Photo by Esra Sergi, United Nations

Most vulnerable countries

Some of the world’s countries that are most vulnerable to climate change took center stage at COP24.  Led by the Marshall Islands, the Climate Vulnerable Forum countries issued a plea for accelerated action. “We are out of time,” said Marshall Island President Hilda Heine in a video. Rising sea levels, she said, threatened the country with extinction, yet that has not stopped the country from submitting a new national climate commitment.

Fossil fuel divestment movement get 1000th member

The civil society organization “350.org,” says that 1000 institutions with managed investments worth almost US$8 trillion have committed to divest from fossil fuels. The divestment campaign calls on public institutions such as faith groups, governments, pension funds, banks, health institutions and museums to break their financial ties with fossil fuel companies. The movement has been embraced by sovereign wealth funds, such as Ireland and Norway, and major cities, like New York City. Mae Bove, head of 350.org, said the movement was truly a “people powered movement.”

Financing for Climate Friendly Investment

Rwanda is vulnerable to climate change and it relies on rain-fed agriculture and hydropower. Since 1970, the country has experienced a temperature increase of 1.4°C, and is expecting more by 2050, according to UN Climate Change.

To help drive transformative change, the Rwanda Green Fund says it is investing in sustainable wealth creation and poverty reduction. And the aim is to help the of Rwandan government build a strong climate resilient and green economy. “We plan to be a dynamic resource facility that provides targeted financial and technical support to catalyze climate resilient development at scale, contributing to Rwanda’s vision of becoming a low-carbon and climate resilient economy.”

The representative said the Fund is investing just under $40 million in projects, that have created more than 137,500 green jobs.

Power of music in tackling climate change

Rako in the Rotuman language (spoken in Fiji) means a place of learning and sharing. And at COP24, the Pacific group of artists, Rako Pasefika, are sharing their music with the participants.

Showcasing the best of the Pacific culture, the group aims to alleviate poverty and unemployment amongst creative people, build sustainable career through enterprise, and raise awareness on the urgency of climate action.

“We wrote a song called ‘Mama Earth’ to draw attention to severity of climate change and urge people to take the issue seriously,” the artist Samuela Taukaye (a.k.a. Skillz) of Fiji says, adding that the lyrics paint a bleak picture but at the same time encourages all to ‘stand up and unite in this fight’.”

Samuela says every step and person counts. “Music has the power to bring people together more than we think. It connects people, countries and continents. We can use this for climate action.” Listen to the song ‘Mama Earth’ here.

The Coal COP?

Katowice is in the heart of Poland’s coal country, which to many is a strange place to hold a climate conference, particularly after the IPCC issued its 1.5°C stating that coal use needed to be reduced to zero by mid-century. Meant to buttress the theme of a “just transition”—to ensure job security during the transition—the theme took on additional meanings during the Conference, But the city of Katowice has had no problem portraying itself as being in a transition from “black to green.”