Greenpeace challenges ASEAN to get serious about climate threat

Press release - October 24, 2009
Greenpeace today challenged ASEAN leaders to demonstrate collective leadership to protect Southeast Asia’s 850 million people from the debilitating impacts of climate change by committing to zero deforestation and low carbon development, and to force the leaders of the developed countries to agree to deep and binding cuts in global greenhouse gas emissions at the UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen in December.

Volunteers from the environment organization made their way to the Dusit Thani, venue of the ASEAN Summit, pushing a gigantic "earth ball" with the message "ASEAN leaders: U turn the Earth."

"ASEAN citizens are already reeling under catastrophic impacts of climate change, as was made brutally clear by Typhoon Ketsana last month.  Yet, instead of recognizing their enormous obligation to safeguard the region, the ASEAN appear to still be in denial over these threats, expressing only token concern when catastrophe strikes but failing to match the same concern with real action and leadership to avert the climate crisis," said Tara Buakamsri, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Campaign Manager.

"It is critical that ASEAN member states, collectively and en bloc support the completion of a strong climate deal in Copenhagen in December, and as a sign of their contribution to the needed emission reduction targets, announce zero deforestation and prioritize options which will strategically liberate our societies from the treadmill of carbon intensive and fossil-fuel based systems," he added.

The ASEAN has only very recently started tackling climate change and its statements on the issue so far have been very general and lacking in clear action plans.  In December's climate summit, the world has a historic opportunity to step back from the brink of catastrophic climate change.  The burning of fossil fuels such as oil, coal and gas is not the only cause of global warming.  Tropical deforestation is responsible for about 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions, a share more than that of all the world's trains, planes and cars put together.

In order to achieve a significant deviation from business as usual growth of emissions in developing countries, action on forest protection is urgent.  Together with other groups, Greenpeace has developed a proposal showing that tropical deforestation in countries like Indonesia can be halted by 2015.

"We hope that given the converging interests of Southeast Asian countries on the issue of forest protection and climate change, the ASEAN would support our call for industrialized countries to provide at least USD 40 billion annually by 2020 to support efforts to halt deforestation in developing countries, as an immediate step in mitigating climate change," said Zelda Soriano, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Political Advisor.

The Greenpeace activity is among the 4,457 activities in 172 countries for today's Global Day of Action on climate change.

Other contacts: Tara Buakamsri, Campaign Manager Greenpeace Southeast Asia Tel + 66 89 476 9977 Lea Guerrero Regional Communications Tel +66 8 5070 5552 Wiriya Kingwatcharapong Media Campaigner Tel +66 89 487 0678