Oxfam reaction to the IPCC’s Working Group III report on climate change mitigation

Published: 4th April 2022

Responding to the publication today of the IPCC’s Working Group III report on climate change mitigation, Oxfam’s Climate Policy Lead Nafkote Dabi said: 

“This IPCC report pulls no punches. The bleak and brutal truth about global warming is this: barring action on a sweeping scale, humanity faces worsening hunger, disease, economic collapse, mass migration of people and unbearable heat. It’s not about taking our foot off the accelerator anymore —it’s about slamming on the brakes. A warming planet is humanity’s biggest emergency.

“No amount of adaptation can compensate for the terrible consequences of failing to hit the Paris goal of limiting warming to 1.5°C. This is a survival target and it remains within our grasp, but just barely. After a dip in 2020, carbon emissions that fuel climate change have bounced back to pre-pandemic levels. We need extraordinary cuts in the use of fossil fuels to meet our emissions targets, and that entails a dramatic shift towards sustainable renewable energy. The recent push to increase production of oil, gas and coal and backtrack on climate measures because of the crisis in Ukraine —and even to delay net-zero— is shortsighted folly. 

“Climate change is causing extreme weather disasters now and their costs are piling up. But these costs do not hit everyone equally. People living in poverty are suffering first and worst. Farmers in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia have lost crops and entire herds of livestock to an exceptionally long and severe drought. Millions of people in East Africa are now on the brink of a hunger catastrophe. Meanwhile the richest people who have massive carbon footprints are turning up the air-conditioning on their mega yachts.

“The other clear message from this report is that every single action to cut emissions counts and every fraction of a degree matters. The world is currently heading for 2.7°C of warming under current plans. That is a death sentence for climate-vulnerable countries like Vanuatu and Bangladesh. Wealthy countries are disproportionately responsible for the climate crisis and they have the double responsibility to both cut emissions at home and to support developing countries with the costs of replanting crops and rebuilding homes after storms, and moving from dirty energy forms to cleaner, lower-carbon ones.

“This monumental climate report is distressing but it is not surprising. Scientists and the IPCC have been warning governments of this danger for decades. Our future lies in the decisions we make today. We cannot tackle climate change later. We must clamp down on emissions now or face more catastrophic climate disasters, season after season.”

Notes to editors

Photographs and video from East Africa are available. As many as 28 million people across East Africa at risk of extreme hunger.

The economies of the G7 nations could see an average loss of 8.5 percent annually by 2050 ―equivalent to $4.8 trillion― if leaders do not take more ambitious action to tackle climate change. For low-income countries, the consequences of climate change could be much greater.

Canada says it could increase oil and gas exports this year by up to 300,000 barrels per day in response to the crisis in Ukraine, while Italy could reopen shuttered coal plants and Germany could create new coal reserves for electricity. The US administration is asking domestic oil and gas producers to increase production, and Norway plans to provide new licenses for gas and oil exploration in the Arctic. In the UK, Boris Johnson’s net-zero agenda is facing opposition. 

Climate pledges for 2030, including new or updated NDCs and other 2030 commitments, reduce projected 2030 emissions by only 7.5 percent —far short of the 30 percent needed to keep the global average temperature rise to 2°C and 55 percent required for 1.5°C. 

The richest one percent were responsible for 15 percent of emissions added to the atmosphere between 1990 and 2015 ―more than all the citizens of the EU and more than twice that of the poorest half of humanity (7 percent). The richest 10 percent accounted for over half (52 percent) of emissions during this time. For more information, download Oxfam’s report "Confronting Carbon Inequality".

According to Boat International, the superyacht industry has largely shrugged off the COVID-19 pandemic to record a third year of consistent order book growth. The 2022 Global Order Book records 1,024 projects in build or on order, a rise of 24.7 percent on last year’s 821.

As of 2015, countries in the Global North were responsible for 92 percent of excess carbon emissions and 92 percent of climate breakdown. By contrast, most countries in the Global South were within their boundary fair shares. 

The carbon footprints of the richest 1 percent of people on Earth is set to be 30 times greater than the level compatible with the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement in 2030. Download "Carbon Inequality in 2030" for more information.

Contact information

Annie Thériault in Peru | annie.theriault@oxfam.org | +51 936 307 990
Matt Grainger in the UK | matt.grainger@oxfam.org | +004-07730680837

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