Climate change: Countries must intensify action to reduce emissions – Global coalition

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As the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) draws to a close, the Global Climate and Health Alliance has called on governments to match their promises.

The body of millions of health professionals worldwide says fulfilling the obligations to the 1.5C limit for global heating will protect people’s health from the worst impacts.

The COP26 UK Presidency released a draft version of the closing document – with a revised version due out on Friday – expected to communicate key agreements from the talks.

On Thursday, the coalition complained that most countries’ climate commitments remain well out of line, with only 1 out of 38 assessed by Climate Action Tracker on track for 1.5C.

Executive Director, Jeni Miller urged governments to step up action to reduce emissions in order to meet the set target.

Miller said every tenth of a degree of global warming will be counted in lost lives, just as every reduction in emissions will help improve people’s health.

“We welcome the draft text’s language regarding the protection of human rights, the right to health, indigenous rights and intergenerational equity, and support the proposal to add the right to a healthy environment to the full list.

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“These rights are crucial to ensuring the health of us all are fundamental rights, not bargaining chips”, the official stressed.

Miller observed that the issue of new financing from wealthier countries to low and middle income countries has been contentious throughout the COP26 negotiations.

Lamenting how the failure to deliver on previously promised funds eroded trust between countries, she insists trust is critical to securing the much needed progress.

“Without financial support, people in lower income countries, who are least responsible for climate change, will continue to experience devastating health impacts.

“Wealthy countries are not yet delivering on climate finance for adaptation to poorer nations, and that has got to change before the end of this week”, Miller demanded.

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