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Good morning, this is Paula. While aid groups have become more visible at climate conferences, stressing the need for countries to take action to ultimately avoid future humanitarian crises, the sector has failed to reduce its own carbon footprint.

Conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza haven't made that goal any easier as relief efforts have increased, and with them, their carbon emissions. At a recent gathering, the Climate Action Accelerator, a Geneva NGO, presented a roadmap for aid groups on how they could bend their own carbon curve.

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Paula Dupraz-Dobias


On our radar

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United Nations officials visiting a newly-built sewage treatment plant in Murin in Syria's rebel-held northwestern Idlib province, 14 May 2024. (Keystone/AFP/Omar Haj Kadour)

In recent years, as humanitarians have become more visible at climate summits to remind negotiators of the devastating effects of climate-driven disasters on vulnerable populations, the sector has come under pressure to tackle its own carbon footprint.

“In the communities we work with, we need to leave where we’re going to in a better place, to do more good and to do no harm,” Nishanie Jayamaha, co-lead at the Climate and Environment Charter for Humanitarian Organisations, told a recent meeting in Berlin convening government officials and aid groups.

Scientists at the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) forecast a “semi-dystopian” future involving famine, conflicts and displacement triggered by human-induced climate change generating intensified droughts, flooding and heatwaves. The IPCC has warned of a 2.9°C global warming trajectory if carbon mitigation is not accelerated.

“In some places where we work, we are being more effective. We’re contributing to resilience building, to a swifter, more effective response while reducing costs,” Jayamaha added.

But Béatrice Godefroy, public policy engagement director at the Climate Action Accelerator, a Geneva-based NGO that aims to mobilise climate action, said much more needed to be done among organisations. “We need to shape, utilise and promote a much more strategic narrative on climate action in the humanitarian sector. It’s not just about ticking the box.”

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Here's what else is happening

Reason for hope

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An Iberian lynx cub (Programa de Conservación Ex-situ del Lince Ibérico via Wikimedia Commons)

🐱European lynx rebounds from brink of extinction. A species of lynx found in Spain and Portugal has rebounded from near extinction – a recovery that wildlife scientists are calling unparalleled among felines. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has moved the Iberian lynx from "endangered" to "vulnerable" on its Red List of threatened species, which is set to be released next week.

Reuters (EN)

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