Climate change is a global problem that requires cooperation between all nations. That’s why today more than 30 newspapers and media organisations in more than 20 countries have taken a common view about what needs to be done. Time is running out. Rather than getting out of fossil fuels and into clean energy, many wealthy nations are reinvesting in oil and gas, failing to cut emissions fast enough and haggling over the aid they are prepared to send to poor countries. All this while the planet hurtles towards the point of no return – where climate chaos becomes irreversible.
Since the Cop26 UN climate summit in Glasgow 12 months ago, countries have only promised to do one-fiftieth of what is needed to stay on track to keep temperatures within 1.5C of pre-industrial levels. No continent has avoided extreme weather disasters this year – from floods in Pakistan to heatwaves in Europe, and from forest fires in Australia to hurricanes in the US. Given that these came about from elevated temperatures of about 1.1C, the world can expect far worse to come.
As many nations seek to reduce their reliance on Russia, the world is experiencing a “gold rush” for new fossil fuel projects. These are cast as temporary supply measures, but they risk locking the planet into irreversible damage. All this underlines that humanity has to end its addiction to fossil fuels. If renewable energy was the norm there would be no climate emergency.
The world’s poorest people will bear the brunt of the destruction wreaked by drought, melting ice sheets and crop failures. To shield these groups from the loss of life and livelihoods will require money. Developing countries, says one influential report, need $2tn annually to cut their greenhouse gas emissions and cope with climate breakdown.
Rich countries account for just one in eight people in the world today but are responsible for half of greenhouse gases. These nations have a clear moral responsibility to help. Developing nations should be given enough cash to address the dangerous conditions they did little to create – especially as a global recession looms.
Read More: The Guardian view on Cop27: this is no time for apathy or complacency | Editorial