Glasgow, Scotland – The people of the nations most vulnerable to the wrath of climate change have demanded immediate action and redress from the rich countries that fueled the climate emergency.
The 55-nation Climate Vulnerable Forum, which supports countries in the global South facing the worst impacts of the climate crisis, told world leaders that words are no longer enough as the climate crisis intensifies.
“This is a global justice problem because the poorest and most vulnerable are by far the most affected, but also the least responsible [for climate change], “Abul Kalam Azad from Bangladesh said at a news conference.
Bangladesh is already suffering from the ongoing climate disaster. It is estimated that approximately 17% of the South Asian nation’s coasts will be flooded by rising sea levels by 2050.
About 30 million people will be forced to move inland, about six million have already done so.
“Fight for life”
Another nation suffering from the crisis is Kenya, where it is estimated that two million people face hunger due to climate change. Estimates suggest the temperature could rise by 2.5 degrees Celsius by 2050, further devastating food production in the East African country.
“There is a lot to fight for at COP26, but most of all we are here because we are fighting for the lives and livelihoods that are at stake in the decisions that will be made at COP26,” said Elizabeth Wathuti, a Kenyan climate activist.
His message to world leaders was: “Each moment you delay, the more people will suffer.”
Developed nations are extremely responsible for the climate crisis, having produced about 80 percent of greenhouse gas emissions into the Earth’s atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution.
Members of the Climate Vulnerable Forum – which also includes Ethiopia, Vietnam, the Maldives and the Philippines – said leaders must make a clear commitment in writing in the COP26 final document. “Glasgow Emergency Pact“.
This would include providing $ 100 billion annually from developed to developing nations. Wealthy nations made this financial commitment a decade ago, but have so far failed to keep the countries hardest hit by climate change.
Forum members also called for stronger moves by nations to reduce their gas emissions. The benchmark for 1.5 ° C temperature increase to prevent the worst climate disasters is rapidly fading with only about eight years to reach it.
A report by the Climate Action Tracker group noted this week under the current promises of nations around the world, temperatures will rise by 2.4C by the end of the century.
“A 2.4C world is a death sentence for communities like mine,” said Vanessa Nakate from Uganda. “2.4 degrees is total global devastation, it is suffering, suffering, suffering. It is a disaster”.
As temperatures rise, scientists say extreme weather events will intensify already, so every tenth of a degree of warming means life or death for climate-vulnerable communities.
“Where are these people going?”
Harjeet Singh of the Climate Action Network noted that 23 million people around the world were forced to flee their homes due to climate change in 2019. A year later, the figure jumped to 30 million.
“Are we wondering where these people are going?” churches.
Singh said negotiations in Glasgow must produce a global fund – paid for by the developed nations that caused the emergency – to assist those around the world suffering from the effects of climate change.
“We urge leaders to step forward and move beyond rhetoric to ensure climate justice here and now,” he said.
“The leaders who came here and made big announcements about what they are going to do in the future – 10 years, 20 years, 30 years from now, we can’t trust them if they’re not supporting people right now.”
Getting climate compensation recognized in the COP26 final communiqué is crucial for dozens of nations in the global South.
“Financing for adaptation is key, but for many of us in vulnerable countries, adaptation to climate change is no longer enough. You can’t adapt to hunger, you can’t adapt to extinction, “Nakate said.