Gebru Jember Endalew, Chair the 47-strong least developed countries (LDCs) group at the UN climate negotiations, says that LDCs’ vulnerabilities to climate change mean they are hurt the most by its effects; floods, droughts and storms stunt their development. The science is clear that these impacts – and more – are only going to increase in intensity and frequency. LDCs are among those who suffer the most from climate change, despite contributing the least to its cause.
Three years on from the adoption of the Paris Agreement, countries are meeting in Katowice, Poland for two weeks of negotiations to finalise and deliver a set of rules that will bring the Paris Agreement to life.
Effective rules will ensure that countries, do their fair share. They will encourage more ambitious action to reduce emissions, strengthen resilience and address loss and damage. And they will ensure that the tools and resources developing countries require to act are made available. As Ambassador Ian Fry from Tuvalu says: “Agreeing on a good set of rules in Katowice will enable greater climate action from all. And we need action.”
We are facing a global emergency; the IPCC report on 1.5C made that clearer than ever.
The report showed that the impacts of climate change, and the loss and damage it causes, will greatly escalate if warming exceeds 1.5C, and it says specifically that LDCs are at a disproportionately higher risk of being affected. The difference between limiting warming to 1.5C compared to 2C of warming is stark: with the latter, several hundred million more people will be exposed to climate-related risks and made susceptible to poverty by 2050, on top of the millions who already are.
The IPCC report does bring some hope. It tells us that limiting warming to 1.5C is still possible, but it will take rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society. The lead coordinator on mitigation, Selamawit Desta from Ethiopia, says it best: “The IPCC report was clear about the scale of action needed, and we are nowhere near it. Even if countries fully carry out their current plans for climate action, we will be on track for warming of more than 3C by the end of the century. Now is the time to respond. We need all countries to commit to greater action against climate change that is consistent with their responsibility for this crisis and their capacity to react.”
But to enable a bold response from all, rich countries must commit to making more finance available for poor countries. Funds are desperately needed to help communities adapt to a changing climate for which they hold little responsibility, address the loss and the damage it causes, and avoid the dirty development pathways of the past.
To tackle climate change, we cannot act alone: we must all go together, or we will not go at all. We need to see governments committing to immediate action to implement transformative change across all sectors. We need to see delivery of promises made.
This is why the LDC Group is at Katowice, representing one billion people on the front lines of climate change
Our planet and our people face a critical moment. It’s time to pull together to build a fairer and more prosperous world for all.