Climate action can deliver a sustainable future for all
Speaking ahead of the COP26 UN climate conference, which wraps up this weekend in Glasgow, Scotland, Ms. Mohammed underlined the need for greater funding and commitment, as well as solidarity.
“Climate change doesn’t pause, and neither must we,” she said in her address to the TED Countdown Summitin her recently livestreamed TED Talk held recently in nearby Edinburgh and livestreamed globally.
Another climate change ‘victim’
People around the world demand #ClimateAction – concrete and ambitious #ClimateAction. pic.twitter.com/rV5zNTY2LE
— Amina J Mohammed (@AminaJMohammed) November 13, 2021
Ms. Mohammed, who is from Nigeria, recalled her childhood walks along the shores of Lake Chad, one of the largest lakes in Africa, with some 30 million people in four countries relying on its bounty.
Back then, the lake was more like an ocean to her as it seemed to go on forever. Today, it is a mere fraction of its size.
“Ninety per cent of this fresh-water basin has dried up – and with it – millions and millions of livelihoods: farmers, fisherfolk and our market-women”, she said. “Climate change takes yet another victim”.
This loss is further compounded by the damage caused by the Harmattan, she added, which in the past was just a short three-month season of dust and wind.
‘Tipping towards catastrophe’
The dust storms are now coming earlier and bigger each year. The human and ecological fallout has been devastating, with job loss, hunger and displacement.
Ms. Mohammed described this as a “perfect storm” for crushing poverty and violence, which has provided fertile ground for extremism to take root, wreaking havoc on peace.
“Sadly, touch down anywhere in the world and you’ll hear more tragic stories of climate devastation. Drought, floods, wildfires – lives and livelihoods in jeopardy – tipping towards catastrophe”.
Even in the face of the mounting climate crisis, the UN deputy chief still has hope in the “human family”, and its unwavering drive to survive against all odds.
It is this spirit which that led countries to adopt the Paris Agreement on climate change, which aims to keep global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.
A critical decade
Ms. Mohammed said the 2015 accord has the power to drive the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the blueprint for a more fair, just and equitable future for all people and the planet.
Achieving the Paris goal will require decarbonizing the global economy by 2050 through by halving greenhouse gas emissions during this decade.
“We must make coal history, with coal phased out in rich countries by 2030, and in other countries by 2040. The G20 produces 80 pe rcent of all greenhouse gas pollution, and so they too must