Turn climate aspiration into action, urges Oxfam

World leaders gathered last week to sign the Paris Climate Change Agreement. Oxfam is now calling on governments to confront climate change collectively, to help the most vulnerable deal with climate chaos.

More than 160 countries came together at the end of last week to sign the Paris Climate Change Agreement, a landmark accord that is designed to avoid dangerous global warming.

In December 2015, all the countries agreed to work to limit the global temperature rise to below two degrees Celsius.

Now, charitable organisation Oxfam has called on governments to continue to confront climate change collectively and turn their commitments into action, while strengthening their current pledges and agreeing to higher finance levels.

Oxfam International executive director Winnie Byanyima said in a press release: “The signing of the Paris agreement marks a critical step forward towards building a more resilient, low-carbon future. But there is still much unfinished business left from Paris on adapting to the dangerous impacts of climate change.

She explained that if all of today’s public climate adaptation finance were to be divided among the world’s 1.5 billion smallholder farmers in developing countries, they would get only around USD 3 each per year to cope with climate change.

Oxfam believes that the provisions in the Paris agreement, which takes effect in 2020, do not ensure adequate funding to allow millions of vulnerable people to prepare for and respond to increasing climate chaos, such as El Niños.

Approximately 60 million people could face hunger, disease and water shortages this year because of record global temperatures, droughts and erratic rains, compounded by the development of one of the most powerful El Niños on record.

The organisation warns that climate adaptation costs could rise to over USD 500 billion per year by 2050, even if global temperatures are limited to two degrees Celsius.

Byanyima said: “The El Niño food crisis shows what happens when we fail to invest adequately in preventative measures and in building the resilience of those most vulnerable.”

She suggested that more members of the private sector needed to scale up pledges to decrease their carbon footprint and publicly champion a fair deal.

“The private sector is responsible for a very significant part of the world’s carbon emissions. Companies need to work with their suppliers to change practices, and adopt business models that ensure a low carbon economy and build resilience in the supply-chain,” she said.

Photo credit: Climate Alliance Org/ CC BY 2.0

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