The Catholic Agency for Justice, Peace and Development

“Alarm bells should be ringing in the corridors of power"

Media Image Credits: 
Aerial view of the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan
Event date: 
10 Oct 2018

Responding to the release of the latest Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), leaders of Catholic development agencies around the world have launched an urgent call for action, as there isn’t much time available to tackle the crisis without running into terrible consequences.

“Clearly there is a groundswell of concern about the current track we are on. The IPCC Report shows that urgent changes are needed to prevent a disaster developing. Alarm bells should be ringing in the corridors of power in Wellington, Canberra and around the world,” says Julianne Hickey, Director, Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand.

“We simply cannot keep going the way we are going. The time for a major shift in direction has arrived,” says Mrs Hickey.

Caritas has already called for significant changes in the way local communities are engaged with in the Pacific. As our recent State of the Environment Report in Oceania stated: “Rather than impose further foreign debt and burden on Pacific states and the people that reside within them, more needs to be done to ensure effective funding, preferably through grants rather than loans that:

• ensure climate finance benefits the poorest and most vulnerable communities;
• increase sustainable investment and eliminate unsustainable investment; and
• put in place a just transition that promotes capacity building and technology transfer among Pacific island nations.”

CIDSE – an organisation which represents leaders of Catholic development agencies working together in more than 120 countries to promote social justice, also reacted to the IPCC report yesterday by sending an urgent call for climate action.

“The next United Nations Climate Change conference (COP 24, Katowice, Poland, December 2018) must be a milestone in the implementation of the Paris Agreement signed three years ago. Furthermore, governments, as the IPCC report also says, must imperatively and swiftly raise ambition: the reality is that we are on a warming pathway of 3.5°C or more, pointing that there is a huge gap with the 1.5°C objective. Limiting global warming to 1.5°C is a matter of survival for all and it is feasible through bold political actions: the barriers to fighting climate change are political! Now more than ever we need leaders to acknowledge and take actions to curb our current emissions trajectory. “ – CIDSE, (8 October 2018).

Meanwhile Caritas Oceania Forum attendees, from over 10 Pacific Island countries, praised a recent State of the Environment Report for Oceania (SEFO) saying it was “an attentive listening to the sea, land and peoples of Oceania and amplifies the voices of the region’s most vulnerable communities affected by climate change. It calls for action, focussed on ensuring global commitment to the Paris Agreement and climate finance measures to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. It provides an important basis for CO members to pursue their work and advocacy more actively.” – Caritas Oceania Forum Statement (5 October 2018)

• The IPCC Report can be found here: http://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15/

• The CIDSE Statement can be found here: https://www.cidse.org/newsroom/leaders-of-catholic-development-agencies-call-for-urgent-climate-action-and-post-growth-economy.html

• The Caritas Oceania SEFO Report can be found here: https://caritas.org.nz/newsroom/media-releases/caritas-state-environment-oceania-report-waters-life-oceans-mercy-releases

More information on our approach to environmental justice is available online at www.caritas.org.nz.

For more information on Caritas, or to request an interview, email us at rogere@caritas.org.nz

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