Madam Sirleaf Urges Leaders to Take Action Following IPCC Report Release

The recently released Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report is “a code red for humanity,” scientists say, and leaders must take action now.

Following the report’s release, former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and fellow members of The Elders have called on leaders to take action to limit global temperature rise to 1.5C – before the window rapidly closes. 

The latest IPCC report clearly outlines evidence that the world is perilously close to pushing past temperature rises of 1.5C, as marked out at the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015, but prevention is still possible if governments adopt ambitious policies to further limit climate change.

In her statement, Madam Sirleaf highlighted that advances in science leave no doubt that increases in extreme weather and global warming are linked:

 “We see the climate crisis already unfolding before our eyes, and for people in the Global South, this is an emergency we are already living through.”

Madam Sirleaf also noted that there is a pressing need to specifically address the concerns of the most vulnerable countries, who are experiencing biodiversity loss, degradation, and extreme weather conditions at a far greater rate than the global west. There is a particular urgency to ensuring adaptation finance is made available to those who have contributed the least to global warming but now experience its repercussions on a much larger scale.

As members of the Campaign for Nature’s Global Steering Committee, both Madam Sirleaf and fellow member of The Elders Mary Robinson, who is the former President of Ireland, have advocated for governmental responses to the climate and biodiversity crisis to be as robust as the science is.

Earlier in 2020, Madam Sirleaf and Former President Robinson called upon world leaders to commit to protecting 30% of the world’s land and sea – as a tool for post-COVID recovery, reducing species loss and mitigating against further global warming. Alongside fellow Global Steering Committee Members, Madam Sirleaf emphasized that:

 “We are living at a pivotal moment in world history, and we are motivated by the opportunity for all countries to work together, in partnership with Indigenous Peoples and local communities, as a global community to invest in nature for the benefit of all people and societies.”

The full statement from The Elders on the IPCC report and climate crisis can be found here, and the statement from the Campaign for Nature’s Global Steering Committee can be found here.

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