Integrated approach needed as climate change response

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand said that the IPCC’s latest report on climate science only confirms with greater certainty and immediacy the need for rapid action to cut greenhouse gas emissions, and prioritise the poor and future generations in adapting to an uncertain climatic future. 

“Oceania peoples on the frontlines of climate change have seen significant impacts of climate change and other environmental losses since before the turn of the century,” said Caritas director Julianne Hickey. 

“Eroded shorelines, salination of soil and water, and destruction of food crops, livelihoods and shelter through increasingly severe extreme weather events. We have documented those impacts in often overlooked communities through our Oceania environment reports since 2014. 

“We know climate change is hitting the poor the hardest. We know climate finance is not reaching some of the poorest and most vulnerable communities in Oceania. And we know they are often left out of key decisions being made on adaptation and mitigation.” 

Recent extreme weather events affecting Aotearoa New Zealand — and power blackouts in mid-August — are a further reminder that people need to address energy sources as well as supply and demand issues. Humanity must exercise careful stewardship of earth’s resources for the benefit of all, Caritas stated.  

“We cannot tackle the climate crisis solely through new technology and spending money,” said Mrs Hickey. 

“We need to address intertwined social, economic and environmental issues together. Reduction of greenhouse gases and real climate justice can’t be at further cost to the earth, the poor or future generations.” 

The Caritas network and other Catholic civil society personnel will be present at critical United Nations conferences later this year on biodiversity and climate. They will be calling for strong action to protect and restore the environment for future generations, and ensure the poor of today are not left out.  

“We need an integrated approach that recognises the good things of the earth, and the products we derive from nature are to be shared fairly and equitably. We need to ensure all people can lead healthy, sustainable lives with dignity, and connected to their respective cultures and communities. We are one human family, sharing a common home,” Caritas stated. 

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