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Islamic relief staff sat in the middle of an empty field in puntland usgure village that has been affected by drought

Climate breakdown is devastating and desperate, and we are all responsible

Islamic Relief’s Senior Policy Advisor on poverty reduction, Jamie Williams, reflects on the news of an estimated 43 million people currently in need of emergency  assistance across Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia and our responsibility for their plight.

Imagine a situation where people in the Horn of Africa, devastated by a prolonged drought, desperately look up to the sky and seek divine intervention. Yet a recent scientific report now offers the strongest evidence that their suffering is directly a result of human activity.

It is becoming increasingly evident that we are witnessing a disturbing pattern of extreme weather events such as storms, droughts, and scorching heatwaves that wreak havoc on nature, economies, and human lives.

Anyone who cares to pay attention can see that our climate is deteriorating rapidly.

The level of global heat we are currently experiencing is unprecedented in the past 120,000 years. We are seeing new records set for the hottest days, weeks, and months on average worldwide, while ocean temperatures soar, and sea ice levels are the lowest ever.

There is no doubt that this rapid warming is primarily caused by the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere from our reliance on fossil fuels.

Humanitarian efforts are vital but more needed to prevent catastrophe

In the face of the terrible drought in East Africa, Islamic Relief has been working tirelessly to support people who lack basic necessities like food and water. But our commitment extends beyond immediate humanitarian efforts, crucial as these are.

We recognise that the root causes of this suffering lie in global heating, driven by human activities and our addiction to fossil fuels, particularly in wealthier nations.

To address this crisis, Islamic Relief is calling for an end to fossil fuel subsidies and a swift, fair, and equitable transition away from existing infrastructure. We urge international cooperation to significantly increase financial and technological support to ensure widespread access to renewable energy.

It is crucial that we do not fall for false solutions such as offsets, carbon capture and storage, or geo-engineering, which only distract us from the real issues at hand.

Accountability and action needed to prevent climate catastrophe

Instead, we must hold polluters accountable for the damage they have caused. It is the responsibility of coal, oil, and gas corporations to provide reparations for the losses and damages inflicted by climate change, and to support local rehabilitation, remediation, and transition efforts. We cannot allow these corporations to dictate the rules of climate action, exert undue influence over climate talks, or undermine the global response to climate change.

The time has come for us to acknowledge our role in climate breakdown and take decisive action. By transitioning away from fossil fuels, supporting renewable energy, and holding polluting corporations accountable, we can pave the way for a sustainable and resilient future for all.

Donate to Islamic Relief now to support our work to assist communities already suffering amid the climate breakdown. With your support we can provide lifesaving aid, help communities become more resilient, and campaign for crucial action to tackle the causes and end greenhouse gas emissions.

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