Forum SG Henry Puna
On the IPCC Working Group Two Report on Impact, Adaptation and Vulnerability
February 28, 2022
The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group II Report was launched at midday on February 28, 2022, in the Northern hemisphere, and on the other side of the globe, in the Pacific small island developing states, it was midnight. The timing cannot be more poignant. The code red on climate has been heralding humanity’s darkest hour for some time.
Another collation of science-based advice is placed before us. The challenge is more dire and urgent than ever. I thank the IPCC chair and those who have put so much painstaking effort into preparing this report. The evidence is painfully clear. Findings and data on Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability provide irrefutable evidence for what our Blue Pacific people already know and experience daily: our lived reality of dealing with the disproportionate impacts of climate change – the Pacific’s single greatest threat.
These dangerous and pervasive impacts are increasingly evident in every region of the world. Any further delay in global action to build the resilience and adaptive capacity of the most vulnerable developing countries will miss a rapidly closing window to secure a liveable future.
The report finds that for small island developing states of our Blue Pacific and other vulnerable areas of our world, climate resilient development will be impossible if the temperature exceeds 2°C. The choices we make now, not in five years or ten years, but now- will determine our fate. The report makes it clear that biodiversity loss in the short and medium term is unavoidable, and even irreversible.
That is why all countries – especially the big emitters and developed countries – must act with ambition and must act now. We need it for the sake of humanity, for nature, for the generations to come.
At COP 26 in Glasgow last November— and again last week, as the COP 26 Presidency hosted a Dialogue with the Pacific on the Road to COP27, I was left in no doubt that the world is coming to grips with the impending climate catastrophe and that the science is real. The Glasgow Pact delivered important commitments for our Blue Pacific to fully implement the Paris Agreement. But our global leaders fell short on delivering the much-needed action to address the climate code red. We are not yet on track to meet the 1.5 degrees target. We did not secure the promised $100 billion per year. We are not yet compensating for loss and damage to countries who are the collateral damage on the front lines of climate change. And financing for adaptation is at a mere 20% of global climate finance mobilised.
That is why forward looking and innovative solutions like the Pacific Resilience Facility, endorsed by Forum Leaders in 2019, need urgent support to strengthen the resilience and adaptive capacity of communities across the Blue Pacific in the face of king tides, severe flooding, and ravaging cyclones. Access to financing should also take into special consideration the unique vulnerabilities of small island developing states.
The IPCC report provides the truth of our situation. It provides real solutions, and tells us in plain language, how we can act now to bring future generations back from the brink.
As we look beyond this report to COP 27 in Sharm El-Sheikh this November, this is not the time to be despondent or to give up the fight for our climate. We must remain optimistic and hold the biggest emitting countries to account. The collective voices of our youths and elders calling for these countries to take urgent climate action must be louder than ever.
We will work harder, and we will work with the science, including the indigenous wisdom and traditional knowledge we bring on our journey, to ensure the big emitters and developed countries hold themselves accountable and keep our world to 1.5 degrees. —ENDS