Statement from Mary Robinson on the Publication of the Synthesis Report of the Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC

Climate action that is good for people and for planet needs solidarity.

To avoid this we have to phase out carbon emissions to zero, increase the use of renewables, sustainably manage our land and forests and adapt to the changes in the climate that are already inevitable.   This demands global cooperation on an unprecedented scale – a whole new era of solidarity based on an understanding of our interconnectedness.

Given the need for renewed urgency in the climate negotiations, with the most recent round of talks in Bonn making little progress on the draft text of a new agreement, the emphasis placed in the report on fairness and equity in shaping a global response is critical.  The report supports the basic premises of climate justice; that climate action is critical to sustainable development and poverty reduction, that those who have contributed least to the causes of climate change are most vulnerable to the impacts; and that ‘mitigation and adaptation raise issues of equity, justice, and fairness’. It also states that delaying climate action shifts the burden of responsibility to future generations and that acting now is the only effective and fair strategy.

The report establishes the negative impacts on human rights from growing food insecurity, water shortages and health impacts to the direct effects of extreme events ranging from floods and droughts to heatwaves. These will all intensify the longer we wait to take action leading to a humanitarian crisis.

As people living on this planet we should be in no doubt about the reality of climate change.  The science is clear.  We cannot say we do not know the facts. Transformative leadership from all levels of community, business and politics can drive world leaders to commit to brave and ambitious actions; the task of shaping an appropriate global response to climate change lies in their hands. By planning for timescales longer than current political cycles decisions can be taken that will shape a better world, with sustainable food production, access to renewable energy, clean air to breathe and livelihoods to support our families.  Climate action makes sense and the opportunities it creates are ours for the taking.

Related Links

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Climate Change 2014 Synthesis Report – Summary for Policy Makers

Read more about the Foundations’ work on Equity and Climate Justice