Climate change talks in Poland: Rich countries are not paying their fair share says civil society

6 December 2018: A new review of climate targets says the global distribution of wealth shows how ‘fair shares’ should work, as the richest 10%t of the global population receives 52% of global income, must take greater responsibility for creating climate change, and has greater capacity to prevent the situation worsening.. The report After Paris: inequality, fair shares, and the climate emergency has been released during the UN climate conference in Poland (COP24) by social movements, NGOs, trade unions, faith and other civil society groups.

As the talks at COP24 reach consensus that the world is at a crossroads, this report finds:
• The total of all current pledges doesn’t come close to a future consistent with a 1.5°C pathway.
• Wealthier countries fall far short of pledging their fair shares of the necessary global action.
• While many poorer countries are pledging action on scale with their fair shares, without support, they will not be able to ramp up their ambition fast enough.
• The Paris Agreement is not delivering the radically scaled-up action needed.

Inequality within and between countries also important

The report’s unique approach puts inequality within countries at the centre of its equity analysis, while also keeping the spotlight on inequity between countries. This provides valuable new insights into the climate challenge, with inequality and insecurity within wealthy countries feeding a new and dangerous right-wing populism.

The report demonstrates that as the poorest half of the world receives less than one-tenth of the global total income, and generates almost no emissions, they cannot be equally asked to shoulder the burden of climate action.

It also breaks new ground by tackling the fair shares challenge in the light of the IPCC’s recent report on the 1.5C temperature target. It leverages one of the IPCC’s key pathways, and uses it to show that – given the tremendous level of ambition that is now needed – equity will be decisive.

Despite this, and despite the fact that equity is a core principle in the UN process to agree a new global climate deal, countries have no equity benchmarks by which to measure the fairness of their own and other countries pledges. This report takes important steps in filling this gap.

Lidy Napil, Coordinator, Asian Peoples Movement on Debt and Development said:
“We are not just facing a climate crisis, we are facing a host of inter-related crises, including an energy crisis, biodiversity crisis and inequality crisis, among others. This report draws the strong links between the climate and inequality crises and makes it clear that we need to tackle them together. This is what climate justice demands”

Brandon Wu, ActionAid USA’s Director of Policy and Campaigns, said:
“Who wants to go back home and tell their voters that they got a raw deal for their country from the UN climate change process, particularly when the vast inequality between the world’s richest people and everyone else is driving us deeper into crisis. Unless there is a fair deal that accounts for the legacy of climate change caused by industrialised developed countries, we will never have a sustainable global strategy.

Mohamed Adow, Christian Aid’s International Climate Lead, said:
“Climate change is the ultimate injustice and this truth needs to be reflected in how we tackle it. Poor countries that have done little to cause the problem are suffering the most from it, while the countries that have got rich from a fossil powered development are better able to protect themselves.

Rachel Kennerley, international climate campaigner for Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland, added:
“The restaurant is about to close, the bill needs prompt paying and while most of the table had a three-course meal, a couple of people just had salad. Do you seriously expect to divide the bill equally? It boils down to this simple principle: wealthier countries, who emit more now and historically, can and should pay more.”

Asad Rehman, Executive Director of War on Want added:
“A failed economic system has put profit before people & planet, triggering a climate crisis that fans the flames of existing global and national inequalities. Only solutions that are both just & equitable offer a real alternative to the politics of hatred and bigotry being promoted by the far right globally.

The Paris Agreement’s bottom-up approach combines with the severity of the 1.5°C challenge to make the equity and fair shares debate critical. Equity is not a moral luxury, but a practical necessity in meeting the Paris goals.The report’s broad conclusion is that together, countries must do all that is necessary to achieve the 1.5°C goal, and this can only be done if the equity challenge is met: those with more, must do more to close the emissions gap.

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