Climate action: what ACT is doing

Friday, October 07, 2011

Climate change is one of the major challenges to humanity, and it is the area ACT Alliance has chosen to prioritise for collective action as a global network.

ACT is committed to tackling the glaring injustice that the world's poorest people, who have contributed least to the negative effects of climate change, suffer its consequences the most.

As a faith-based network with professional grass-roots experience, ACT Alliance stresses that climate policies must place human rights and solidarity with the world's poorest people at their heart. ACT calls for every country on earth to be fully accountable, and for climate policies to contribute to sustainable development.

The alliance believes climate change should be tackled on the basis of common but different responsibilities: countries that have a historic responsibility for climate change must also be the ones making the biggest efforts to combat climate change.

ACT is working on many fronts all around the world:

Raising awareness of the scientific, moral and legal issues at stake.

Challenging political leaders to minimise the negative impact of climate change on the world's poorest people so that they can lead lives that are more secure and less vulnerable to the devastating effects of an overheated climate.

Developing innovative solutions, ranging from the financial to the technical, to the havoc wreaked by decades of carbon over-consumption and political negligence.

Helping communities in practical ways, through humanitarian and development programmes all over the world, to adapt to climate change – by developing preventative measures such as dams and hurricane-proof housing, and ensuring people have the resilience to recover more quickly when climate-related disasters strike.

With less than eight weeks to go before the COP17 - the United Nations’ climate change talks - begin in Durban, South Africa, ACT wants to step up its advocacy work across the alliance.

ACT's programme of climate action initiatives focus on three areas: adaptation, compensation and low carbon development.


As an alliance of over 33,000 people working together to achieve justice for the world's poorest communities – who are often harmed the most by climate change – our priority is to help people make practical improvements to their living conditions, right now. We want to ensure people are as well equipped as they can be to withstand the calamitous effects of climate change.

We focus on adaptation – developing new ways of doing things to accommodate changing climatic conditions. New farming techniques, for instance, and new ways of building houses.

We also aim to reduce the risks posed by disasters linked to our changing climate – such as growing mangrove forests along rivers to slow down flood waters and protect dwellings built on flood plains. We try to help people adapt their livelihoods so that they are less economically vulnerable when a disaster strikes. We support communities' abilities to recover after they are hit by floods, droughts, famines and other disasters triggered by climate change. And we seek to influence policies to deal with subsequent loss and damage.

ACT promotes a pro-poor perspective towards adaptation policies, programmes and financing that prioritises the most vulnerable people.


Climate finance

Financial compensation is a key area in any discussion about climate change. Countries with historic responsibility also have responsibility to mobilise compensation to combat the negative effects of climate change. Compensation should be additional (to other forms of funding for climate change programmes), predictable and adequate. The priority should be to direct it to developing countries, especially those with fewer resources and capabilities to face the effects of climate change.

Climate finance will have to come from public budgets and the private sector using innovative financial models. The goal of mobilising US $100 billion in 2020 is likely to fall short of what is needed. It must be acknowledged that the need for funding for adaptation programmes will increase rapidly if ambitious mitigation actions are not taken.


Low Carbon Development

A global shift towards a new development paradigm that is economically just and environmentally friendly is a pre-condition to keep global warming well below 2 degrees. A global move to low carbon development is the only remaining option for industrialised countries, emerging economies and developing nations. However, low carbon development pathways must respect a development threshold and the equal right of all people to use the environment sustainably.