A network of women’s organizations in Asia decried what they described as the failure of the COP26 summit in Glasgow to address the impact of the current global climate crisis.
Members and partners of the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD) lambasted the “false climate solutions reflected in the COP26 outcomes.”
They said that what the 26th session of the Conference of Parties (COP26) to the UN United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change came up “only further burden grassroots women and perpetuate plunder of resources of global south countries.”
Environmental activist Titi Soentoro of Indonesia said the summit failed to address the roots of climate injustices raised by activists and environmentalists during the two-week run of the conference.
“The COP26 has essentially served as a platform for developed countries to skirt responsibility by diverting public attention from irreversible environmental and social impacts to false solutions that perpetuate capitalist drive for profit,” said Soentoro, executive director of Aksi! for gender, social and ecological justice in Indonesia.
Soentoro said the push for “net zero emissions” instead of “real zero” is “nothing but a decorative cover for unrestricted emissions.”
“The current proposed net zero pledges are not grounded in deep decarbonization, and instead rely on other false solutions including nature-based solutions as sinks, to sequester the carbon emissions; as well as on carbon-markets to deliver carbon offsets in developing countries,” she added.
Delima Silalahi of Kelompok Studi dan Pengembangan Prakarsa Masyarakat, also of Indonesia, said that it is critical for rural and indigenous women on the ground to really understand “these false climate solutions and the impacts to their lives and survival.”
“The outcome of the negotiation on market mechanism is a huge threat for indigenous communities in Asia and the Pacific,” said Silalahi, an indigenous woman.
She said the world leaders who met in Glasgow “are not even brave enough to commit to the protection of human rights along with the Free, Prior and Informed Consent of Indigenous Peoples.”
“Above all, a market-based mechanism is never a true climate solution. It is a dirty business tactic, putting profits over peoples,” said Silalahi.
“The market mechanism, especially carbon trading, will aggressively violate indigenous peoples’ rights to land and forest in the name of battling climate catastrophe,” she added. “It is a massive land grabbing plot threatening our survival. It is a matter of life and death for us in the community.”
Ana Celestial of Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment in the Philippines underscored the importance of continuing the fight for climate justice and demanding accountability for the climate crisis.
“Feminists, activists, and environmental and land rights defenders are either killed, criminalized, or subjected to various forms of harassment for protecting mother earth,” she said, adding that the perpetrators are “the authoritarian governments and massive foreign corporations (that) continue to plunder our lands and natural resources.”
“Worse, these are the same people who are among the most powerful dominating the global climate negotiations now, including the recently concluded COP26,” said Celestial.
She said the failure of member countries to walk out of COP26 with real commitments on financing for loss and damage is “outrageous especially amid increasing climate-induced natural disasters that have devastated many developing countries including the Philippines.”
Celestial said it is “critical” to continue demanding more financing from the developed and capitalist countries to deliver their promise of US$100 billion a year and additional public climate finance based on the needs of the affected communities.
“Our fight for climate justice continues even after COP26 wraps up,” she said.
“We will continue to fight for the protection of our human rights, consistently calling out the wealthy countries and corporations to stop lying and to pay for their historical and ongoing responsibilities inside these negotiation chambers and on the streets,” said Celestial.
APWLD is a leading network of feminist organizations and grassroots activists with 266 members representing groups of diverse women from 30 countries in Asia Pacific.
Over the past 34 years, APWLD has actively worked toward advancing women’s human rights and development justice.