The biggest international climate change negotiations CoP24 took place in the city of Katowice, Poland.
The IPCC Report
The report revealed that global temperatures are moving towards a catastrophic 3C rise during this century. The study, accumulating the wisdom of more than 12,000 scientists, encourages “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” to reduce global temperature increase to a maximum of 1.5C.
A key measure in reaching that goal is a 45% reduction of global emissions by the year 2030, urgent action and ambitious climate change goals are needed. This was apparently too much for some countries who decided that if the science was not to their liking, it was not welcome. Without a consensus, the text had to be dropped. We think that this is disappointing and will continue to urge for change for those who are the most vulnerable.
The Talanoa Dialogue
While most of the negotiations brought out differences, the Talanoa Dialogue focused on what draws us together. Some Fijian sunshine spread around the conference rooms as shared human experience, fresh ideas and collective effort took over. Islamic Relief had a particular interest in the Talanoa Dialogue. We used our experience of over 40 Dialogues in more than a dozen countries to make an effective submission on our own behalf, and to drive a further submission from a variety of faith-groups which we handed directly to the organisers of CoP24. To learn more about the Talanoa Dialogue: https://www.islamic-relief.org/talanoa-dialogue/
Rights for all
An ethical and moral given is that human rights needs to be at the centre of climate action. Explicit references to human rights, gender, indigenous peoples, and public participation were included in the preamble to the Paris agreement.
What is the Paris Agreement
The Paris Agreement builds upon the Convention and for the first time brings all nations into a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects, with enhanced support to assist developing countries to do so. As such, it charts a new course in the global climate effort. This CoP in general this year has seen Human Rights relegated to an obscure reference in the section on national plans, which will hardly be understood outside the negotiations and a chapter on carbon markets which was stalled until next meeting.
Where’s the money for the Green Climate Fund?
At this year’s CoP summit, as with many others before it, the question of cash has been at the heart of so many of the negotiations. Developing countries are concerned about not having enough cash to meet targets and that there won’t be enough money to help them pay for the damage of climate change which is expected to wreak havoc on their nations. Nor will they be able to access the finance they need to build out green power plants and other low-carbon technologies.
CoP24 offered little in how the $100 billion goal by 2020 will be met, or how the overall finance target for post-2025 will be agreed.
Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga of Tuvalu said:
“There must be scaled-up financing to meet both our mitigation and adaptation needs.”
Women at the front
Promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women was a key feature this year.Islamic Relief holds that gender differences in access to resources, power and processes of decision-making, including responsibilities within the household, make women particularly vulnerable to climate hazards.
We say that climate change interventions must be gender-responsive, recognizing and addressing the particular pressures and challenges women and girls face. Women must be fully involved in decision-making and planning, and their skills should be used in disaster-preparedness and response, and all aspects of climate mitigation and adaptation.
Young people are the way!
Young and Future Generations Day was another day celebrated at CoP24. Events marking the occasion include the presentation by Guinness World Record of over 100,000 Climate Change Cards; and the award ceremony of the Global Youth Video Competition on Climate Change 2018, which screen videos of young spearheading innovative solutions for tackling climate change.
Young people are saying that they are fed up. They can see delay and diversion for what it is and demand more. It was young people that stole the show at events here in Katowice. Toby Thorpe (16) from Australia challenged academics to set out a programme for engaging young people in climate research.
Greta Thunberg (15) from Sweden complained about the lack of policies: “We can’t save the world by playing by the rules. This is an emergency. We are facing an existential threat. The rules have to change.”
IRW is committed to hearing the voices, and the participation of young people in tackling climate change so that their actions can lead to active engagement in the future to address climate change.
Faith groups have also realised that it is the next generation that have to step forward to reverse the trend towards destruction.
Patricia Espinosa, UNFCCC Executive Secretary addressed members of science and faith communities:
“We need you to help spread the word. To help humanity understand the importance of the choice between action and inaction—and the consequences. And we can choose whether to address it, or not. If we choose no, we know what’s coming. It means more hunger, more poverty, and more misery – especially for the worlds most disadvantaged. It means more extremes. As for the faith community, you have the capacity to reach so many people through your congregations and your communities on issues of climate change.”
Islamic Relief recognises climate change as one of the greatest moral, social and environmental issues facing humanity. Inspired by Islamic teachings on justice and stewardship, we help communities become more resilient to climate change, improve learning on environmental issues among staff and supporters, aim to reduce our carbon footprint, and undertake advocacy to promote substantial and equitable reductions in greenhouse gases.
Where Do We Go From Here?
COP25 is bound for Chile next year.
We hope to have full accreditation by then, so we are able to put on our own side-events and share our experiences from our work with some of the most vulnerable people in the world. In the meantime we can join calls for leaders at UN Secretary General’s Climate Summit in September 2019 for higher climate action targets and firm commitments to offer support to developing countries.