April 22, 2022
The science is clear – we are in a climate crisis. We have been for decades, yet we continue living as if we are not in an emergency. Progress towards climate change mitigation and adaptation remains frustratingly slow, displaying an utter lack of urgency towards the crisis we’re in.
The recent IPCC reports on the Physical Science of Climate Change (WGI), Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability (WGII), and Mitigation of Climate Change (WGIII) presented the devastating reality the world is already experiencing and how things can get worse in the years to come. Every phrase, every sentence, and every figure points to one thing: the impacts of the climate crisis are already being felt by people all over the world, especially by the most vulnerable communities, who are not only disproportionately impacted by this crisis, but also have the least capacity to adapt to its impacts – a cruel and unjust double-edged sword.
Reading through the jargon, one will find the heart of the reports echoes the lived experiences of people from the Global South who suffer the brunt of this crisis. Countries in Southeast Asia, in particular, are consistently among the countries that experience the most extreme weather events, such as typhoons, floods, droughts, and heatwaves, on top of everyday long-term climate change impacts, such as ecological collapse, food insecurity, and infectious diseases. Moreover, our countries also suffer from the societal impacts of climate change, namely internal displacement, human trafficking, and human rights violation, among other things.
Scientists’ projections for our future, under various development pathways, do not present a bright reality for us. Unless adaptation measures are effectively and urgently implemented, the effectiveness of these measures and our chance of building climate resilience, especially for the most vulnerable communities, will increasingly diminish with each incremental degree of warming. This means that we must act now – a phrase that seems to still fall on ears willingly deaf to the shouts of the masses that have long been suffering.
We, the youth, cannot afford any more delay. With each passing day, the earth we will inherit is further plunged into a future running on borrowed time. We only demand what we deserve and what past generations have mistakenly and dangerously taken for granted: a livable planet – and one that is climate-resilient and just.
We, the Youth of Southeast Asia, who are among the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, and stand to suffer the worst, urge:
World Leaders to
The Global North to
Southeast Asian Governments to
We repeat: unless immediate and effective climate change adaptation and mitigation measures are implemented, our chances of securing a just and sustainable future become increasingly slim.
Let’s make sure the world we envision is within our reach. Together, let’s work to create a better reality for all.
SIGNATORIES AS OF 21 APRIL 2022