World’s breach of 1.5c marks a cataclysmic failure to protect the world’s most vulnerable

8 February 2024


In response to the world's first year-long breach of key 1.5C warming limit, Patience Mukuyu, WaterAid’s climate specialist, said:  

“The world’s first year-long breach of 1.5 marks a cataclysmic failure from global leaders to protect the world’s most vulnerable to climate change.   

"From sea-level rise to flooding, cyclones and droughts, the climate crisis is a water crisis with devastating impacts on communities on the front line of climate change – hitting those least responsible for it the hardest.  

“From flood defences to drought resistance, the solutions exist. Now we urgently need UK and global governments to wake up and act for those whose lives are destroyed daily by climate change.   

“Mitigation is crucial - but we need to see public finance for locally-led adaptation more than doubled and balanced to match amounts for mitigation. There’s no time for more excuses. For the world’s most vulnerable, this is a matter of life or death.”  


For more information, please contact:  

In London: Emma Sutton-Smith, [email protected], or call our after-hours press line on 020 7793 4537.    

Notes to editors 

WaterAid is an international not-for-profit determined to make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene normal for everyone, everywhere within a generation. We work alongside communities in 22 countries to secure these three essentials that transform people’s lives.  Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 28 million people with clean water and nearly 29 million people with decent toilets.  

For more information, visit our website, follow us on Twitter @WaterAidPress, @WaterAidUK, @WaterAid, or find us on Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram

  • 703 million people in the world – almost one in ten – don’t have clean water close to home.
  • 2.2 billion people in the world – more than one in four – don’t have safe water.
  • 1.5 billion people in the world – almost one in five – don’t have a decent toilet of their own.
  • Almost 400,000 children under five die every year due to diseases caused by unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene. That's more than 1000 children a day, or almost one child every one and a half minutes.
  • Investing in safely managed water, sanitation and hygiene services provides up to 21 times more value than it costs.