Joint Statement

Asia Climate Rally youth activists call for climate justice

and solidarity towards a just transition to a fossil-free Asia

Asia Climate Rally: Statement on the IPCC Climate Impacts Report Launch

The Asia Climate Rally is a coalition of youth climate activists across Asia who first came together in 2020 to launch a regional climate strike and demand a fossil-free future. Given that the climate crisis is a global phenomenon, building a regional movement will help amplify our calls for greater climate action, and demonstrates the solidarity that is needed to address the crisis.

 

Last year’s IPCC WGI report warned that it was only possible to limit global warming to 1.5 ºC with aggressive action to reduce emissions. Despite these warnings, world leaders continued to ignore the science and agreed to a watered-down climate pact at COP26 that put the 1.5 ºC goal “on life support”. Global emissions have quickly rebounded to pre-pandemic levels, despite calls for a green and just recovery.

 

This year’s WGII report on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability to climate change makes the consequences of inaction very clear. In the past decade, 6 of the 10 countries most affected by climate change were in Asia, and the many floods, typhoons, heat waves and other extreme weather events in 2021 are a reminder that these effects will only get worse with increasing warming, and the most marginalized people are impacted the most. 

The science has made it very clear that our actions must be guided by climate justice: we cannot afford any further delays or excuses. Representing youth climate organizations in the Asia Climate Rally, we demand that our governments:

1. Ban the financing and development of all new fossil fuel projects

In its report released last year, the International Energy Agency said unequivocally that in order to limit warming to 1.5 ºC, there should be no development of new oil and gas fields, or coal mines and mine extensions. Despite this, a study showed that major fossil fuel companies are not walking the talk, as their daily production has remained constant in the past decade while less than 1% of capital expenditure went towards low-carbon investments. Governments should take greater action to ban expansion and quicken the decarbonisation of the energy industry, for example through a carbon tax that reflects the true cost of carbon.

2. Declare a climate emergency and release a clear plan to reduce emissions in line with necessary pathways to limit global warming to 1.5 ºC.

Several Asian countries have announced net zero targets in 2050 or later, but without immediate action and a clear plan to achieve them, they could end up missing these targets. Net zero targets themselves can disguise climate inaction, as many rely on unrealistic assumptions of negative emissions, while placing the burden of offsets onto Global South countries. Climate Action Tracker has identified ten key elements essential to setting net zero targets including scope, architecture and transparency, but based on its analysis, most Asian countries’ targets are not well-designed and thus could end up meaningless. Governments should follow these guidelines and clearly communicate their climate goals to the public.

3. Increase regional cooperation in the transition away
from fossil fuels, such as the development of a
regional power grid, investments in green
technology, and climate aid

Countries across Asia vary widely in terms of vulnerability to climate change and capacity to mitigate and adapt to its impacts. The pandemic has taught us that collaboration is the key to resolving a global problem like the climate crisis, and governments should work together to share resources and expertise, such as in the development of an ASEAN Power Grid, or a regional circular economy and carbon price.

4. Ensure that Global North countries deliver the promises of climate finance for adaptation, and secure reparations for loss and damage from climate change that has already been inflicted on many Asian countries.

In 2009, rich nations made a pledge to deliver $100 billion a year to less wealthy nations by 2020, but the funding still falls short of what is needed, and mostly comes in the form of loans instead of grants, and not enough of it has gone to adaptation. At COP27, we want our governments to make a stronger case for securing this funding, as well as pushing for new commitments to fund loss and damage from climate change.

5. Involve frontline and indigenous communities in the
creation of policies to ensure they are equitable and fair,
and remove restrictions on public protests to uphold
democratic processes and protect environmental defenders

Global Witness estimated that 40 environmental defenders were killed in Asia in 2020 alone, while carbon trading deals can harm indigenous communities if not done right. Despite this, these are the people who contribute the least to climate change and do the most to mitigate it. A recent report on indigenous resistance against carbon estimated that more than 700 million metric tons of annual carbon emissions were prevented by indigenous resistance in the US and Canada. Governments must do more to protect environmental defenders, allow freedom of demonstration and include the general public in the policymaking process, to ensure an inclusive and just transition.

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Signatories

(Last update: 7 March, 3PM GMT+)

Organizations

  • Singapore Climate Rally

  • Fridays for Future Bangladesh 

  • YouthNet for Climate Justice, Bangladesh 

  • Youth Strike for Climate Philippines

  • Youth for Climate Hope

  • Young Bataeños for Environmental Advocacy Network

  • Green Pakistan Coalition _nature advocacy climate action

  • Klima Action Malaysia (KAMY)

  • Climate Action Pakistan

  • Green Party of the Philippines

  • Young Progressives Hub

  • Karachi Urban Lab 

  • GEYK(Green Environment Youth Korea)

  • The Truth International

  • Foodscape Collective

  • 350 Pilipinas

  • NTU Divest

  • Powershift Nepal

  • 350 Taiwan

Individuals

  • Yasir Husain

  • Sohanur Rahman 

  • Maria Jaya

  • Jasmen Ruiz

  • Paul Serrano

  • Catherine Estampador

  • Bianca Montilla

  • Vic Michael A. Estrada

  • Anam Rathor, Pakistan

  • Jimran Mohammad Saiak, Youthnet

  • Ashiqur Rahman, Bangladesh

  • Emma Chia, Singapore

  • Rachel Tham, Singapore

  • Maria Emcel, Philippines

  • Nausheen H Anwar

  • Jiyun Gim

  • Carmela Francesca Adelantar

  • Sunryul Kim

  • Yunjoo Cho

  • Atif Muhammad 

  • Joshua Villalobos

  • Leomar Magbato

  • Aunil Muntazir

  • Sagarika Bhatta

  • Minkyoung Cho

  • Luz Abayan

  • Bill Angelo Bontigao

  • Jedryc Romero

  • Tushaani Naidu