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Shameful lack of leadership and ambition, Islamic Relief Worldwide reacts to COP24

Jamie Williams, a Senior Policy Advisor for Islamic Relief Worldwide, said: 

The science tells us that we have a maximum of twelve years to make the changes necessary to stop catastrophic global warming, and we must start now. At the CoP, governments needed to renew and increase their commitments and agree to rules which make sure that they meet them.

Countries at CoP 24 had the job of setting out the Rule Book for the legally-binding Paris Agreement and the next steps to transformative change. They finally agreed to core elements of the rulebook, some guidelines could have been clearer and other details remain unresolved, but countries now have a basis for implementing and reporting on their climate plans. Countries also agreed to regularly take stock of collective progress on curbing emissions, adapting to impacts, increasing and aligning investments, and addressing loss and damage.

But what is missing is ambition. There was a shameful lack of leadership of those with the responsibility and power to prevent terrifying suffering from climate change. This meeting needed far stronger commitments to drive down emissions. Some funding to ensure developing countries’ climate solutions and adaption to the increasingly extreme impacts from a warming world were pledged, but the meeting offered little in how the $100 billion goal by 2020 will be met, or how the overall finance target for post-2025 will be agreed.

Countries have promised to submit by 2020 their national climate commitments, and delegates must now return to their capitals and begin domestic processes to enhance ambition. Government leaders must come prepared to the UN Secretary General’s Summit in September 2019 with higher climate action targets and firm commitments to offer support to developing countries. The fossil fuel industry must not be allowed as it has in Poland, to cast its dark shadow of misinformation and obstruction at the CoP25 in Chile next year.

Climate change is an ethical issue of social justice, trust, and compassion. In the light of scientific, economic and eyewitness evidence, all people of faith and people of conscience have a moral obligation to act now to avoid complete catastrophe. Bold action is needed urgently.

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