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February 28, 2022, Washington, D.C.–The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) today released its latest major assessment report, which shows that some of the impacts of an accelerating climate crisis are irreversible and that the crisis will continue to threaten people and the planet unless governments curb carbon emissions and world leaders take action to build resilience through rights-based policies. 

EarthRights Director of Strategy and Campaigns Keith Slack released the following statement: 

“This latest assessment from the IPCC shows definitively that climate change is significantly harming the planet and vulnerable communities in particular but that there is still time to avoid climate catastrophe if world leaders act now. 

“From extreme weather events to mega-fires and rising sea levels, people worldwide are already affected by the climate crisis. The problem disproportionately harms Indigenous communities as fossil fuel companies exploit their resources for profit. As governments – including the United States — fail to take meaningful climate action to protect them, Indigenous and frontline communities such as the U’Wa in Colombia and the Water Protectors at Line 3 in Minnesota have built a global movement to resist climate-damaging industries, denounce the inaction of world leaders, and demand climate justice. 

“Climate change is making our planet unlivable. Governments worldwide need to take action to avoid climate catastrophe and human rights abuses brought on by continued dependence on fossil fuels. Governments must take aggressive action to curb environmental destruction and protect frontline communities.  

“If countries do not act now, the damages caused by climate change will continue to accumulate, adversely affecting the health of people worldwide, causing displacement, undermining food security and livelihoods. Today’s IPCC report is a wake-up call from scientists to the U.S. and other wealthy nations to effectively address loss and damage at international climate change negotiations and provide the resources for more vulnerable countries to prepare for the worst impacts. 

“As the report points out, there’s still a small window of opportunity to act, but to truly achieve climate-resilient development, countries need to adopt rights-based policies that allow vulnerable groups to meaningfully participate and access resources. Frontline communities are particularly vulnerable to climate impacts and deserve a seat at the table during the adoption of climate policies.

“As Russia weaponizes gas pipelines in its aggression against Ukraine, we must recognize the role of fossil fuel corporations in fueling global geopolitical tensions. Allowing any industry to profit from human suffering is unconscionable. 

“Slashing carbon emissions and transitioning away from fossil fuels would curb rising temperatures and give frontline communities and humanity as a whole a fighting chance of survival. We have the tools and knowledge to fight climate change; all we need is the political will to make it happen.” 

Kate Fried, EarthRights International 
(202) 257.0057