(Remarks at the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) Special Workshop on Climate Change with the theme: ‘The Role of Political Parties in Asia to Achieve Net Zero’ on Dec. 8, 2021)
His Excellency the former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, ICAPP Vice Chairman and Special Reporteur, Sen. Mushahidhussain Sayed; ICAPP Secretary General Cho Byung-jae with distinguished colleagues in ICAPP Standing Committee.
Excellencies, dear friends:
In recent years and months, we all have seen enough of disasters and calamities wrought by a wounded nature to accept that global warming is not merely the “perhaps” problem of a “sometime” future, but a real and present danger to humankind in our time.
We know climate change exists. And we also know that it is not a problem for tomorrow or the future. Climate change is a problem today.
Not the work or providence, but the work of heedless people
We realized that the rising seas and warming of the earth are not the result of providence. They are our own work, in all of our ignorance.
Yet, man was not allowed to inflict any harm on the rest of creation.
All on the same planet
Dear friends: Rich country, poor country, in-between country — we all inhabit the same planet.
Droughts, heat waves, and rising temperatures — deluges, floods, and inundations — typhoons, tornadoes, snowstorms, and sea surges — all these have become the new normal.
The planet Earth is facing a climate crisis, and the entire ecosystem is already suffering from the adverse effects of rising temperatures.
Match your efforts with the gravity of the danger that humankind faces
We, as political parties, therefore see our shared task as that of combating climate change — and of generating preventive action against global warming.
The fight against climate change has been growing globally. However, it is not growing fast enough for people to demand that those in charge take immediate and decisive action.
We must deal with the threat of climate change and global warming with a greater — and more sustained — sense of urgency than they have done so far, because the stakes are higher than in any political or economic crisis of the moment.
We need to be able to match the gravity and size of the dangers facing humanity with our efforts.
Climate change: A clear, present danger
Dear friends, We agree that climate change poses a clear and present threat to our planet.
We all agree that we don’t have any time left; and that each one of us has a role to play in the collective effort to save our planet and protect humankind.
Moral obligation to protect the environment
So that we see for our International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) a legitimate — and important — role in persuading Asian governments and parliaments to govern green — to ensure the interests of the environment are represented in public policy decisions in every Asian state.
Our role as political parties is essential as we serve as the vehicles of people’s participation and aspirations. We are the government and parliament. We are the link between policy and people.
Our job is to devise and implement public policy that stops, deters, or mitigates climate change in every Asian country.
Our goal is to establish norms for environmental degradation in the political cultures of our members.
Indeed — to mitigate climate change — political parties, parliaments, and civil societies need to summon a degree of moral anger, and perhaps even launch the effort with the moral equivalent of war.
We must make a long-term commitment to protect the environment.
This is a commitment that only inspirational political leadership can inspire in everyday people.
Dear friends: We underscore the importance of moving swiftly for the full implementation of the Paris Agreement to secure global net zero around mid-century and to limit average global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
This forum gives us the chance to come together and discuss this common goal.
We are grateful and wish you a happy day.
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