The signing of the Paris climate agreement marks key moment to turn aspiration into action

Background media: climate-change-ethiopia.jpg

As more than 160 countries come together to sign the Paris Climate Change Agreement, taking a critical step towards its implementation, Oxfam Canada calls 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.    

"Canada’s signing of the Paris agreement today marks a critical step forward towards building a more resilient, low-carbon future,” said Brittany Lambert, Oxfam Canada’s Senior Policy Advisor. “We were encouraged by the constructive role that Canada played in the Paris negotiations last year, and we look forward to continued leadership on this issue."    

Overall, countries need to be more ambitious. The provisions in the Paris agreement, which takes effect in 2020, are not enough to avoid a pathway towards a 3°C world. Climate adaptation costs will hit up over $500 billion per year by 2050, even if global temperatures are limited to 2°C.    

"If the world’s current public climate adaptation finance were to be divided among the world’s 1.5 billion smallholder farmers in developing counties, they would get around $3 each a year to cope with climate change."    

There is significant unfinished business left from Paris, like providing adequate funding to ensure millions of people can prepare for and respond to increasing climate chaos. Women farmers play an integral role in adapting to the effects of changing weather patterns. This is why investment in women farmers is so important."

Oxfam estimates approximately 60 million people will face hunger, disease and water shortages this year because of record global temperatures, droughts and erratic rains in 2014 and 2015, compounded by the development of one of the most powerful El Niños on record.    

Increasing climate chaos, like El Niños and Super El Niños, could pose a serious threat to the stability of the global food system and increase humanitarian emergencies at a time when resources and capacity are already under enormous strain.    

Oxfam Canada’s Humanitarian Manager, Ann Witteveen, said:  "The El Niño food crisis shows what happens when we fail to invest adequately in preventative measures that build the resilience of those most vulnerable. Countries need to step up to the plate and fulfill their promise to significantly increase adaptation finance commitments by COP22 in Marrakesh."    

Having just returned from drought stricken Ethiopia, Witteveen added:  “Countries, including Canada should also ensure sufficient funding for humanitarian needs is made available in the meantime. The hunger and suffering from lack of food and water I recently witnessed in Ethiopia is indefensible.  Canada made a significant contribution in December but much more help is needed."    

More members of the private sector also need to scale up pledges to decrease their carbon footprint and publicly champion a fair and ambitious deal. While some companies made climate policy commitments around COP21, its crucial more raise their climate ambition and continue to pressure governments to act.    

"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,” commented Lambert.


For media inquiries: 

Melanie Gallant 
Oxfam Canada
Media Relations 

Share this page: