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Counting the cost 2020: a year of climate breakdown

Identifying 15 of the most destructive climate disasters of the year.

Whose Green Recovery

A report outlining what a global green recovery would look like.

Black Lives Matter Everywhere

Apart from the Covid-19 pandemic, the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement has been one of the defining themes of 2020. Sparked by the death of George Floyd and other examples of police brutality in the United States, it quickly spread to include a wider debate about racial inequalities around the world. Climate change, although something which will affect us all, is a deeply racialised phenomenon. Black and brown people in the poorest countries face the brunt of the impacts, caused in large part by fossil fuel burning in rich, majority-White nations. But this inequality is often overlooked because climate change is associated with science and the language used to describe it is often technical jargon relating to atmospheric carbon atoms and global temperature readings. The cold neutrality of climate science obscures the fact that the drivers and impacts of the climate emergency are personal and societal, and tied to political decisions with clear racial implications. People in the, as-yet, more sheltered corners of the global North are now starting to experience the force of the climate crisis, but across the global South it is something they have already been feeling the effects of for years. Be they extreme weather events in Latin America, droughts in East Africa, floods in Bangladesh or sea level rise threatening the existence of Pacific Islands, climate change is not just a future threat but a present reality. Climate change and its disproportionate effects on those that have done the least to cause it has been known about for decades. And yet emissions continue to rise. If poor political decisions and unjust policies have helped to cause the climate crisis, then it’s equally the case that the right policies and decisions have an essential role to play in addressing the problem and putting the world on a path to climate justice. We’re beginning to see such movement, although not nearly fast enough. Politicians around the world have claimed to be moved by racial injustice. Making rapid and far reaching climate action a priority would be a good start in ensuring black lives matter everywhere.

UK Climate Fair Share

This technical paper describes the calculations behind an infographic (2020) that describes the UK's 'Fair Share' of emissions reduction to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement. It includes  a memo provided by the Climate Equity Reference Project, which carried out the fair shares analysis based on the Climate Equity Reference Framework. The memo describes the global mitigation pathway and the effort sharing framework used, and shows results for the UK. It also describes the assumptions and judgements taken by the UK groups that jointly produced the infographic, for making conclusions about  financial resources required for the UK to implement its fair share.    

Christian Aid expectations for COP25

Christian Aid's key asks for the COP25 climate conference in Madrid, Spain, December 2019. The past 18 months have seen a flurry of new scientific information on the state of the climate. Severe climate impacts are already being experienced, particularly by the poorest and most vulnerable. Communities and ecosystems are already suffering devastation even at the current 1ºC of warming. The fires in the Amazon, Congo and California, the South Asian floods, and other extreme weather events, like cyclones Idai and Fani, point to a climate system already in crisis. The world is in a state of climate emergency. The climate emergency is real and efforts to take action now must be a priority. We call on governments to make a step change in their climate ambition and in the support given to help developing countries achieve it. Key asks Mitigation All countries to recognise the scale of the climate challenge and the need for a fair global effort to achieve the Paris 1.5ºC goal. The Conference of Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change should deliver a mandate for all countries to enhance the mitigation part of their Nationally-determined contributions (NDCs) in line with the 1.5ºC goal. The common time frame should be in five-year cycles. Long-term strategies should include landscape analyses to plan for nature-based solutions, to increase resilience, and to store and sequester carbon. Finance Adequate climate finance is a prerequisite to greater ambition in poor countries. Developed countries need to step up in providing adequate public finance to both help build resilience, but also to allow clean development and fulfillment – and exceedance - of the conditional parts of the NDCs. Loss and damage The Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage (WIM) should put greater focus on averting loss and damage than on post-event addressing of it. New, additional and adequate sources of climate finance are needed to enhance action. The potential of nature-based solutions for resilience should be given greater consideration and implementation priority. Adaptation Developing countries should be supported to complete and implement country-driven, gender-responsive, participatory and transparent adaptation plans. The overall financial flows, as well as the proportion of finance for adaptation need to be increased to allow vulnerable people, communities and ecosystems to adapt to the changing climate. Article 6 Rather than rely on ‘flexibility’ mechanisms, countries should instead focus on making transformational changes to their economies. Kyoto credits should play no role in any Paris mechanisms. Article 6 provisions should be adopted as a package. The Article 6 mechanisms should explicitly recognise the non-fungibility of fossil and biological carbon and prevent trade between them. Strong social and environmental safeguards are essential to be agreed before use of flexibility mechanisms. Nature-based solutions COP should recognise the potential co-benefits of nature-based solutions, as detailed in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) reports, and agree means to promote their implementation Nature-based solutions for mitigation should not be seen as an alternative to ending the use of fossil fuels. It should be seen as an additional and precautionary approach, with other co-benefits, including for resilience. Appropriate links with the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)’s provisions should be made, and coherent implementation encouraged. Gender and Climate The revision must ensure that gender balance approaches are adopted under all the bodies of the convention. Download the full briefing here

An economy of life briefing

An economy of life: How transforming the economy can tackle inequalities, bring climate justice and build a sustainable future Our vision is that global institutions genuinely represent and are accountable to the interests of everyone, not just the rich and powerful. This means confronting the institutional structures, including the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), cultural norms and power imbalances that work together to maintain the status quo. We need to look for new expressions of economic life. Measures of economic growth overlook human and environmental wellbeing. It is time re-evaluate. This briefing challenges the World Bank and IMF to be part of this change and to become of a progressive and positive force in an economic future that leaves no one behind and is beneficial for nature and the climate.

World in disunion: Climate change and the Rugby World Cup

  The effects of climate change are being felt around the world and the Pacific islands are among the worst affected. But unless greenhouse gas emissions fall, the consequences in the coming decades will be far worse than anything seen so far. Fiji, Samoa and Tonga face an onslaught as the world warms. Hotter and more acidic oceans, due to higher levels of carbon dioxide, kill coral reefs upon which fish populations depend, while rising sea levels will swallow land, increase flooding and salinate water supplies. The region is also likely to experience more category 3 to 5 storms, such as last year’s Cyclone Gita which was the strongest tropical cyclone to hit Tonga since records began. Together these climate change impacts threaten to undermine the islands’ economies, deter tourists, making life increasingly tough and driving young people away, putting strain on the countries’ ability to field competitive rugby teams. Researchers warn of mass migration from the islands as a result of climate change in the coming decades. Alongside the Pacific island countries at the Rugby World Cup are some of the countries most responsible for the climate crisis. Major greenhouse gas polluters like the US, Australia, the hosts Japan, Russia, Canada, South Africa and the European nations will play at the tournament, to the tune of a world in union. But few, if any, of the most polluting competitors have credible plans to cut their emissions to safe levels - suggesting the World Cup’s theme song is just an empty promise. It is not too late to prevent dangerous climate change and to save the future for the Pacific islands, and the rest of the world. But it requires immediate action to cut emissions.

Hunger Strike: The climate and food vulnerability index

The Climate and Food Vulnerability Index shows how the countries most impacted by food insecurity are the least responsible for the climate change which drives it.   The top 10 most insecure countries combined generate just 0.08% of global CO2 emissions. Burundi is both the most food insecure country in the world and has the smallest carbon footprint per person.

Counting the cost: A year of climate breakdown

2018 was the fourth-hottest year on record. Extreme weather hit every populated continent in 2018. The economic cost ran high – into the billions – but the human cost was higher: injury, death and displacement. This report looks at 10 of the most destructive weather events of 2018, across countries rich and poor, and their devastating consequences.

COP24 briefing paper: progress on Paris in Katowice

COP24 represents a key milestone to help put the world on track to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. It needs to lead a process to deliver a balanced, comprehensive, robust and ambitious set of implementation guidelines.

Climate inequality in the Commonwealth: a call for urgent action

This report ranks the climate pledges of the 53 Commonwealth countries and shows that its richer members, including Australia, Canada and the UK, are failing to do their fair share to prevent climate change, while poorer nations are working much harder. Our analysis exposes the climate inequality at the heart of the Commonwealth.  

Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Fire (Part 1)

In this policy briefing, Christian Aid examines the links between climate change and conflict, and begins to elaborate on its argument that the best form of climate security is climate justice.

Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Fire (Part 2)

A debilitating drought may bring riots and social unrest in one country, but in a neighbouring country, the same problem may be dealt with by citizen mobilisation towards collective action solutions. To a large extent, governance capacity and community resilience explains the nature and structure of the response. In this report, three case studies – from Angola, Mali, and Honduras – of actual responses to climate change and conflict are presented.

Virtuous Circle: scaling up investment in low carbon energy

This report demonstrates that the time for rapid deployment of renewable energy technologies is now. It shows that governments, policy makers and investors should realise that clean energy and clean energy investments are reliable, cost effective and scalable, and a solution for delivering clean and sustainable energy for all.

COP 23: Focus on the most vulnerable, focus on 'loss and damage'

A briefing outlining what Christian Aid are calling for at the United Nations climate change conference (COP23) in November 2017 in Bonn, Germany. What we're calling for at COP23 In 2013, world governments agreed to address the inevitable impacts of climate change that sufficient mitigation or adaptation have not prevented – otherwise known as ‘loss and damage’. Although this promise was reinforced in the 2015 Paris Agreement, they have yet to provide any international finance for this. Christian Aid and ACT Alliance are calling for COP23 to bring the reality of climate impacts into the heart of the climate negotiations and make progress on this crucial issue, to ensure vulnerable communities and countries have the resources to prevent, and respond to loss and damage from climate change.

Maximising the benefits of the global phase-down of hydrofluorocarbons

This paper, published for the 30th Anniversary of the Montreal Protocol, discusses what is at stake in the implementation of the HFCs phase-down and related activities. It describes a suite of measures that, if taken together, will maximise the benefits of the phase-down of HFC refrigerants with high global warming potential, both in terms of the greenhouse gas emissions, and additional, sustainable development co-benefits. Summary The proliferation of household air conditioners and refrigerators across the world, including the rapid growth expected in developing countries, gives us an opportunity, right now, to ensure that the appliances we choose have minimum impact on the global climate and maximise sustainable development.  Last year’s hard-won Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol ensured a commitment to remove HFC refrigerants with high global warming potential, through a global phase-down. Maximising the climate change and related benefits of this phase-down will depend on three elements coming together:  countries choosing refrigerants with the lowest global warming potentials  ensuring promotion of the most energy efficient cooling technologies  a rapid move to renewable energy to power these appliances. The right combination of these three elements will ensure that greenhouse gas emissions over the lifetime of each appliance are minimised.   Minimising greenhouse gas emissions Achieving each of these elements will require a range of actions, including addressing financing and cost issues, supporting capacity building and training, developing energy infrastructure plans and updating safety and energy efficiency standards. These diverse actions will need to be coordinated strategically, often across a number of distinct but critical venues, including the Montreal Protocol, the UNFCCC, various regional groups and domestic policy-making.  As we implement both the Montreal Protocol Kigali Amendment and the Paris Agreement, making the right coordinated and complementary decisions across these issues and venues will be essential to deliver a safe world with below 1.5C of global warming.

The Big Shift Global Toolkit

A practical toolkit, packed with information and ideas for people in organisations worldwide to plan how to bring about change nationally, regionally and globally in support of the big shift.