November 28, 2018

STATEMENT: National Climate Assessment report, Vanuatu’s possible legal action on climate change, and the People’s Demands for Climate Justice, all on the eve of the COP24 UNFCCC climate talks

Please see the statement below from Patti Lynn, executive director at Corporate Accountability: 

The National Climate Assessment report, released last Friday is a stark and sobering warning for people in the United States. The report, issued by 13 U.S. government agencies, warns of the catastrophic impacts climate change will have on the U.S. economy, our health, environment, and our food supply. Despite being released by the White House, this report contradicts practically every stance the Trump administration has taken on climate change.

Released just one month after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned the world that we have just 12 years to radically cut emissions, this report is the latest clarion call for bold, urgent action. These reports warn of the literal disappearance of entire nations under rising seas, the prospect of widespread disease and of famine, and the decimation of entire industries that will profoundly destabilize the world economy.

Both reports are grim. Their findings make the case for swift and major action to address climate change.

Next week world governments will meet in Poland to decide how to turn the Paris Agreement from words on paper into action on the ground. But despite these recent reports, the U.S. delegation will be holding a pro-fossil fuel event, and will be up to its same strategy of delaying, blocking, and watering down policy alongside its fossil fuel industry allies in the talks.

We need world governments to lead, not play political games. They must heed the demands of people, and not the narrow interests of Big Polluters or policymakers who do their bidding.

When the future of humanity undeniably hangs in the balance, we need serious solutions from serious leaders, not dangerous schemes and political tricks aimed to keep Big Polluters polluting.

And in some cases, governments are already advancing key solutions. Just last Thursday, we learned that the island nation of Vanuatu is considering becoming the first nation to directly sue the fossil fuel industry for the effects of climate change. Holding polluters liable for decades of deception and the catastrophic damage they have caused is an important tool in addressing the worst effects of the climate crisis.

In order to make all sensible and just climate solutions more viable, we must kick Big Polluters out of climate talks. Here too Global South governments representing 70 percent of the world’s population have collectively challenged Big Polluters’ participation in the U.N. climate treaty.

To ensure these measures happen, people too are rising. A global movement of people has coalesced around the People’s Demands for Climate Justice — the bar against which progress at next week’s COP24 in Poland will be measured.

Global South governments are leading with positive solutions. And people from around the world are coming together to back them up. Let us join them in one urgent and unbroken voice to support solutions that address the scale of the crisis. At COP24, those solutions are articulated in the People’s Demands. Our time to act is now.

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