COP26: UNITING THE WORLD TO TACKLE CLIMATE CHANGE

Impacts of climate change continue to be felt by communities in almost every corner of the globe.  Record high temperature is being recorded in every continent. During the last days of June 2021, Pacific northwest areas of the US and Canada experienced temperatures never previously observed, with records broken by several degrees Celsius in many places. (World Weather Attribution). Hundreds of lives and property worth billions of dollars are being lost due to unprecedented extreme weather events such as flooding in some parts of Europe, China, India, Bangladesh, to name a few. Extreme high temperature has also sparked wildfires in Australia, Greece, the United States, Turkey, Siberia, etc.  Time is of the essence in tackling climate change. It is now time for governments to act decisively to limit the rate of global warming to save humanity and our beautiful Earth Planet.

For over two and half decades, the UN has brought countries together for the global climate summits – COPs (Conference of the Parties). On 12 December 2015, for the first time, every government agreed to work together to limit global warming well below 2 degrees, preferably to 1.5 degrees, to adapt to the impacts of climate change. In the legally binding international treaty (the Paris Agreement) adopted by 196 Parties, countries committed to producing national plans setting out how much they would reduce their emissions – known as Nationally Determined Contributions or ‘NDCs.’ They also agreed that every five years, they would come back with an updated plan that would reflect their highest possible ambition at the time. This will be the crux of the upcoming COP26 which will take place from 31 October to 12 November 2021, in Glasgow, Scotland (delayed for a year due to the pandemic).

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released an alarming report on 9 August, warning that human activity is unequivocally and indisputably warming the planet. The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, describes the report as ‘nothing less than a red code for humanity.’ A former Secretary-General of the UN, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, in his remarks at the adoption of the 2030 Global Agenda, cautioned that “we are the first generation to be able to end poverty and the last generation that can take steps to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.” He then noted that ‘future generations would judge us harshly if we fail to uphold our moral and historical responsibilities.’ Climate change is increasingly becoming an existential threat to the human race and the planet.  COP26 has a particular urgency, and we hope that world leaders will arrive in Glasgow prepared to make some tough decisions to save our beautiful planet – our Common Home.

Read more:

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Sixth Assessment report: https://bit.ly/3lNJjJQ

World Weather Attribution: https://bit.ly/2VAcDYY

UN Climate Change Conference UK 2021 (COP26): https://bit.ly/3CpOqFJ

Paris Agreement: https://bit.ly/2U2mnuS

UNITED NATIONS DECADE ON ECOSYSTEMS RESTORATION: “PREVENTING, HALTING, AND REVERSING THE DEGRADATION OF ECOSYSTEMS WORLDWIDE.”

 As part of an effort to turn around the trajectory on the devastation of our biodiversity, the UN General Assembly, in a resolution adopted on 1 March 2019, declared 2021 -2031 as a “decade on ecosystems restoration.” Clear evidence from the Amazonia in Latin America to the Congo Basin in Central Africa and other regions of the world indicates that our precious ecosystems are being depleted at an alarming rate. This trend spells doom for humanity because ecosystems support all life on Earth. And the healthier our ecosystems are, the healthier the planet – and its people. As Sister Dorothy Stang had often warned, “the death of the forest is the end of our life.”

We can become part of the solution by doing something (no matter how little) to remedy the situation. So, take action by clicking on this link https://bit.ly/3xK6tUc to pledge to “Restore the Planet.”

Learn more:

UNGA Resolution on Decade on Ecosystems Restoration; https://undocs.org/A/RES/73/284

Advocating for ecosystems restoration in the DRC: https://bit.ly/3A7RMfJ

INTERNATIONAL MOTHER EARTH DAY 2021: “RESTORE OUR EARTH”

The United Nations General Assembly declared 22 April as the International Mother Earth Day in 2009, acknowledging that the Earth and its ecosystems are our common home. Under the theme of ‘Restore our Earth,’ this year’s Earth Day highlights the need for increased action to address the climate crisis and protect children and young people.

Human health depends on the health of Mother Earth that sustains us.  The healthier our ecosystems are, the healthier the planet – and its people. The World Health Organization estimates that 75 percent of new and infectious diseases are zoonotic, and about one billion cases of illnesses and millions of deaths occur every year from these diseases. The world is currently experiencing the devastating impacts of the COVID-19, which many scientists believe originated from wildlife.

We must all do well to care for Mother Earth and her ecosystems. As Sister Dorothy Stang  said, “the death of the forest is the end of our life.” The UN will officially launch the UN Decade of Ecosystems Restoration on 5 June – the UN World Environment Day.

Each of us can do something to limit global warming. Click on the following link for the ten simple actions you can take to limit global warming and care for our planet https://bit.ly/3guo251.

 Read more:

 International Mother Earth Day; https://bit.ly/3tW0vOk

UNITED NATIONS CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE (COP26): LEADERS SUMMIT ON CLIMATE CHANGE

There was an enormous sense of relief among stakeholder countries, organizations, and individuals worldwidewhen Mr. Joe Biden announced on his first day in office as the President of the United States of America that his office will return the United States to the Paris Agreement. The United States and China are the two biggest carbon emitters. Hence, these two powerful economies have a moral obligation to lead in the global fight against climate change.

So far in his administration, many believe that President Biden is giving this global crisis the serious attention it deserves.  He convened a two-day virtual Leaders’ Summit on Climate Change on 22-23 April, with forty world leaders.  Other stakeholders invited to make a presentation during the Summit include Pope Francis, some city mayors, climate activists, indigenous leaders, climate and environment ministers from some countries, etc.  According to the US Department of State, the Leaders’ Summit on Climate was aimed to highlight the urgency – and the economic benefits – of more critical climate action.  It will be a crucial milestone on the road to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) this November in Glasgow.

Some of the key focus of the Summit were:

  • Galvanize efforts by the world’s major economies to reduce emissions during this critical decade to keep the goal of limiting warming to 1.5C within reach.
  • Mobilize public and private sector finance to drive the net-zero transition and help vulnerable countries cope with climate impacts.
  • Highlight the economic benefits of climate action, with a strong emphasis on job creation.
  • Encourage transformational technologies that can help reduce emissions and adapt to climate change.
  • Showcase subnational and non-state actors committed to green recovery and an equitable vision for limiting warming to 1.5C.
  • Discuss opportunities to strengthen capacity to protect lives and livelihoods from the impacts of climate change, address the global security challenges posed by climate change and the effect on readiness, and address the role of nature-based solutions in achieving net-zero by 2050 goals

In one of his remarks during the event, President Biden cautioned that the signs of the impacts of climate change are unmistakable, the science undeniable, and the cost of inaction keeps mounting. He committed the US to cut its carbon emissions by 50% by the end of the decade.  Some other world leaders also announced additional ambitious climate targets. But as the saying goes, “the taste of the pudding is in the eating.” So, we shall see how far these leaders are willing to walk their talk in the coming years.

Read more:

A Summary of the 2021 Leaders’ Summit on Climate Change:  https://bit.ly/3gCwmQp

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on Global Warming; https://bit.ly/3eA1Y6E

UN Climate Change Conférence UK 2021 : https://ukcop26.org/