Looking for Commitment from Political Leadership on Climate Change

[South Asia] – April 13, 2014: Climate Action Network South Asia welcomes the launch of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) latest report in Berlin today which shows that avoiding catastrophic climate change is still possible, but only with rapid and sustained cuts to carbon pollution.

The report points to the benefits of increasing the use of pollution-free renewable power and phasing out dirty fossil fuels in the long term. In addition to highlighting the need to transform the energy system, the IPCC says other solutions to the climate crisis include using energy more efficiently, and investing in better transport and building technologies.

“This report shows that we have the solutions to the climate crisis,” said Climate Action Network South Asia Director Sanjay Vashist. “But with the high levels of carbon pollution which is still on the rise, it is evident that a lot needs to be done, and faster, to accelerate the transition from dirty energy to clean, renewable power.”

Asia in particular is highlighted as a ‘hard-hit’ region as a result of water scarcity, food insecurity, the redistribution of land species and an increased risk to coastal and marine ecosystems. South Asia more specifically would be susceptible to climate extremities especially weather events such as flood and drought and its impact would only be aggravated as the region houses some of the world’s most impoverished in countries namely Bangladesh, India and Pakistan.

“IPCC WGIII reiterates the message which has been on the wall for a while, 75% reduction in GHG emissions by 2050 to avoid catastrophic climatic impacts. It is doable by swift transition to low carbon pathways now.  It disappoints by not addressing the goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius,” said CANSA Adviser Sudhir Sharma.

For the world to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, the report points out that the use of zero and low carbon energy sources will need to at least triple by 2050. To fund the transition, the IPCC said at least USD30 billion per year would be needed to be divested from dirty energy over the coming decades, while investments in renewable power would need to double.

Bangladeshi scientist and IPCC author, International Institute for Environment and Development Climate Change Group Senior Fellow Dr Saleemul Huq said, “The IPCC Working Group III report reinforces the message of Working Group II that there is very little time left to bend the curve of emissions and temperatures towards 2 degrees instead of the 4 degrees we are currently headed towards.”

The third instalment of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report – which involves over 800 scientists synthesising the latest findings in the field – has raised pressure on government leaders to act as it has outlined how cutting pollution now will be cheaper and more effective.

The transition to renewable energy will provide massive benefits ranging from energy security, new jobs, good business and improved public health.

It’s time for South Asia to show its commitment to climate action on the world stage. Climate Action Network South Asia will be looking to the Heads of State of South Asia to commit to increasing climate action at the United Nations’ Secretary-General’s Climate Summit in September in order to lay the groundwork for a strong global treaty that is due to be signed in Paris in 2015.

CANSA is a coalition of 116 civil society organisations from seven countries of South Asia, demanding that all countries ratify the second commitment period of Kyoto protocol by 2015. CANSA is on a vision to strive actively towards the protection of the global climate in a manner that promotes equity and social justice between peoples, sustainable development of all communities, and protection of the global environment.


For further information contact Vositha Wijenayake on vositha@cansouthasia.net