Responding to the publication of the IPCC’s Working Group II report assessing climate change impacts, adaptation and vulnerability, Oxfam Canada’s policy manager Ian Thomson said:
“This catalogue of pain, loss and suffering must be a wake-up call to everyone. The poorest who have done the least to contribute to climate change are suffering the most and wealthy countries have a moral responsibility to help those communities adapt.
“Inequality is at the heart of today’s climate crisis — in the little over 100 days since COP26, the richest one per cent of the world’s population have emitted much more carbon than the population of Africa does in an entire year. The super-rich are racing through the planet’s small remaining carbon budget for limiting global warming to 1.5°C. Clearly, the time has come to claw back their outsized wealth, power and consumption through wealth taxes or targeted taxes on carbon-hungry luxury goods like private jets and mega yachts.
“Despite doubling its international climate finance package over the next five years, Canada still falls short of contributing its fair share towards climate adaptation and mitigation internationally. Nor has the federal government committed to introducing a wealth tax in Canada, despite its potential to raise billions of dollars annually from billionaires and multi-millionaires to reduce inequality and help fight climate change. New luxury taxes promised in last year’s federal budget are a small step in the right direction but not nearly enough.
“People living in the most affected countries do not need this report to tell them that the climate has changed.
“Regardless of how quickly governments and corporations cut carbon emissions, some warming is already baked-in from our past behaviour. It’s short-sighted — and too late — to focus almost exclusively on mitigation. Billions of people need early warning systems, access to renewable energy and improved crop production now, not after we bring emissions under control.
“Only a fourth of all climate finance to vulnerable countries is for adaptation. The recent agreement at COP26 to double adaptation finance to $40 billion by 2025 will help, but it’s nowhere near enough. The UN estimates that developing countries need $70 billion every year to adapt and those costs are not falling. Rich countries are overwhelmingly responsible for the climate crisis and must do more to support women and girls living in poverty who struggle to meet their daily needs let alone prepare for the future.
“Canada dedicates only 40 per cent of its international climate finance to adaptation, falling short of the 50 per cent called for by many climate experts and humanitarian organizations. In a positive sign earlier this month, international development minister Harjit Sajjan announced $300 million in international assistance for climate action in sub-Saharan Africa, of which $20 million is targeted to women’s rights and climate adaptation. And, by the end of March, environment and climate change minister Steven Guilbeault is expected to deliver a detailed plan on how Canada will achieve its 2030 emission reduction target.
“The other clear message from this report is that we are all in the driver’s seat. Our foot is on the accelerator and every squeeze produces more harmful gases and higher temperatures. Every ton of carbon we avoid increases the chances of a liveable planet — there is a huge difference between 1.5°C and 1.6°C of heating.
“We must adapt, and we must ensure the planet remains adaptable. Because runaway global heating will only lead to events that we cannot build back from — deaths, submerged homes, unfarmable wastelands, and mass migrations of desperate people.”
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Notes to editors:
- Since COP26, the world’s richest one per cent (79 million people) have emitted an estimated 1.7 billion tons in carbon emissions. This is more than the continent of Africa emits in an entire year, home to almost 1.4 billion people. According to the Global Carbon Project, Africa’s consumption emissions for 2019 (latest year available) were 1.03 billion tons (1.03 billion tons divided by 365 x 107 = 294 million tons emitted by Africa in 107 days). Calculations were made using Oxfam and the Stockholm Environment Institute’s Confronting Carbon Inequality report.
- Recent data from Oxfam shows that the wealthiest one per cent of humanity are responsible for twice as many emissions as the poorest 50 per cent, and that by 2030, their carbon footprints are in fact set to be 30 times greater than the level compatible with the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement.
- According to Boat International, the superyacht industry has largely shrugged off the COVID-19 pandemic to record a third year of consistent order book growth. The 2022 Global Order Book records 1,024 projects in build or on order, a rise of 24.7 per cent on last year’s 821.
- According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), developed countries provided only around $80 billion in climate finance in 2019. While the UN Secretary-General, Oxfam and others have called for half the money to be spent on adaptation, only about a quarter of total climate finance goes to adaptation.
- The UN Environment Program (UNEP) estimates that annual adaptation costs in developing countries are expected to reach $140 to $300 billion in 2030 and $280 to $500 billion in 2050.