Climate change is devastating the Global South

Aljazeera 

Right now in India and Pakistan, a record-breaking heatwave is impacting the daily lives of nearly a billion people. Scorching temperatures are damaging wheat harvests, preventing many labourers from working outdoors, and making people vulnerable to serious health issues and even death.

Our native countries of Kenya and Bangladesh are suffering too: Northern Kenya is facing a prolonged drought that is putting rural communities at greater risk of starvation and last year, torrential rains left one-quarter of Bangladesh under water and destroyed the homes of millions. 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 preview of what the “new normal” will look like if the global community doesn’t immediately step up its climate action.

Given their power, wealth, and responsibility for the climate crisis, the onus is particularly on rich countries in North America and Europe to help vulnerable countries weather climate impacts – and it has never been more urgent. Despite the negligible contribution that most vulnerable countries have made to cause climate change, these countries are the most ambitious in tackling it – but they cannot fight this crisis on their own. Not only is this the moral thing to do, but it will also help minimise the challenges and costs down the road, such as disaster recovery efforts and the migration of climate refugees forced to leave their homelands as they become increasingly uninhabitable.

The decisions adopted at the UN’s 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 the climate negotiations, announced a call to action for progress at the COP27 conference in Egypt this November.

First, countries – especially G7 and G20 countries – must commit to further reducing emissions to keep the goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees C (34.7 degrees Fahrenheit) – the threshold scientists believe will prevent the most dangerous climate impacts – within reach. More ambitious climate pledges have lately helped the world close the warming gap from a predicted 4 degrees C (39.2 degrees F) to now 2.1 degrees C (35.8 degrees F). However, since every fraction of a degree of warming will make an enormous difference in the scale of climate impacts and their effect on the lives of the most vulnerable, the progress made so far is not enough…

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