International aid organisation CARE Australia has warned there is no time to lose in dealing with climate change, which is already undermining and reversing efforts to tackle poverty.
Responding to the first part of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, CARE Australia’s climate change advisor Edward Boydell said it was clearer than ever that climate change is being caused by man-made greenhouse gas emissions, which are having a serious impact on the planet and its people.
‘As a global organisation working to tackle poverty in some of the world’s poorest places, CARE has long recognised and responded to the serious threat posed by climate change, which is now one of the greatest challenges to achieving poverty reduction,’ Mr Boydell said.
‘The risks of inaction to tackle its causes and effects are too great to ignore.’
The IPCC Physical Science report shows that climate change is happening now. The global average temperature has increased by 0.89 degrees Celsius since 1901. Sea levels are rising, oceans are warming and acidifying, rainfall patterns are changing, and glaciers and Arctic sea ice are in decline.
Mr Boydell said tackling global warming was a shared global responsibility and in Australia’s national interest.
‘Avoiding the worst impacts of climate change means doing everything we can to keep global warming to less than 2°C above pre-industrial levels. The Abbott government, and the previous Rudd and Gillard governments, all share this commitment.
‘As one of the most prosperous countries in the world, Australia has the resources and capacity to take action to effect an urgent shift towards renewable and more efficient energy sources. We also need to ramp up support to those most affected in our region, to help them adapt to current and future climate change impacts.
‘Critically, the vast majority of people most affected by climate change are the world’s poorest, who have little responsibility for the greenhouse gas emissions that drive climate change. The people we work with are already living with the effects of climate change, which are unpredictable and often extreme.
‘In Timor-Leste, farmers are seeing more rain concentrated into fewer months, which means more intense periods of precipitation followed by a longer dry season. In Vietnam, rural poor communities are facing challenges including intense floods, unpredictable rainfall and severe and prolonged cold.’
See more www.care.org.au/climate-change