The 25th Conference of the Parties was, until last week, set to take place from 2 to 13 December, in Santiago de Chile, Chile. But civil unrest has forced the conference to be moved last minute across the water, to Spain.
Instead, 6,000 miles away, Madrid has scrambled to attention as it prepares for 25,000 people to arrive for 2019’s COP. Embodying what is being known as the ‘Time to Act COP’, Madrid is making sure that this opportunity for the world to commit to urgent climate action is not passed by. The aim is to emphasize the urgent need for all countries to increase their commitments to limit climate change.
It’s undeniable that taking action now in support of Earth’s natural climate solutions is essential. The changed travel plans are of little inconvenience compared to the changes that many countries like Chile are facing already due to climate breakdown.
“The COP must encourage concrete climate action, ensuring an inclusive process for all parties and the formal integration of the scientific world and the private sector. […] Climate change is a reality now, not in 50 years’ time.1”
As Chile geared up for the world to arrive on its shores, 76% of the country was, and is still, affected by severe drought. It has elicited an ‘agricultural emergency’ that covers six regions2. The Santiago Metropolitan Region alone has a 70% rainfall deficit, the country’s agriculture industry is severely hit and reports put the prognosis as bleak for any improvement.
Chile is a prime example of a country already being affected by a changing climate. Despite being responsible for just 0.25% of global emissions, Chile is evidently particularly vulnerable to environmental and extreme weather impacts.
It’s a pattern being seen across Cool Earth’s rainforest partnerships. Those least responsible for carbon emissions, and with the least capacity to adapt to changes in the climate, are already being most severely impacted by climate breakdown. In Papua New Guinea, coastal communities are experiencing rising seas and storms and members of Peruvian partnerships report a sporadic pattern of more extreme weather.
Around the world, low-income communities that live close to nature and rely on ecosystem services are finding it more difficult to simply get by. Indigenous communities are particularly vulnerable to climate-related shifts due to their close relationship with, and reliance on, local yet often fragile ecosystems3.
It’s clear that for many, climate change is no longer a far-off threat, it’s affecting millions’ ability to earn a living, live securely in their homes and access reliable food sources. To improve the long-term resilience of indigenous communities in the face of a changing climate, it’s vital to identify climate-related shifts and develop effective adaptation strategies. It’s up to the whole world to support those least able to adapt to climate change.
That’s what you’re doing with Cool Earth: taking year-round action to enable vulnerable communities around the tropics to protect their trees and plan their future. Your support is helping Cool Earth to develop and share the best approaches to protecting Earth’s most precious natural climate solution, and empowering communities around the world. Thank you for taking the smartest climate action there is.