for societal well-being."
"Effective climate action is enabled by political commitment, well-aligned multilevel governance, institutional frameworks, laws, policies and strategies and enhanced access to finance and technology. Clear goals, coordination across multiple policy domains, and inclusive governance processes facilitate effective climate action. Regulatory and economic instruments can support deep emissions reductions and climate resilience if scaled up and applied widely. Climate resilient development benefits from drawing on diverse knowledge."
"Finance, technology and international cooperation are critical enablersfor accelerated climate action. If climate goals are to be achieved, both adaptation and mitigation financing would need to increase many-fold. There is sufficient global capital to close the global investment gaps but there are barriers to redirect capital toclimate action. Enhancing technology innovation systems is key to acceleratethewidespreadadoptionoftechnologiesandpractices.Enhancinginternational cooperation is possible through multiple channels.
"Today more than ever, society has come to recognize that the anthropogenic destruction of our planet’s sustainable biodiversity negatively impacts humankind, placing human life at risk. The cause-and effect relationship that exists between environmental collapse and the subsequent risk to our existence can no longer be ignored. "
“We stand now where two roads diverge. But unlike the roads in Robert Frost’s familiar poem, they are not equally fair. The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy; a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lays disaster. The other fork of the road — the one less traveled by — offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth.”
Climate change will not be solved by financial mechanisms – they are a cause of it. Real solutions foreground Indigenous Peoples and Mother Earth, not financial institutions.
The exploitative power dynamics of colonialism and economic development are entrenched in climate finance.
Climate financing invests in false solutions: REDD+, carbon markets, carbon offsets, climate-smart agriculture, nature-based solutions and more.
The hidden agenda behind new climate finance and funding mechanisms are to facilitate the absorption of climate change policy further into the private sector.
There is no exchange for the violence of C02Colonialism. Yes to Indigenous Sovereignty, Land Back, Indigenous Jurisprudence and Climate Reparations, Not Climate Finance!
Climate-Smart Agriculture: Climate-smart agriculture cannot possibly result in food sovereignty or securing Indigenous Peoples’ sovereignty and jurisprudence, territorial rights, demarcation of ancestral lands, or true reparations for Indigenous Peoples and local communities because the violence of climate change far outweighs what can be measured in dollars. Climate-smart agriculture is not designed to deliver resources directly to impacted Indigenous Peoples or local communities.
Nature-Based Solutions: "Nature-based solutions (NBS) is a vaguely defined term capturing a wide range of practices that revolve around the idea of using nature to solve climate change and biodiversity loss. Fundamental to the concept is the capacity of natural ecosystems to sequester atmospheric carbon dioxide and provide various other “services.” However, NBS are not actually nature-based, but are human-made through processes of modification, “enhancement,” and more recently, manipulation and exploitation. Increasingly, NBS are being used by corporations to justify continued fossil fuel extraction and business-as-usual."
Climate change will not be solved by nature-based solutions (NBS) – they will make it worse. Real solutions are led by Indigenous Peoples, not co-opted with more greenwash.
Nature-based solutions commodify the Sacred.
The exploitative power dynamics of colonialism and economic development are entrenched in nature-based solutions.
The hidden agenda behind nature-based solutions is to facilitate the absorption of climate change policy further into the private sector.
There is no exchange for the violence of C02lonialism. YES to Indigenous Sovereignty, Indigenous Jurisprudence and Climate Reparations – NO to nature-based solutions!
A NOTE FROM HELEN AND MARY KAY: As we compiled this information we wrestled with the difficulty of presenting painful truths without having a simple list of Things You Can Do. The solutions are not simple actions; they require looking into the face of the trauma that our human species is enduring during this planetary climate crises. One common reaction to trauma is to shut down or numb out. But when we refuse to do that, to not be silent and to muster the courage to open to the woundedness in and around us, we can shake off the numbness. Then we can take action.
"Trauma constantly confronts us with our fragility and with man's inhumanity to man, but also with our extraordinary resilience....Most great instigators of social change have intimate personal knowledge of trauma. Read the life history of any visionary, and you will find insights and passions that came from having dealt with devastation. The same is true of societies. Many of the most profound advances grew out of experiencing trauma: the abolition of slavery from the Civil War, Social Security in response to the Great Depression....Trauma is now our most urgent public health issues we have the knowledge necessary to respond effectively. The choice is ours to act on what we know”. Bessel van der Kolk “The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind and Body in the Healing of Trauma"
Now we just need the WILL to act and require of our leaders that they do what needs to be done.