COP25 and the climate crisis: The time is now

By: 
CARE
The UN Climate Change Conference, COP25, needs to mark a pivotal step-change in global climate policy and action

The climate crisis is taking a significant toll all over the planet.

  • Hunger is on the rise.
  • Glaciers are melting at record speed.
  • Climate-related disasters are more frequent and severe.
  • Dirty fossil fuels continue to pollute the atmosphere while benefiting from public subsidies.
  • Thousands of fires in the Amazon destroy rainforests and accelerate the climate crisis.

The burden of climate change falls disproportionately on the poorest and most vulnerable, particularly on women and girls.

And climate change will only increase existing inequalities and vulnerabilities between men and women.

There is no longer any question: climate justice, social justice and gender justice are inseparable realities that will indelibly shape our world, and the future of our species.

Climate justice & gender justice must go hand in hand (graphic)

Ambitious and urgent action from governments, the private sector, civil society and other stakeholders is critical to tackle these injustices.

Many parliaments and municipalities have declared climate emergencies in response to the demands of millions of people who have taken to the streets to demand climate action now. The Paris Agreement provides a legal framework for collective action that can unlock much-needed ecological, social and economic solutions.

But these words are empty without immediate action to back them up.

There is no more time to waste. A line has been drawn between the heroes and laggards – the latter can no longer be allowed to hold back progress, while the former must be the standard bearers for the many who still sit on the fence.

Climate justice now (graphic)

Here’s three reasons why all is not (yet) lost:

1. It’s a man-made crisis. Women can fix it.

Women on the frontlines are the climate heroes leading the way. Around the world, from Peru to the West Bank, Vietnam and the Philippines, women are already leading the charge for healthier, more stable communities in the face of climate disasters.

2. Around the world, people are not waiting for the political stars to align or climate negotiations to deliver sweeping solutions.

Many communities in poor and highly vulnerable countries take their livelihoods in their own hands and implement resilience actions. The Global Climate Action Summit saw hundreds of businesses, mayors, local communities and citizens pledging actions to lead the way to a zero-carbon future and calling on governments to step up their climate action as well. Millions of citizens are taking to the streets and taking on the fossil fuel lobbies and vested interests, often at the risk of their lives and livelihoods, and demanding a safe future for people and the planet.

3. Keeping global warming below 1.5C is achievable.

This UN Climate Change Conference must reorient the climate conversation and focus towards unlocking ambition at the national level through ambitious and progressive actions, using the opportunities in the real economy – including accelerating the expansion of renewable energy use – and striving towards transformational changes to avoid climate breakdown.

The next year is critical to close the emissions gap.

In many countries, local communities and leaders are leading action, but when it comes to national governments, they are still behind the curve. Governments must now set out clear milestones and come to COP25 prepared to commit by 2020 to stronger national climate targets.

By 2020, global emissions must peak and then subsequently decline if we are to stay within the limits of the Paris Agreement’s 1.5C warming pathway.

Our house is on fire (graphic)

Climate change threatens vulnerable and under-served communities most, and those at most risk of climate impacts are those individuals who least contribute to climate change, particularly women and girls.

COP25 is the 25th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The 25th session! We’ve known about the climate crisis for that long! Simply put, if the world does not act now, it will be too late.

I care about climate justice (graphic)

CARE will be present at COP25 with an international delegation from Europe, Malawi, Peru, Kenya, and Madagascar. This is what we are calling for.

1. AMBITION

Commit to submitting enhanced national climate plans by 2020 that support progress towards the 1.5°C limit, and which boost gender-responsive climate action.

Rich and highly polluting and industrialised countries have the responsibility to deliver by far the most of the needed CO2 reduction.

At the UN climate conference, governments, particularly from rich and powerful countries, must stop ignoring the climate emergency and commit to delivering more ambitious national climate plans in 2020. Our house is burning and this fire must be extinguished. Leaders thwarting action will be remembered in history for their destruction and must not be allowed to obstruct the conference, and climate action overall. We know the solutions we need, and together, the rest of the world has the power to make them happen. 
Inge Vianen, Global Leader of CARE’s Climate Change and Resilience Platform

2. FINANCE

Wealthier countries must provide enhanced resources to poor countries to assist them financially and technologically in particular for gender-just and local community adaptation and resilience-building, along with clean energy implementation, sustainable land use and ecosystem protection.

Developed countries, in particular, must significantly increase finance for gender-just climate resilience measures, including by a) funding the Loss and Damage mechanism with additional finance from innovative sources; b) pledging additional resources to the Green Climate Fund; c) committing at least 50% of international climate finance towards principal purpose adaptation initiatives aimed at addressing the needs of vulnerable people and countries; and d) committing at least 85% of their adaptation finance towards projects supporting gender equality outcomes.

3. GENDER

Climate change exacerbates existing inequalities – especially gender inequality. Climate action must reverse and reduce these inequalities. COP25 must approve a strengthened UNFCCC Gender Action Framework with a comprehensive 5-year Gender Action Plan at its core.

There is no longer any question: climate justice, social justice and gender justice are inseparable realities that will indelibly shape our world, and the future of our species. If women are not adequately represented at the table and their solutions are not promoted, climate action will fail. With the adoption of an ambitious UNFCCC Gender Action Framework with a comprehensive 5-year Gender Action Plan at its core, COP25 can set a landmark for gender-just climate action.
Vitumbiko Chinoko, CARE’s Advocacy and Partnerships Coordinator for Southern Africa

4. AGRICULTURE

Climate change negatively impacts all aspects of food security, and the short-term efforts to cope with the climate crisis risk setting off negative feedback loops between land use and climate change impacts. COP25 must agree on deliverables which result in demonstrable, scaled up, early action for sustainable, gender-equitable and resilient agriculture that ensures food security, gender equality, human rights, and ecosystem integrity.

There is no climate justice without gender justice (graphic)

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News and stories are provided by CARE staff working to support our emergency responses and long-term development programmes.