The second instalment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report, released in Yokohama yesterday, has warned that climate change is already negatively affecting every continent and the oceans.
As climate change worsens, it will make people poorer, hungrier, and more ill as they contend with more extreme flooding, heat waves, and droughts.
Members of Climate Action Network which represents more than 850 members in over 100 countries say the world leaders must respond to the world’s leading climate scientists’ harrowing portrait that society is vastly underprepared to deal with the increased risks posed by climate change impacts.
Sandeep Chamling Rai, senior adaptation policy advisor from WWF International, said: “The report talks about the economic cost of climate change. But the true cost of climate change cannot be represented just in monetary terms. There can be no cost put to losing a husband, a mother, a son or a daughter; there can be no cost to losing the home where our ancestors settled hundreds of years ago; there can be no cost to losing an ecosystem that sustains our life and the life of the earth we call home. This is the true cost of inaction on climate change.”
Tim Gore, head of policy, advocacy and research for the GROW campaign, Oxfam International, in a statement said: “This report is clear: the impact of climate change on food is worse than previously estimated. We have already seen significant declines in global yields for staple crops like wheat and maize and food price spikes linked to extreme weather, and the picture is set to get much worse.
“Without urgent action on both adaptation and emissions reduction, the goal of ensuring everyone has enough to eat may be lost forever. Political leaders should ask themselves whether this will be the generation to let that happen.”
Kimiko Hirata, international director of Kiko Network, said: “Asia is the most vulnerable continent to climate change, but it is not just developing countries in the region which are affected. Japan is already experiencing climate change and faces severe risks if action is not taken…This is not an issue somewhere far away, but an issue for us here.”
Kaisa Kosonen, senior political adviser of Greenpeace International, said: “Scientists are warning us, but they are not telling us to give up. The solutions are already here. A growing wave of people, communities, corporations and investors around the world are already making a difference by moving to clean and safe renewable energy and demanding governments to stand with them. There’s a better future than the one we are currently offered and it’s ours if we want to grasp it.”
Dr Camilla Toulmin, director of the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), said: “The new IPCC report highlights the threats climate change poses to people’s peace and prosperity. It shows that countries, communities and companies must act fast to adapt to the changing climate, but it shows too that there are limits to adaptation and this drives home the urgency of global action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“Now is the time for unprecedented global solidarity and cooperation. Now is the opportunity for true leaders to shine. Some of the world’s least developed countries are already forging ahead. Ethiopia has committed to carbon-neutral development. Bangladesh has invested $10bn of its own money to adapt to extreme climatic events. Nepal is the first country to develop adaptation plans at the community level.
“It is time for the richer countries to pull their weight and do the right thing, by investing at home and abroad in actions that can reduce emissions and protect people and property from danger. The climate reminds us that we are all in this together and that we can only solve this problem is as a united international community.”