Save the Children Australia is calling on the Australian Government to heed the IPCC’s stark warning today that children face a catastrophic future without urgent climate action.
The world must make rapid and deep cuts to greenhouse gas emissions to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and prevent the worst climate impacts, the third report in the IPCC’s comprehensive climate review says.
It comes just weeks after extreme flooding hit parts of Queensland and New South Wales, the latest in a series of increasingly dangerous climate-fuelled disasters to strike Australia.
Save the Children Australia’s Principal Climate Change Adviser, Paul Mitchell, said:
“The IPCC report serves as a dire warning to the Australian Government to urgently slash emissions and rapidly transition away from the use of fossil fuels.
“Australian children are already feeling the fierce impacts of the climate crisis due to the epic failure of our political leaders to act.
“The failure of the Australian Government to take the climate crisis seriously is and will continue to have devastating impacts on children.
“The climate crisis is a child rights crisis. It is affecting children first and worst. There is no time left for apathy and politics.
“Removing subsidies for fossil fuels and funding a just transition to a low-carbon economy would help begin to restore Australia’s reputation on climate policy."
Yolande Wright, Global Director of Poverty and Climate Change at Save the Children, said:
“Today’s alarming IPCC report shows the window for action to limit warming to 1.5 degrees – which is what we need to limit deadly climate impacts – is rapidly closing. Meanwhile, children the world over are making their voices heard, and leaders must listen.
“The climate crisis is a child rights crisis, particularly impacting those bearing the brunt of inequality and discrimination: the richest 50% of states are responsible for 86% of emissions, while the poorest are responsible for just 14%.
“Leaders of the richest countries and historical emitters must take responsibility. Without immediate drastic action to curb global emissions, children are burdened with the most dangerous impacts of the climate crisis.”
Modelling released last year by Save the Children and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel found that under the original Paris Agreement pledges, a child born in 2020 will experience on average twice as many wildfires, 3 times as many crop failures, 2.6 times as many droughts, 3 times as many river floods, and 7 times more heatwaves across their lifetimes, compared to a person born in 1960.
This same modelling showed that limiting warming to 1.5°C will reduce the additional lifetime exposure of newborns to heatwaves by 45%, droughts by 39%, river floods by 38%, crop failures by 28%, and wildfire by 10%. This critical difference will allow more children to have a healthy future in which they have access to basic needs, and one in which their rights can be fulfilled.
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