As the COP26 meeting comes to a close in Glasgow with a final agreement that has been widely denounced as insufficient to prevent the planet exceeding the 1.5C change which scientists have recommended as a target to avoid utter devastation by the end of the century, the civil society COP26 Coalition published their declaration which Pressenza republishes below for our readers.
Climate change already impacts and threatens billions of lives, with billions more on the line: it is those that have done the least to cause climate change that are most impacted, especially women, Black, Indigenous Peoples, and people of colour, peasants and rural people, youth, people with disabilities, local communities and frontline communities.
The climate crisis also amplifies the structural inequalities and injustices that have been hardwired into our economic and political systems that have resulted in a spiralling debt crisis, Covid vaccine apartheid and growing inequality and poverty.
Governments in the UNFCCC have repeatedly failed to deliver meaningful and just outcomes that will keep the global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius despite growing urgency: time is running out.
Countries of the global North have the greatest historical responsibility for emissions and have grown rich through centuries of colonisation and exploitation of communities and nations in the global South. These countries, including the US, Canada, UK, Australia, Norway, Japan and those in the EU must finally do their fair share to address the climate crisis and pay their climate debt without delay.
Throughout the existence of the UNFCCC, governments have moved from policies, to empty pledges, to press releases and proclamations made outside the negotiations process that mean they cannot be held to account for failing to meet them. “Net zero” pledges without concrete plans to achieve Real Zero emissions, without adequate legally binding commitments to protect human rights, are simply greenwashing, a smokescreen hiding the intent to continue polluting and digging the graves of our present and future generations with impunity.
People are tired of waiting for governments to prioritize people and the planet over profits while so many lives are being impacted and lost. We are out of time and out of patience.
We therefore demand:
- Global North countries pay their climate debt:
They must do this by providing new and additional short and long term finance, based on the needs of the peoples of the Global South, balanced between mitigation and adaptation. The first immediate step is for these countries to fix the broken commitment of delivering the inadequate $100 billion in public finance by 2020.
- Deliver a Global Goal for Adaptation:
And rapidly scale up finance for adaptation based on the needs of those most impacted.
- Address climate injustice and pay up for Loss and Damage:
Delivery of additional finance for Loss and Damage based on needs is made and honored. The Santiago Network on Loss and Damage must be operationalised by no later than COP27.
- Urgently deliver your fairshare of action:
Governments must ensure that their emission reduction targets are sufficient to meet the 1.5°C target by urgently strengthening 2030 targets to rapidly reduce emissions to Real Zero, fully in line with each countries’ fair share.
- Reject False Solutions:
Governments must categorically reject false solutions and the “net zero” plans that disguise intentions to continue polluting. This includes offsetting, carbon markets, carbon capture technologies, nature based solutions, geoengineering, climate smart agriculture, and others that are inherently ineffective, unjust and destructive.
- No trade off of Human Rights:
Governments must keep the promise of the Paris Climate Agreement and ensure that these rights remain central in the outcomes of COP26 including the rights of Indigenous Peoples, peasants rights, Gender rights, rights of people with disabilities, workers rights.
- Big Polluters removed from this Process:
Parties to the UNFCCC should officially and permanently remove Big Polluters from deliberations where they consistently undermine, weaken, and delay meaningful policy outcomes. And develop paths for the liability of polluters to make them pay for the crisis and repair the damage they have done.
- Deliver Just Transitions:
Parties must deliver just transitions as defined in the Paris Agreement with reference to decent work and quality jobs. Labour rights are human rights and countries must guarantee full engagement of workers and their unions through social dialogue processes in raising climate ambition and the creation of decent work, quality jobs, social protection and universal public services.
- Co-operation and Solidarity
A justice transition must also result in collaborating to rapidly share technology and finance to implement real, proven, and people-centered solutions at scale. This must involve a “fair share phase out” to equitably eliminate fossil fuels from the global economy in time to limit warming below 1.5°C, with developed countries taking the lead on a rapid and just phase out of fossil fuel production, while supporting developing countries to do the same. It also requires transforming energy and food systems that empower people and communities, ecological restoration, and food sovereignty. It is vital that these transitions honour and protect the traditional knowledge, practices, and territories of indigenous peoples and local communities.
- Do not exclude the People:
Prioritize an inclusive, democratic and just UNFCCC process that recognises and respects all rights-holders. This requires the meaningful inclusion of Persons with Disabilities by recognizing them as a formal constituency.
The time for words without action has come and gone. We no longer have the luxury of time to sit back and allow governments and private interests to destroy our future. Scientific predictions are increasingly dire; it is not hyperbolic to assert that the very future of humanity depends on the outcomes of these negotiations. Governments must immediately heed the growing demands of those already facing crisis and those who will face crisis and bravely reimagine our world in a way that guarantees everyone the right to live with dignity and in harmony with our planet.
The Era of Injustice is over!