As Fiji reels from the strongest storm ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere, leaders from across the globe are faced with yet another rallying cry on the urgency of taking climate action.
Coming just two months before the UN’s signing ceremony of the Paris Agreement, and just days after Fiji became the first in the world to formally adopt the agreement, the category five Cyclone Winston brought winds of over 320km/h and waves of up to 12 metres, and left almost 30 dead, with 8,500 more still sheltering in evacuation centres as the island nation faces a month-long state of emergency.
55 countries – representing 55 per cent of global emissions – need to ratify the Paris agreement for it formally take effect and this latest tragedy is a stark reminder of why leaders must follow in the Fiji’s footsteps, urgently adopt the deal and turn their national pledges into definitive actions.
- Climate change hits vulnerable communities hardest, but its impacts know no national borders. While Fiji has become the latest country to fall victim to a freak weather event, no continent is left untouched by floods, storms, droughts and heatwaves. Scientists warn the chances of such events are higher than ever before, bringing an even bigger toll on people and communities, with the poorest and most vulnerable bearing the brunt.
- Ending fossil fuels is vital to limit warming and protect communities. If the world is to have a chance of holding warming below the 2DegC temperature limit, or the 1.5DegC limit supported by governments in Paris the vast majority of fossil fuels will need to be left in the ground. Moving to renewable energy will slash emissions and protect communities from the ravages of climate change while alsoimproving health and creating jobs.
- Vulnerable countries are leading the Paris charge; but this global problem needs everyone onboard. Comprising a long-term goal to bring emissions down to zero, the Paris Agreement is a clear acknowledgement by all nations of the huge and growing threat of climate change. The sooner governments follow Fiji and ratify the Paris deal, the sooner they will move from pledges into “implementation and action,” and embark upon their collective abandonment of fossil fuels in favour of a 100 per cent renewable future.