UN talks must demand rapid climate action from all countries

Press release, 2 December 2019
At the start of the UN climate talks (COP25) in Madrid, Spain, IIED director Andrew Norton said:

“The alarming rise in global devastation from climate change demands governments agree urgent action in Madrid. Decisions need to put the world on course for no more than a 1.5°C temperature rise above pre-industrial levels. We cannot afford to go higher.

“Despite repeated warnings, too many governments continue their fossil fuel addiction. It is driving the climate emergency and hurting hundreds of millions of women, children and men – many in the poorest, most vulnerable countries.

“This is the final meeting before the Paris Agreement comes into force. All countries need to do more. Even those that have been ambitious must move further and faster to tackle the climate crisis and meet their citizens’ demands for increased action.

“It is unacceptable that emissions continue to rise. Governments need to ensure that every policy they have – including for aid, trade and agriculture – is in line with tackling climate change. 

“Next year is the point donors have committed to increase climate finance support to more than US$100 billion a year. For it to be effective, rich countries must learn recent lessons and support developing countries’ own vision for climate responses and make sure more money reaches the local level. They need to agree measures that further increase climate finance, ensure it is more flexible and addresses people’s priorities.

“This is crucial to enable people to manage forests, wetlands, rangelands and other local ecosystems on which they depend for their livelihoods and wellbeing.”

Media enquiries

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Beth Herzfeld, IIED head of media, on +44 (0)7557 658 482 or email beth.herzfeld@iied.org.

IIED spokespeople are available at the UN climate meeting in Madrid throughout COP25 (2-15 December).

Notes to editors

  • IIED estimates less than 10% – $1 in $10 – of the $17 billion climate finance committed from international climate funds by 2016 were prioritised for local-level activities. Read 'Delivering real change: getting international climate finance to the local level
  • Too little international climate finance is reaching the local level where people need it most. IIED, for example, found that struggling families in rural Bangladesh spend almost $2 billion a year on preventing climate-related disasters or repairing damage caused by climate change. This is twice as much as the Bangladesh government and nearly 12 times the amount Bangladesh receives in multilateral international climate financing in absolute terms, according to the latest data. Read ‘Bearing the climate burden: how households in Bangladesh are spending too much’.
  • The least developed countries suffer seven in ten of the deaths from extreme climate events. Read 'Time to redress the globally unjust cost of climate change'
  • IIED is a policy and action research organisation. It promotes sustainable development to improve livelihoods and protect the environments on which these livelihoods are built. IIED specialises in linking local priorities to global challenges. Based in London, UK it works in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and the Pacific, with some of the world's most vulnerable people to strengthen their voice in the decision-making arenas that affect them – from village councils to international conventions.
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