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NEWS: IPCC’s 1.5°C Report implies urgent, ambitious climate action that puts vulnerable people first

CAPE TOWN, South Africa — 8 October 2018. CDKN today welcomes the launch of the IPCC’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C and applauds the Special Report’s clear statement that it is viable to limit warming to well below 2°C, and as close as possible to 1.5°C, as stated in the landmark Paris Agreement on climate change.

The Special Report signals to policy-makers that limiting global warming to 1.5°C is possible but incredibly tough, and will require precipitous emissions reductions by 2030, falling to ‘net zero’ emissions worldwide by mid-century at the latest. If emissions continue at present rates, 1.5°C of warming will be exceeded between 2030 and 2052.
CDKN also welcomes the Special Report’s careful analysis of the differences in climate impacts between today’s world, which is already 1°C warmer than preindustrial times, and scenarios where the world is 1.5°C or 2°C warmer.

At 1.5°C average global warming the “impacts on biodiversity and ecosystems, including species loss and extinction, are projected to be lower” compared to 2°C, says the Special Report. Sea level rise is projected to be 10cm less at 1.5°C compared to 2°C, and this would provide greater chances for people and ecosystems to adapt – especially in small islands and low-lying delta areas. In some regions, droughts and the heavy rainfall associated with cyclones will be lower at 1.5°C than at two degrees.

Disadvantaged and vulnerable populations, some indigenous peoples, and local communities dependent on agricultural and coastal livelihoods will be at the forefront of climate impacts at 1.5°C of warming and beyond.

“The IPCC’s 1.5°C Special Report provides vital clarity on the benefits of limiting warming to 1.5°C – and the reduced risks, in particular, to the most climate-vulnerable people,” said Shehnaaz Moosa, CDKN Director. “The Special Report’s messages must now compel ambitious action for a net zero world by mid-century.”

Also of serious concern, the IPCC alerts policy-makers to the potential risks of some climate mitigation actions for disadvantaged populations. CDKN finds that the Special Report’s most important contribution is its framing of integrated climate adaptation and mitigation action in the context of sustainable development.

“The Special Report places an onus on decision-makers to assess climate mitigation options carefully for their impacts on the poorest,” continued Dr Moosa. “The 2030 Agenda to ‘leave no one behind’ must steer our approach to reforestation, climate smart agriculture, clean energy and industrial systems, revitalised coastal ecosystems and net-zero, resilient cities; the good news is that valuable lessons learned by CDKN and other knowledge programmes provide a basis for scaling up best practice.”

Emani Kumar, Regional Director of CDKN Asia, added: “The IPCC’s 1.5°C Special Report finds that technological innovation has a role in meeting the 1.5°C goal, but some of the greatest barriers to effective, equitable action on climate change are socio-cultural, market, and economic barriers. The report also acknowledges the key role of climate finance and its effective distribution and monitoring. The implication is that cities and countries – in Asia and worldwide – will have to co-create collaborative governance systems, giving space and voice to all, and identify nature-based resilient solutions, while encouraging circular economy and adopting sustainable procurement practices.”

Marianela Curi, Regional Director of CDKN Latin America, said: “From a Latin American perspective, the Special Report highlights the region’s urgent need to make a transition in land use, toward more sustainable systems. We concur with the IPCC’s conclusions that “such large transitions pose profound challenges for sustainable management of the various demands on land for human settlements, food, livestock feed, fibre, bioenergy, carbon storage, biodiversity and other ecosystem services”. We also recognise that such options are often limited by institutional, environmental and socio-cultural feasibility. In our experience, these constraints can be overcome. More than ever before, we must learn quickly from our experiences to move forward and rise to the common challenge of people-centred, environmentally sound, climate-compatible development.”

For further commentary, including interviews, contact:

Lisa McNamara and Emma Baker, SouthSouthNorth, Cape Town, South Africa
lisa@southsouthnorth.org
emma@southsouthnorth.org
Tel: (+27) 021 447 0211

Editors’ notes

CDKN was founded in 2010 to help countries design and deliver climate compatible development. The over £130m programme has worked in over 74 countries and delivered 1100 projects which undertook research, shared knowledge, designed policy, secured finance and delivered programmes for climate compatible development. At subnational level, CDKN has supported over 20 cities in their adaptation plans, and more than 50 instances have been documented of CDKN helping leverage finance for climate change and development. Independent evaluation has shown that CDKN has contributed to change in policies and practices in 33 countries. We have reached a global audience through our huge output of knowledge with over one million visits to CDKN’s website (www.cdkn.org), half from developing countries.

CDKN’s ongoing research, knowledge management and technical advisory work includes:
● Providing developing countries with enhanced knowledge resources to support ambitious climate action, as well as boost climate leadership and learning on climate compatible development.
● Leading Future Climate for Africa’s Coordination, Capacity-Building and Knowledge Exchange Unit, delivered by SSN, supported by PricewaterhouseCoopers, and funded by the UK Department for International Development and the Natural Environment Research Council
● Delivering the Climate-Resilient Cities initiative in Latin America, led by FFLA and funded by IDRC
● Serving as the Co-Secretariat of the Low Emissions Development Global Partnership (LEDS GP), leading on knowledge management
● With LEDS GP, delivering the Mobilising Investment for NDC Implementation project, led by SSN and funded by the International Climate Initiative of Germany’s Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, BMU.

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