August 9, 2021, Washington, D.C–After an eight year gap, the IPCC today released the first part of its latest major assessment report. It reveals that human activity is unequivocally driving climate change and there is still a narrow window to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius if we undertake an ambitious global plan to curb carbon emissions.
EarthRights Executive Director Ka Hsaw Wa released the following statement:
“Today’s report, released on International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, confirms what Indigenous and frontline communities experiencing the worst effects of the climate crisis have been telling the world for years: that governments worldwide must act with urgency to curb the climate crisis. From record-setting heat waves to mega-fires and floods, the signs of human-induced climate change are everywhere.
“I’ve seen these consequences first-hand in my native Burma (Myanmar), as well as the human rights violations that accompany extractive development. Over 25 years ago, I helped frontline communities defend themselves when two oil companies, Total and Unocal, joined with the Burmese army to militarize a pipeline project, resulting in forced labor, land grabs, torture, rape, extrajudicial killings, and attacks on Indigenous and ethnic minority communities.
“From land grabs in Latin America and Southeast Asia to the Line 3 pipeline in Minnesota, we see fossil fuel projects continuing to undermine human rights worldwide, particularly those of Indigenous and ethnic minority communities. These groups have fewer opportunities to participate in climate negotiations like the upcoming COP 26 and often face extreme repression and violence when trying to defend themselves from climate-damaging activities.
“In November, leaders from around the world will convene in Scotland for COP 26, the first major climate convening since the United States rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement. We implore President Biden to take this moment to realize the United States’ significant contributions to the climate crisis and reassess our addiction to fossil fuels and unnecessary fossil fuel infrastructure projects like Line 3. We urge President Biden to reject Line 3 and any provisions in the new infrastructure bill that would allow fossil fuel corporations to access millions of dollars in subsidies.
“Further, we hope that world leaders at COP 26 will heed our advice, along with the thousands of civil society groups, Indigenous and frontline communities, youth groups, and climate and environmental defenders around the globe demanding that COP 26 delivers the necessary commitments to protect our rights and our planet from climate catastrophe.”