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IPCC Report - The Verdict Is Out: Methane Has A Bigger Impact On Global Warming Than Previously Thought

Following the release of the latest IPCC report, Oxfam Aotearoa reacts.

NZ relevance and what’s new:

  • No more debate – climate breakdown is happening and humans are responsible for it.
  • The verdict is out: Methane has a bigger impact on global warming than previously thought - at least 25% of today's warming is driven by methane from human actions.
  • Relevant for NZ as 42% of our emissions come from methane (mostly from agriculture)
  • There is a link between climate change and extreme weather events (e.g. droughts, flooding,) – proven beyond doubt.
  • NZ has experienced these impacts in recent months –look at the recent flooding in Westport and Nelson and tornadoes in South Auckland. In June we experienced the warmest June on record* and yet at the same time the cold blast that has come up from Antarctica, cutting power and forcing people from their seaside homes. These things all demonstrate that we are not immune to the impacts of climate breakdown.
  • Tipping point of West Antarctic Ice Sheet is really significant, could trigger massive sea level rise, containing on its own ice equivalent to 3.3m of sea level rise.
  • Based on global emissions estimate for 2019, if the world continues on the same path, 1.5 degrees of warming could happen in the early 2030’s.
  • NZ emissions went up in 2019. We are one of the worst offenders in the OECD in continuing to have rising emissions.
  • This is nothing new for our Pacific neighbours who have been experiencing extreme weather, rising sea levels, etc. for years!

 

Oxfam reaction to IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report (WGI AR6)

Responding to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Working Group I contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), Oxfam Aotearoa Executive Director Rachael Le Mesurier said:

“Amid a world in parts burning, in parts drowning and in parts starving, the IPCC today tables the most compelling wake-up call yet for global industry to switch from oil, gas, coal and intensive agriculture to renewables and sustainable food production. Governments must use law to compel this urgent change. Citizens must use their own political power and behaviors to push big polluting corporations and governments in the right direction. There is no Plan B.

“The world’s highest-level of political and scientific consensus, the IPCC, describes humanity’s slimmest chance to keep global warming to 1.5°C and avert planetary ruin. It sets the agenda for a make-or-break climate summit in Glasgow later this year. This report is yet more unimpeachable proof that climate change is happening now, and that global warming is already one of the most harmful drivers of worsening hunger and starvation, migration, poverty and inequality all over the world.

“In recent years, with 1°C of global heating, there have been deadly cyclones in the Pacific and Central America, floods here in Aotearoa and Europe, huge locust swarms across Africa, and unprecedented heatwaves and wildfires across Australia and the USall turbo-charged by climate change. Over the past 10 years, more people have been forced from their homes by extreme weather-related disasters than for any other single reason20 million a year, or one person every two seconds. The number of climate-related disasters has tripled in 30 years. Since 2000, the UN estimates that 1.23 million people have died and 4.2 billion have been affected by droughts, floods and wildfires. Kiwis are no exception.

“The richest one percent of people in the world, approximately 63 million people, are responsible for more than twice as much carbon pollution as the 3.1 billion people who make up the poorest half of humanity. The people with money and power will be able to buy some protection against the effects of global warming for longer than people without those privileges and resources but not forever. No one is safe. This report is clear that we are at the stage now when self-preservation is either a collective process or a failed one.

“Global warming is a base factor behind all of today’s huge regressions in human development. The main perpetrators of global warming that is, rich countries like New Zealand that have reaped massive wealth by burning fossil fuels and intensifying agriculture must be the ones to cut their emissions first, fastest and furthest. They must also pay their climate debt to developing countries by scaling up finance to help them adapt to the effects of climate change and transition to clean energy. Other major polluters don’t get a free pass and must also drastically cut emissions. The world has as much to gain in terms of human safety, development, opportunity and jobs by running a global economy on renewables and sustainable food production, as it has to lose in continuing dirty business-as-usual.

“Very few nations and none of the world’s wealthy nations, New Zealand included have submitted climate plans consistent with keeping warming below 2°C, let alone 1.5°C. If global emissions continue to increase, the1.5°C threshold could be breachedas early as the next decade. The IPCC report must spur governments to act together and build a fairer and greener global economy to ensure the world stays within 1.5°C of warming. They must cement this in Glasgow. Rich country governments must meet their $100 billion-a-year promise to help thepoorest countries grapplewiththe climate crisis according to Oxfam, not only have they collectively failed to deliver on their promise, but New Zealand is one of the lowest contributors per capita, far below its fair share of the collective goal.”

Notes to editor

Extreme weather-related disasters were the number one driver of internal displacement over the last decade, forcing more than 20 million people a year one person every two secondsto leave their homes. For more information, download Oxfam’s briefingForced from Home.

According to the UN, a sharp rise in the number of droughts, floods and wildfires has claimed 1.23 million lives and affected 4.2 billion people since 2000.

The richest one percent were responsible for 15 percent of emissions added to the atmosphere between 1990 and 2015 more than all the citizens of the EU and more than twice that of the poorest half of humanity (7 percent). The richest 10 percent accounted for over half (52 percent) of emissions during this time. For more information, download Oxfam’s report Confronting Carbon Inequality. New Zealanders’ carbon footprint is more than 13 times that of the global poorest 50% (9.3 vs 0.69 tCO2/year)

Oxfam’s Climate Finance Shadow Report 2020 offers an assessment of progress towards the USD100 billion goal. It considers how climate finance is being counted and spent, where it is going, how close we are to the USD100 billion goal, and what lessons need to be learned for climate finance post-2020. Oxfam Aotearoa’s Standing with the Frontlines 2020 report outlines New Zealand’s fair share of the USD 100 billion goal.

Oxfam recently reported that there has been a six-fold increase in people suffering famine-like conditions since pandemic began.

Oxfam supports a range of climate projects across the world, and works with local communities most impacted by the climate crisis. For example, we are helping rural farming communities in Timor-Leste earn a decent income, pioneering a cash transfer program in Vanuatu that uses blockchain to provide quick and targeted support to households worst hit by cyclones, and connecting civil society organisations in Solomon Islands to ensure that climate adaptation funds reach those who need it most.

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