It’s deadly and it’s happening. Urgent global actions absolutely critical now

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

Here we are again. The world leaders have this week been reminded once more about what we’ve always known living in this part of the world, where the impacts of climate change are severe, scary and deadly.

The latest reminder that inaction is not an option has come from the much anticipated report on the impact of global warming of 1.5°C, by the international body for the assessment of climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (I.P.C.C.).

The report is arguably the biggest talking point in the world today. And for good reason. You see, climate change doesn’t just affect us living in the Pacific and on small island states. 

It impacts everyone, which is what has been happening for the past few years.

On the extreme side, all you have to do is take a look around the world at the climate calamities that’s been killing people in small and big countries. No one is spared. 

Even the countries, who doubt the reality of a warming world and the deadly changes that it can bring about, are waking up and taking notice. We’ve seen unprecedented fires, flooding, cyclones, earthquakes and many more natural disasters happening at times, when they are least expected. These natural disasters have been devastating, killing indiscriminately.

The bad news is that it is only going to get worse. Which is why leaders of the world must wake up and start paying serious attention to the issue. 

“The report provides concrete scientific evidence that confirms the importance of limiting global warming to 1.5°C as opposed to 2°C,” said Gebru Jember Endalew, the Chair of the Least Developed Countries Group.

“Communities across the world are already experiencing the devastating impacts of 1°C global warming. Each fraction of a degree that global temperatures rise is extremely dangerous.”

“The science makes clear that there is an urgent need to accelerate the global response to climate change to avoid exceeding the 1.5°C limit. Governments must increase climate action now and submit more ambitious plans for the future.”

“This includes increasing the level of support to developing countries to enable them to develop and lift their people out of poverty without going down a traditional, unsustainable development pathway.”

Added Mr. Endalew: “This I.P.C.C. report confirms that loss and damage resulting from climate change will only worsen with further warming with much greater losses at 2°C than at 1.5°C.” 

“It is particularly vulnerable countries like the least developed countries that are worst affected by the devastating impacts of climate change, and bear the greatest cost from the damage it causes, despite contributing the least to the problem.”

“This injustice must be addressed by the international community through the provision of support for dealing with loss and damage.”

Closer to home, the message from the Director General of S.P.R.E.P., Leota Kosi Latu, perhaps sums up well how all of us in this part of the world view the I.P.C.C’s latest report. 

“As we are faced with darkness there is hope,” he wrote in an opinion published on the pages of your newspaper earlier this week.

“A 1.5˚C world will bring huge challenges to the Pacific, our people and our ecosystems. Yet compared to 2˚C and above it is a world of possibility and hope.”

“By keeping temperatures below 1.5˚C, climate-related risks to health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security, and economic growth will be reduced. There will a future for at least some of the coral reefs so intrinsic to our Pacific identities and economies.”

“Atoll communities will suffer as sea levels rise, but there will be hope that the ocean will stabilise.  Adaptation limits may be reached in some places, but enhancing resilience will bring possibilities for an improved future for many, including moving us closer to achieving our Sustainable Development Goals.”

“Let us not dwell on 2˚C and above – for Pacific Islanders it is simply not an option. This report gives us hope – it is clear that it is possible to keep global warming to 1.5 ̊C and that we now have the specific information we need to be able to make this happen.”

“Humanity has the power to make the changes needed. This report is our guiding document; it shows our current state, where we would like to be and what it is that we need to do to get there.”

Lastly, Leota said: “This report provides us further science to support our calls for action on the global stage.” 

“Science tells us that we can reach the 1.5 global warming target.  What we are experiencing in our Pacific island lives tell us that we must.  We must persevere.  We must commit to action and change.  It’s “hashtag doable” as this current tech generation would say. It’s in our hands, as a global family to do right.  Let us not be the generation that failed our planet and humanity.”

We cannot agree more.

Have a safe Thursday Samoa, God bless!

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