1.5 for Human Rights; Human Rights for 1.5

14 December 2018

Dear Negotiators and Ministers,

We know you are tired. We know it’s been a long two weeks. But your work isn’t done yet. As we inch closer to the end, with the COP decision coming, ECO is worried about the lack of rights we are seeing in the Rulebook. As well as the lack of ambition we are seeing from some countries.

Holding global temperature rise to 1.5°C is necessary to protect and promote human rights €“ we know that, you know that, and the IPCC SR 1.5 confirmed it. Refusing to welcome the IPCC SR1.5 (you know who you are) doesn’t make it any less true. Keeping warming to no more than 1.5°C €“ which the science tells us is necessary for preserving life as we know it and which the Paris Agreement requires that we aim for €“ can only be done with people-centered, rights-based climate action. This is because people-centered climate action comes with greater legitimacy and ownership by all. It is easier to implement, better accepted and studies show that it turns into more successful mitigation and adaptation.

That’s where you come in. We call on you, dearest Ministers, to ensure that the implementation of the Paris Agreement is guided by human rights. That means including human rights, the rights of indigenous peoples, gender equality, a just transition, public participation, food security, intergenerational equity, and ecosystem integrity in the Rulebook. ECO knows you have heard this here in Katowice; you also heard this in Bonn, and in Bangkok and we keep insisting on it because, quite simply, the Rulebook is a matter of survival and the best way to stay below 1.5°C.

After all, climate action that is not compatible with the 1.5°C target is a fundamental violation of human rights. And climate action without respect for rights could cause more harm than good. So, let’s fix multiple problems and have rights-based, 1.5°C-compatible climate action.

Finally, in case you”ve forgotten, we want to reassure you that these are not new commitments and obligations. You”ve already agreed to this in Paris; so there is nothing to stop you now.

Make it easier when everyone returns home to develop their NDCs and adaptation communications by providing them with the relevant tools to do it. They”ll thank you €“ as will the planet.

We commit to helping you do this work, but right now the ball is in your court. You hold the key to right’s-based climate action €“ do not throw it away.

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