Saturday, June 22, 2024

Global leaders urged to shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy for climate resilience

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BATHINDA: A new report by international development charity Christian Aid has warned the world leaders must stop all fossil fuel expansion of coal, oil and gas and switch to investing in renewable energy and climate resilience, or the economic and human cost of extreme weather will worsen dramatically.
According to the report, the extreme weather has caused a minimum of $41 billion in damage in the six months since Cop28, the last major climate conference.Not enough progress has been made since Cop28 in the United Arab Emirates to move away from fossil fuels or to support lower-income countries to cope with climate disasters.
As the second week of climate talks in Bonn begins, these numbers show that the costs of the climate crisis are already here. Negotiators in Bonn are working to establish a “Loss and Damage Fund”, to try and unblock financial flows to lower-income countries hit by extreme weather. This funding was a major sticking point at Cop28, with wealthier nations slow to agree to the investments needed.
The scale of the damage due to fossil fueled floods and heat waves show that the climate crisis is already here and worsening and the rich nations must step up and pay their fair share into the Loss and Damage Fund and make sure this finance is immediately available.
“Rich countries, responsible for the lion’s share of the greenhouse gases that are heating the atmosphere and fueling extreme events, should recognise their historic responsibility and step up their funding to the Loss and Damage Fund to help other countries cope and recover from extreme weather,” says Christian Aid in the report.
The $41 billion in damage is an underestimate according to the charity. Only insured losses are typically reported, and many of the worst disasters have hit countries where few people or businesses have insurance. The human cost of disasters is also missed in these figures, from those who lost their lives to those whose homes are destroyed, or who lose out on work or education.
The report shines a spotlight on four extreme weather events that have happened since the last major international climate talks, all four of which have been scientifically linked to climate change.
Floods in Brazil which killed at least 169 people and did at least $7 billion damage to the economy were made twice as likely by climate change. In south and southwest Asia, flooding which killed at least 214 people and did $850 million in insured damages in the UAE alone was also made more likely by climate change. Simultaneous heat waves in west, south, and southeast Asia killed over 1,500 people in Myanmar alone, with heat deaths notoriously under-reported. The heatwave is expected to slow growth and increase inflation, and in southeast Asia it would have been completely impossible without climate change while in south and west Asia it was made five and 45 times more likely, respectively, and also hotter. Flooding from cyclones in east Africa killed 559 people and was made about twice as likely and also more intense by climate change.
The report explains how climate change is already affecting life at all scales. These floods and heat waves disrupted children’s education, making it harder for many to break out of poverty. They did massive damage to crops and livestock, fueling food insecurity in some places and price inflation in others. Extreme heat and floods compounded existing crises for refugees and those living with conflict, and even impacted the world’s biggest democratic occasion as many Indians struggled to vote in dangerous temperatures.
“We cannot heal the burns caused by the climate crisis while we are still throwing fossil fuels on the fire”, said Mariana Paoli, Christian Aid’s Global Advocacy Lead from Brazil. “We need rich countries who are largely responsible for causing the climate crisis to massively scale up funding for action on climate change. They need to show real creativity and political will, and tax polluters and the super-rich in order to finance real climate action. We need to cancel historic debt owed to rich countries by poor ones, and instead make sure that that money is used to improve climate equality, to help everyone to be safer from climate disasters.”
Nushrat Chowdhury, Climate Justice Advisor at Christian Aid in Bangladesh, said: “Last week Bangladesh was struck by Cyclone Remal, killing people and wrecking livelihoods. More than 150,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed. This is the kind of climate chaos we’ve been experiencing this year, and I worry it will only get worse until the world begins to cut its carbon emissions”.





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