Nations worldwide agreed to keep global temperatures to below 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrialized levels to avoid the most severe impacts of a changing climate through the Paris Agreement, adopted in the Conference of Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at its 21st Session in Paris, France in 2015.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released in 2018, their “Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C”, that concluded that: “human activities are estimated to have caused approximately 1.0°C of global warming above pre‐industrial levels” and that such target can be achieved only through global reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from human sources of 40 to 60 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, and net‐zero global emissions by 2050, through “rapid and far-‐reaching transitions in energy, land, urban and infrastructure, and industrial systems.”
Secretary‐General António Guterres in his address to the UN General Assembly in 2018 said: “Climate change is moving faster than we are.” The unprecedented global warming has already led to the rise in sea levels and a marked increase in extreme weather events – from Super typhoons, droughts, melting of glaceres, wildfires, and subsequent damage to human lives, infrastructure and ecosystems.
In the past three decades, global warming has continued unabated, with some reports of acceleration in sea‐level rise. Emissions of greenhouse gases due to human activities, the root cause of global warming, continue to increase, year after year. If it continues to increase at the current rate, global warming will likely to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052.
Progressive Alliance and SocDem Asia underscore that the current climate crisis is the result of unhampered capitalism and neo‐liberalism: the commodification of the environment for the sake of growth and profit of a few. Overconsumption and unsustainable levels of production and fossil fuel extraction has caused far‐reaching and devastating impacts on the environment.
Progressive Alliance and SocDem Asia lament how climate change further deepens the inequalities and injustices of the neo‐liberal system, disproportionately exposing vulnerable groups, especially those who least contributed to greenhouse gas emissions, to various threats in terms of their “health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security, and economic growth”. These include indigenous peoples, migrant communities, rural and coastal communities, low-‐income worker, poor households, citizens of developing nations and underprivileged racial communities, youth and in particular women’s security and safety.
Progressive Alliance and SocDem Asia recognize that Asia and the Pacific will bear greater impact of climate change, with 7 out of 10 nations most affected by climate change and natural disasters coming from the region. Over 60 percent of the regions’ population work in agriculture, forestry and fisheries, the sectors which will be most affected by climate change, leading to mass migration, loss of life and livelihood.
Progressive Alliance and SocDem Asia echo the need for an immediate global and multi-lateral response to the climate crisis that is committed to changing the exploitative system that the neo‐liberal economy currently champions, in favor of a more socially and environmentally just solution.
Progressive Alliance and SocDem Asia call on all governments, political parties, national and international bodies to put on top of the agenda the climate crisis, and immediately put in place measures towards net-zero emissions of greenhouse gases by the year 2050.
Progressive Alliance and SocDem Asia call on all stakeholders to address the impending climate crisis both as a sustainable development issue, and as a function of inequality and poverty eradication; to alternate systems of production, such as circular economies that ensures reuse and/or prevention of industrial wastes; a fair and just energy transition towards 100 percent renewable energy; and, building resilient communities and facilitating mitigation and adaptation planning for most vulnerable groups and ecosystems. Climate Justice and a fair Transition need a policy change in agriculture, manufacturing, transports, urban development and access to public services.
Urgent action is needed for the Amazon rainforest. It is in a critical state of collapse as a record number of fires have been burning for over the last weeks – and the Brazilian government is allowing it to happen. We call for immediate humanitarian support to all the indigenous and local groups who have lost their homes and way of life; for a coordinated large scale effort with Brazil and neighboring countries to fight the fires in the most high risk areas, such as those affecting indigenous, animals and the most fragile ecosystems; all governments and the international community, but in in particular Brazil to help safeguard this vital life force, for us all.
Progressive Alliance and SocDem Asia call for global and multilateral climate action and international solidarity, underscoring international cooperation as a critical factor in achieving climate and environmental justice in between developed and developing nations/regions and communities. This includes strengthening capacities and commitments of national, subnational governments, civil society, the business sector and vulnerable communities and their empowering. All hands on deck, for climate action now!