Seychelles endorses findings of IPCC report on risks of climate change
The Republic of Seychelles endorses the findings of the Working Group II report, published this week by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) entitled ‘Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability.’
After several days of late-night wrangling, more than one hundred governments unanimously approved the 49-page report summary, which is aimed at world political leaders. It contains the word “risk” an average of more than five times per page.
Mr Wills Agricole, Principal Secretary for Environment and Energy, represented the Republic Seychelles. He noted that “latest approved science points to the extreme risks posed by climate change, as well as the many opportunities to put the world on a safer and more resilient path. Changes are occurring rapidly, and they are sort of building up that risk. Nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change, which will inevitably lead to war, famine and extreme weather,” he concluded.
The group, along with Professor Rolph Payet, Minister for Environment and Energy, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for their efforts to clarify the risks of climate change. The new report also warns that the world is close to missing a chance to limit the global warming that has occurred since the Industrial Revolution. World leaders had previously agreed on a target of limiting warming to two degrees Celsius. Beyond that point, “impacts will begin to be unacceptably severe,”
The IPCC report’s premise is that governments need to invest more in planning for the impacts of climate change. Communities that are already marginalised, including the urban poor, are most at risk. Some communities should be moved to less risky areas, and support services need to be bolstered. Mr Agricole further stated “We need more fast-acting institutions and early-warning systems. We are already committed to significant warming, so adaptation is a great necessity.”
The reports conclusions are a stark reminder that the world and in particular coastal and ‘small island states’ are in peril. When considering some of the risks as highlighted by the report we appreciate the magnitude of the problem at hand. To mention a few of the issues;
- Risk of death, injury, ill-health, or disrupted livelihoods in low-lying coastal zones and small island developing states and other small islands, due to storm surges, coastal flooding, and sea-level rise
- Risk of loss of terrestrial and inland water ecosystems, biodiversity, and the ecosystem goods, functions, and services they provide for livelihoods.
- Risk of loss of marine and coastal ecosystems, biodiversity, and the ecosystem goods, functions, and services they provide for coastal livelihoods, especially for fishing communities in the tropics and the Arctic.
- Risk of loss of rural livelihoods and income due to insufficient access to drinking and irrigation water and reduced agricultural productivity, particularly for farmers and pastoralists with minimal capital in semi-arid regions.
- Risk of severe ill-health and disrupted livelihoods for large urban populations due to inland flooding in some regions.
More than most the Republic of Seychelles feels the adverse effects of climate change. Seychelles lives the shocks associated with climate change, which has regrettably become synonymous with life as inhabitants of small island states.
Seychelles cannot condone inaction on climate change,as certain nations continuously promulgate the myth that no linkages exists between naturally occurring disasters and climate change in the face of a growing body of work giving seemingly irrefutable ‘scientific’ evidence of the adverse effects of the phenomenon.
The report presents an opportunity for the international community to realise that climate change is global phenomenon, with global repercussions and should the international community at large choose not to act in a responsible manner the consequences of inaction are proven to be dire.
There lies a moral responsibility to curb the effects of climate change, yet in realistic terms an emotional appeal alone does not suffice. As such the Seychelles calls for a consolidated effort to tackle climate change with both legally binding frameworks and with financial inducements.
The Republic of Seychelles makes an appeal that the international community uses the findings of the report to spur action and not shy away from natural obligations to the world, which everybody occupies.
- joint communique of Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Foreign Affairs