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Monday, February 28, 2022


Katherine Quaid, WECAN International,

Women’s Group Responds to the Newest IPCC Report:
Women’s Leadership is Vital for Climate Resiliency, Adaptation, and Biodiversity Protection

San Francisco, BAY AREA— On February 28, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group II published its contribution to the upcoming Sixth Assessment Report, synthesizing climate impacts, adaptation and vulnerability for communities, ecosystems, and regions worldwide.

The report builds on previous contributions by the IPCC Working Group I, which were released in 2021 and detailed the physiological impacts of climate change. The report by IPCC Working Group II highlights the necessity of climate adaptation and the reality of frontline communities globally who are and will be most affected by the impacts of climate change. Additionally, the report documents the threats facing biodiverse ecosystems that could collapse as global warming rapidly advances toward 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.

In response to today’s report, Osprey Orielle Lake, Founder and Executive Director of the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) comments:

“The reality of the climate crisis has been illustrated in harrowing detail in the most recent contributions published by the IPCC. Millions of lives are at risk, further demanding that governments respond urgently to science, end their dependence on fossil fuels and false solutions, and take immediate action. From countries around the world, we must listen to frontline and Indigenous women leaders and their communities, who are not only experiencing the worst impacts of climate change right now, but who also carry knowledge and expertise necessary for real climate action, solutions and adaptation grounded in justice, human and Indigenous rights, and the protection of vital biodiverse regions. Governments and the international community must claim a climate emergency and respect the natural laws of the Earth. There is no adaptation outside of the laws of Nature.”

The Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) has also released a statement following the release of the report:

“The science is clear, we are beyond the tipping point. Climate change is impacting the lives of every single person and all living beings on this planet— nowhere is safe.

As explicitly stated in the Working Group II contribution to the IPCC Sixth Assessment, we are at a juncture in which climate adaptation must be addressed. Climate change is here in full force, and avoiding the worst impacts requires investment in adaptation, which must be implemented immediately and equitably. We cannot turn back the harms that have already been done. 

Historically, wealthy countries, primarily in the Global North, have contributed most to emissions leading to the climate crisis. Consequently, wealthy countries must pay their debt to the world— they have a financial obligation and responsibility to support global climate adaptation efforts, alongside loss and damage, both of which are sorely underfunded, and perpetually sidelined during global climate negotiations.

In addition to adaptation, countries must accelerate and strengthen climate mitigation plans that urgently cut emissions and keep global warming below 1.5 degrees, compared to pre-industrial levels. We no longer have time for false solutions or net-zero promises. The insistence by governments, corporations, and financial institutions that fossil fuel bridges, techno-fixes, and carbon offset schemes will save us, is only furthering the delay of actual emissions reductions and climate mitigation. Continuing with insufficient regulations of the extractive fossil fuel economy and investment in false solutions only serves to further exploitation of the Earth and exacerbation of the climate crisis, all while people and ecosystems become collateral damage.

The report highlights the severity in which all communities and regions are being affected by the climate crisis, including low income communities and communities of color who are already experiencing the most catastrophic climate impacts. Within this context, we know from previous studies that Indigenous, Black and Brown women, and women from the Global South bear an even heavier burden from the impacts of climate change due to the interlocking effects of colonialism, racism, and gender inequity.

For long-lasting change, it is essential to collectively recognize, understand, and transform the dominant social constructs that are at the root of environmental degradation and interconnected injustices. Despite being disproportionately affected by climate change, women constitute the backbone of global movements, actively challenging old paradigms of patriarchy, colonization, imperialism, racism, and capitalism while uniting across borders to build a healthy and livable future. 

Uplifting women’s and feminist leadership and solutions could not be more important at this vital point for humanity. Globally women are leading community-led solutions that promote food sovereignty, halt fossil fuel infrastructure, build renewable energy, advocate for rights of nature, fight for Indigenous rights, shape emerging feminist economies, protect forests and biodiverse ecosystems, and many more solutions that are advancing a just and equitable transition.

The IPCC reports coming out this year are mapping, in devastating detail, a calamitous future that is the end result of relentless fossil fuel expansion under an extractive economy, unfettered corporate and financial greed, and government inaction. However, there is still time to turn the tide. To meet the urgency reflected by the IPCC reports, governments must declare a climate emergency, fund global climate adaptation and loss and damage, and commit to crosscutting climate policies that simultaneously prioritize social, racial, economic, and climate justice. There are no do-overs. We need our governments to step up and meet the demands of global climate justice movements— there is no time to lose and we can act now.”



The Women's Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International - @WECAN_INTL


The Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International is a 501(c)3 and solutions-based organization established to engage women worldwide in policy advocacy, on-the-ground projects, trainings, and movement building for global climate justice.

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