“It’s the global economy, stupid”: Campaigners react to IPCC climate report
IPCC report

“It’s the global economy, stupid”: Campaigners react to IPCC climate report

Date: 9 August 2021
Campaigns: Climate

Radical economic overhaul needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate chaos

Today saw the publication of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report on the impacts of climate change.

The report clearly demonstrates that efforts to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, a key target of the Paris Agreement, will fail unless urgent and drastic action is taken this decade to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The IPCC also says that many impacts of climate change are happening faster than expected and will be irreversible, but rapid action can prevent the most catastrophic consequences of global warming.

Responding to the report, Global Justice Now’s Head of Policy Dorothy Guerrero said:

The IPCC report tells us that devastating climate damage is already locked in. But if we want to prevent the catastrophic consequences, we need to talk about what is hurtling us towards these nightmare scenarios; it’s the global economy, stupid.

Politicians need to pull their heads from the sand. An extreme free market, dominated by big business, fuelled by extraction and colonial exploitation has caused this crisis. Doubling down on this system will not save us.

We need a radical economic overhaul to rapidly drive down emissions far sooner than the current 2050 target. That must be paid for by the wealthiest who have benefited the most from this crisis, ensuring a just transition for the communities on the frontline.”

So what do we do?

The report shows that swift action is needed to drastically transition away from fossil fuels in this decade, including a rapid phase out of coal power, in order to reduce carbon emissions.

But this is only part of the story for achieving climate justice. The more fundamental problem is in rewriting the rules of our global economic system in order to hold major polluters to account, reduce the damaging impact of trade and fossil fuel consumpton, and ensure that global south governments have the necessary funds to invest in adaptation and mitigation.

Global Justice Now is calling on rich countries’ governments to take 5 key actions for climate justice

  1. Support legal mechanisms to hold transnational corporations to account for undermining human rights and fuelling climate change
  2. Rewrite global trade rules to reverse deregulation, protect the environment and remove the threat of corporate litigation
  3. Cancel global south debt to free up funds for governments to invest in mitigation and adaptation
  4. End all public finance and subsidies for fossil fuels and instead fund a just transition to renewable energy systems
  5. Agree a new climate finance deal at COP26 with the target of providing the global south with $400 billion a year in grant-based climate finance

Photo: Oil refinery. Credit: Glenn Euloth/Flickr.