Currently in India and Pakistan, a record heat wave is impacting the daily lives of nearly a billion people. The scorching temperatures are damaging wheat crops, preventing many workers from working outdoors, and leaving people vulnerable to serious health problems and even death.
Our home countries of Kenya and Bangladesh are also suffering: northern Kenya is facing a prolonged drought that puts rural communities at increased risk of famine and last year torrential rains left a quarter of Bangladesh under water and destroying the homes of millions of people. These are some of the latest examples of how the 3.6 billion people in developing countries are bearing the brunt of the climate crisis, and a glimpse of what the “new normal” will look like if the global community doesn’t. does not immediately intensify its climate action.
Given their power, wealth and responsibility for the climate crisis, rich countries in North America and Europe have a particular responsibility to help vulnerable countries overcome climate impacts – and this has not never been so urgent. Despite the negligible contribution that the most vulnerable countries have made to climate change, these countries are the most ambitious to tackle it – but they cannot tackle this crisis alone. Not only is this the moral thing to do, but it will also help minimize future challenges and costs, such as disaster recovery efforts and the migration of climate refugees forced from their home countries as ‘they are becoming more and more uninhabitable.
The decisions adopted at the UN COP26 climate negotiations last year fell far short of the expectations of vulnerable developing countries. We can’t wait any longer to act.
This week, the ACT2025 consortium (Allied for Climate Transformation by 2025), a coalition amplifying the voices of vulnerable countries in climate negotiations, announced a call to action to make progress at the COP27 conference in Egypt in November.
First, countries – especially G7 and G20 countries – must commit to further emissions reductions to maintain the goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit ) – the threshold that scientists believe prevents the most dangerous climate impacts – within reach. More ambitious climate pledges have recently helped the world close the warming gap from a predicted 4 degrees C (7.2 degrees F) to now 2.1 degrees C (3.8 degrees F). However, given that every fraction of a degree of warming will make a huge difference in the magnitude of climate impacts and their effects on the lives of the most vulnerable, the progress made so far is not enough.
Second, developed countries must provide adequate funding to help developing countries cope with climate change – and ensure that this funding will benefit the most vulnerable by empowering communities to seek the adaptation solutions they need. need. This includes delivering $600 billion by 2025, a goal developed countries are not yet on track to meet.
Third, countries need to implement stronger adaptation actions, including reaching agreement on a global adaptation goal and how to track progress, as well as providing adequate and quality financing to support adaptation. adaptation in the field. Adaptation initiatives range from restoring coastal ecosystems that buffer storms to growing drought-tolerant crops. To be successful, governments will need to ensure that local communities have decision-making power over adaptation efforts.
Fourth, developed countries must commit to providing funding specifically for loss and damage that is too extreme for countries and communities to adapt to. Although these impacts are global in nature, they hit the most vulnerable the hardest, such as the disappearance of low-lying islands due to sea level rise, farmers no longer being able to sustain crops due to extreme heat or communities forced to abandon their ancestral lands which can no longer bear them. This injustice must be corrected, but so far the only governments to offer funds to help victims of climate-related loss and damage have been Scotland and the province of Wallonia in Belgium – both contributions are welcome, but the richer developed countries must now take the lead. .
And finally, countries that have ratified the Paris Agreement must implement rules that will hold countries and non-state actors accountable for their commitments. This includes ensuring that governments actually have the means to achieve the goals they have set themselves and that climate progress is measured accurately and transparently.
Shortly after COP27, we will be quarter past the decade that scientists say will be critical in determining the future of life on this planet. What will the world have to show for that? Climate change is upon us and vulnerable countries have no time to lose. The world must all come together, all together, to deal quickly and fairly with this global crisis.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of Al Jazeera.