Featured 1, News, Our Voice, Press Releases

CVF Statement on Climate Heat

CVF Statement on Climate Heat

CVF Statement on Climate Heat
By Mohamed Nasheed
Secretary-General of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, former president of the Maldives

The CVF notes with great concern the latest climate data published by the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service. With the news that March 2024 was the tenth month in a row to be the hottest on record, the accelerating pace of climate change has become increasingly alarming to all of us. Our 68 nations are on the frontlines of the climate crisis, as the most climate-vulnerable countries. These statistics are more than just numbers to us, they represent a daily reality where living conditions are becoming increasingly intolerable.

Ocean temperatures are now rising off the charts. We are suffering marine heatwaves which are killing our coral reefs, even as El Niño fades in the Pacific. In my own country, the Maldives, extensive coral bleaching is now being reported. If our reefs die, our whole country’s future is at risk. And yet the oceans seem to be showing a sudden acceleration of heating that scientists tell us that they don’t even fully understand.

We are also extremely worried about the fate of the 1.5 degree Paris Agreement climate target. Not for nothing did we coin the slogan “1.5 to stay alive”. And yet March 2024 was 1.68C warmer than the pre-industrial average for the month, already well over the 1.5 degree limit. Indeed the whole of the past 12 months, from April 2023 to March 2024, was at 1.58C, above the 1.5-degree Paris target. We are now asking ourselves: if the world is now fully committed to failing to meet the 1.5 degree target, are we destined to die?

Our resources to defend ourselves are becoming increasingly stretched. Representing 1.7 billion of the world’s poorest people, we did not cause this crisis, but we are hardest hit by its effects. And yet rather than supporting us to adapt to the impacts and become more climate resilient, we are offered only high-interest loans, and are increasingly mired in unsustainable debt. We pay out far more in debt service than we receive in climate support, to the very same high-emitting countries who have put us in this deadly peril.

In just southern Africa alone, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia have declared drought disasters. Make no mistake, climate famine is posing a serious risk of starvation to millions. Dams are empty, crops are failing and food prices are soaring. When rainfall comes, it floods the parched land and causes additional devastation, as Kenya experienced recently.

With our new headquarters in Accra, Ghana, the Climate Vulnerable Forum expresses solidarity with those affected with climate disasters and renews its pledge to defend and represent their interests in any way we can. The upcoming World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings in Washington DC next week will be a critical moment where we will see if the financial support we desperately need can be mobilised. Here, as elsewhere, the voices of the vulnerables must not be ignored.