An urgent need for COP27: confronting converging crises

Publication Name

Sustainability Science


The last 12 months have provided further evidence of the potential for cascading ecological and socio-political crises that were warned of 12 months ago. Then a consensus statement from the Regional Action on Climate Change Symposium warned: “the Earth’s climatic, ecological, and human systems are converging towards a crisis that threatens to engulf global civilization within the lifetimes of children now living.” Since then, the consequences of a broad set of extreme climate events (notably droughts, floods, and fires) have been compounded by interaction with impacts from multiple pandemics (including COVID-19 and cholera) and the Russia–Ukraine war. As a result, new connections are becoming visible between climate change and human health, large vulnerable populations are experiencing food crises, climate refugees are on the move, and the risks of water, food, and climate disruption have been visibly converging and compounding. Many vulnerable populations now face serious challenges to adapt. In light of these trends, this year, RACC identifies a range of measures to be taken at global and regional levels to bolster the resilience of these populations in the face of such emerging crises. In particular, at all scales, there is a need for globally available local data, reliable analytic techniques, community capacity to plan adaptation strategies, and the resources (scientific, technical, cultural, and economic) to implement them. To date, the rate of growth of the support for climate change resilience lags behind the rapid growth of cascading and converging risks. As an urgent message to COP27, it is proposed that the time is now right to devote much greater emphasis, global funding, and support to the increasing adaptation needs of vulnerable populations.

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