GCCLP Statement on the IPCC February 2022 Report

Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy responds to the UN climate report

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 28, 2022

CONTACT: Kendall Dix, kendall@gcclp.org, 816-590-7452

U.S. Gulf South – Today the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a new report on the dire state of the climate crisis. Climate change is already here and causing disasters across the world, including increasingly intense hurricanes, floods, and fires in North America and the Gulf South. The report calls on the world to do more to prepare for climate impacts while noting that there are limits to adaptation. People are already being displaced from their homes, and the rate of climate migration will only increase. 
GCCLP’s International Strategy Director Sriram Madhusoodanan offered the following statement: 

 

“Today’s report confirms what many in the Gulf South have known since Hurricane Katrina in 2005: people on the frontlines are already feeling the impacts of climate change, and many have already been displaced. The window to avoid the worst impacts is closing, so we must choose now as the time to take necessary climate actions. 


The primary cause of the climate crisis is the extraction and burning of fossil fuels, so the first step is to phase out extraction as soon as possible. This means no new drilling of oil and gas anywhere but especially on federal lands and waters. We cannot invest in fossil fuel-based solutions such as refining natural gas for hydrogen fuels and carbon capture, and we call on the federal government to cease subsidizing these climate scams. Instead, we must rapidly adopt justly-sourced renewable energy and electrification.


In addition to transforming our energy system, we must prepare our water systems for droughts, flooding, and other climate disasters. After Hurricane Ida, many Louisiana communities went for weeks or months without clean drinking water. Last year’s bipartisan infrastructure legislation will provide large amounts of money to states and water utilities, but without strong community input and oversight, there is no guarantee that this money will be spent on proven climate solutions such as natural and green infrastructure.    


Despite U.S. attempts at interference, the IPCC report also confirms that there is a point beyond which we simply cannot “adapt” to climate change. There is a moment after rising sea levels swallow the land or raging wildfires and rising temperatures make the land uninhabitable. We must account for this irreparable loss and damage in our climate response plans and prepare to welcome in people who have been displaced. Rich countries and corporations have caused and profited disproportionately from fueling the climate crisis, and we echo calls from the Global South that these countries have an obligation to pay reparations in the form of funding for Loss and Damage, financing a global transition off fossil fuels, and humane immigration policies. 


The United States was founded on land stolen from Indigenous people and built up with enslaved labor, so this country owes a debt to oppressed people within its borders as well. Climate solutions that center reparations for Black and Indigenous communities can help repair this harm as we build a new world together. These solutions have been core pillars of the formations like the Gulf South for a Green New Deal, Southern Communities for a Green New Deal, and the Red, Black & Green New Deal. It’s not too late for us to act, but we must invest in community-controlled solutions to build a just, equitable, and people-centered economy. 

 

###

 

The Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy (GCCLP) is a non-profit, public interest law firm and justice center with a mission to advance structural shifts toward climate justice and ecological equity in communities of color on the frontline of climate change.