Press release 28 February 2022

New IPCC report: HEKS and Swiss Catholic Lenten Fund call for climate justice

Zurich/Lucerne, 28.2.2022. In some regions of the world the limits of adaptability to climate change have already been reached. This is the alarming conclusion of the report published today by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). People in the global South who have contributed little to the climate crisis are particularly affected. The development organisations Swiss Catholic Lenten Fund and HEKS are therefore urgently calling for more climate justice

The scope of the new IPCC report: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability is gigantic, the results once again alarming: around 270 international climate experts have evaluated over 34,000 scientific publications and, on this basis, produced the 2,500-page contribution to the sixth IPCC report. It deals with the impacts of climate change for nature and humans and the adaptation efforts needed to keep life on Earth in balance.


Die Menschen in Äthiopien leiden unter einer katastrophalen Dürre
HEKS/Meron Bailey

This latest report of the IPCC makes it clear: «People living in poverty are not able to adapt sufficiently to climate heating, which endangers their food security. This is the responsibility of those responsible for the climate crisis. They must offer support,» explains Stefan Salzmann, programme officer for climate justice and climate policy at the Swiss Catholic Lenten Fund, who has written a blog post on the report. Across the 18 chapters of the report, it becomes clear how great the challenges are: Global heating has progressed so far that certain regions are already unable to adapt to the impacts of this crisis.

A question of justice

It is above all people living in countries with high poverty or unequal access to resources whose livelihoods are increasingly threatened. This is confirmed by Judith Macchi, thematic advisor for climate change and resilience at HEKS: «We are currently experiencing it in Southern Ethiopia. One drought every ten years used to be normal there. Now, however, extreme weather events are becoming more frequent. People are currently struggling with the third drought since 2012, and they are no longer able to recover from one drought shock to the next.»
The example of Ethiopia shows that the consequences of this crisis are borne by people that did not cause it. In its new Policy Paper on Climate Justice, HEKS defines what climate justice means for the organisation’s work and how it supports people around the world in their fight against the impacts of the climate crisis. The paper also contains policy demands to reach a more climate-just world. »We demand that Climate Change is not only seen as an environmental but also a social, societal and rights-based issue,» says Macchi. «That's why we are committed to safeguarding the rights of the most vulnerable and a just distribution of the costs and burdens of climate change.»

Ecumenical campaign

In Switzerland, the Swiss Catholic Lenten Fund and HEKS are raising awareness of the issue of climate justice through the Ecumenical Campaign. This year's campaign, which begins on 2 March, focuses on the (over)consumption of energy in wealthy countries like Switzerland, while many people in countries with high poverty rates and unequal access to resources have no access to reliable and clean energy. Both organisations are calling on the Federal Council and Parliament of Switzerland to quickly replace its outdated CO2 law - with the aim of reducing Switzerland's CO2 emissions to net zero by 2040.


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