Climate Justice Alliance Calls on White House, Congress, UN to Center Frontline Wisdom/Solutions & Reject False Techno Fixes Accelerating Climate Change
We must keep fossil fuels in the ground; If we take anything away from Part 2 of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment, that should be it. Like so many times before, once again we find ourselves calling on the White House and Congress, and all world leaders to act boldly and courageously to reduce and eliminate greenhouse gas emissions at their source.
As Climate Justice Alliance (CJA) Co-Executive Director, Ozawa Bineshi Albert pointed out after participating in the most recent UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), “we must act with an urgency that is not happening now and we need community leaders experiencing harm to lead with solutions.”
Hans-Otto Pörtner, Co-Chair of the working group that issued the report explains, “The scientific evidence is unequivocal: climate change is a threat to human wellbeing and the health of the planet… Any further delay in concerted global action will miss a brief and rapidly closing window to secure a liveable future.”
However, we cannot rely on unproven fossil fuel industry backed, techno-fixes and market schemes that are really just band-aid approaches to solving the climate crisis: practices that do not guarantee a reduction or elimination of emissions at their source, such as geoengineering approaches like carbon capture and storage, solar radiation management, carbon removal and the like. We must safeguard Earth and all her creatures for generations to come. That means stopping the harm that continues to pollute her for future generations. We must center frontline solutions that are grounded in a Just Transition as we move away from the dig, burn, and dump economy to local, community-controlled renewable and regenerative models that reduce emissions while building community wealth and justice at every turn.
Together with 1,140 organizations and as a part of the Build Back Fossil Free Coalition in a letter issued last week, we called on President Biden to use his Executive powers to immediately 1) ban all new oil and gas contracts on federal areas, 2) stop approving fossil fuel projects, and 3) declare a climate emergency under the National Emergencies Act that will unlock special powers to fast track renewable projects that will benefit us all.
Additionally, as this report rightly points out, the United States must pay its fair share as the major culprit of climate change and heed the traditional knowledge of Indigenous peoples as we craft real solutions and reject false ones that will only serve to accelerate climate chaos in Black, Brown, Indigenous, Asian, and other low-income and vulnerable communities. We must invest in mitigation and adaptation resources for all frontline communities, in the Global South, and all other nations immediately.
At the same time that the United Nations was preparing to craft this damning report on the fossil fuel industry, the largest delegation of badged participants at the COP26 were fossil fuel lobbyists. Only a few from vulnerable and most impacted communities were allowed in. This is unacceptable – the UN must end rules that restrict and keep out those most impacted by climate change from fully participating in future climate change conferences. Finally, we call on the UN to end its long practice of bowing to pressure from fossil corporations and member nations aligned with them, and reject false solutions that enable polluters to continue business as usual while doing nothing to stop emissions at their source.
This most recent IPCC Assessment focuses on impacts, vulnerability, and adaptation. An upcoming section in April will focus on ways to reduce emissions, and the final part will present lessons to member states during the next Climate Change Conference (COP27) to be held in Egypt. If the nations of the world truly want to solve the climate crisis they will heed the calls of those most impacted and look to them to lead rather than those who created the crisis in the first place; here in the United States that looks like addressing this issue as the emergency that it already is.
QUOTES FROM CJA MEMBERS
Dwaign Tyndal, Executive Director of Alternatives for Community and Environment (ACE)
“It’s undeniable from this report: the entire world is affected and more than half of the world’s population is extremely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. We know the majority come from Black, Brown and low-income communities who have historically faced the brunt of racist, classist and exclusionary policies; the very ones backed by the fossil fuel industry that got us to where we are today. It’s time to correct this. One way to do so is ensuring the US and others who created this crisis meaningfully fund community-led solutions to climate change. From transportation to housing, our communities are creating local projects that pave the way forward without causing more harm and healing the planet. It’s time for Biden to deliver on his promises to center environmental justice and that means centering us!”
Moñeka De Oro, Micronesia Climate Change Alliance
“How many more reports need to be published and conferences need to happen before real and bold action is taken? Pacific Islanders contribute very little to global emissions but we will be living through some of the most destabilizing and destructive impacts of the climate crisis. Whole islands, whole nations and whole peoples are at risk of drowning. As people of the ocean we will continue to fight and pressure world leaders to be the ancestors our futures need! and not puppets to the whims of powerful profiteers, who care little of the fate of our planet. Pacific peoples are some of the most resilient and generous people, we have so much wisdom to share in ushering in a new more regenerative way of being. We deserve to be at the forefront of decision making when it comes to navigating the crises, and we need a Just Transition.”
Elizabeth Yeampierre, CJA Board Chair & Executive Director of UPROSE
“This most recent report is clear: it’s now or never. Policy makers and those elected to office by our communities, from the White House to the State House, have to act boldly and in the interest of justice now. From community owned solar to retrofitted buildings and agroecological farms, we hold the models that can be scaled and done so justly. It is time that Just Transitions, not false solutions lead the way.”
Panganga Pungowiyi, Climate Geoengineering Organizer, Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN)
“I feel discouraged by the business as usual conclusion of COP26 in Glasgow. I feel encouraged by the tremendous organizing being done by Indigenous nations across the globe, and by the great number of global citizens who see right through the business as usual of these meetings. The global north has dragged out the urgency for decades, and has dragged on the crisis acknowledged during the Paris Accord in 2015. For several years the global south and island nations, as well as the Indigenous people in the global north have all asked for real climate solutions as we have already begun experiencing the crisis on our homelands. We need real accountability for the military. We need immediate cuts to extractive energy resources to avert a near term extinction. Additionally, we are finished as serving as sacrifice zones and experiments for wealthy nations who test theoretical techno fixes on our lands and bodies. We are still going to be here, speaking the truth and holding people accountable.”
Climate Justice Alliance is a member-led organization of 74 urban and rural frontline communities, organizations and support networks in the climate justice movement. We work to build real solutions to the climate crisis through building local, living, regenerative economies while pushing back against false promises from corporate controlled interests.