September 2nd Press Conference
In a Time of Climate Disaster, We Want to Live.
In 2020, the daily lives of the people were halted for three consecutive seasons due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Monsoon continued for 54 days and heavy rainfalls and landslides left numerous victims behind. In between consecutive typhoons were smothering heatwaves that pained many. Disaster alerts have become a daily routine. Yes, we are already living in a disaster. It is not a disaster that will end in a year or two. This is why we call this awful virus, this monsoon downpour, and this disaster that we are living through, what it is: a Climate Crisis.
The warning signals are getting stronger by the day. It isn’t even worth citing Heinrich’s law that for every catastrophe there are three hundred events that occurs without getting noticed. We have already witnessed an abundance of scientific findings, extreme climate events, and outbreaks of new diseases. Now is the time to respond to these warning messages. This crisis will consume all living beings on Earth, regardless of who or what it is. But the damage and pain will not be evenly distributed. The weakest and the most fragile lifeforms will fall first as others reap profits off of this catastrophe—again. The unequal impacts of the climate crisis will pierce through social inequalities, and humanity’s dream of a just, equal, and safe life will fall helplessly in front of it.
It is now time to understand the message mother Earth is sending us. Those who are responsible for letting the world come to this point have an obligation to answer. We have less than eight years to keep the temperature rise of our planet within 1.5°C. This year, in 2020, all countries are scheduled to submit their GHG reduction plans in accordance with the Paris Agreement. If this homework is done improperly, all that awaits is an unprecedented catastrophe. The South Korean government has constantly procrastinated in the past and is still blowing off its homework. Last-minute cramming is impossible in the era of climate crisis, yet the government’s concrete targets and goals are nowhere to be seen. The South Korean version of a “Green New Deal” may sound hopeful, yet it floats aimlessly amid the climate crisis. There is no plan to enhance the 2030 GHG reduction target that lags embarrassing behind global standards or a 2050 zero-emission target that might not even be enough. Instead, this government continues to build coal powerplants and shamelessly exports them to other countries. Nobody listens to the voices of the younger generation, workers, farmers, and women who are disproportionately affected by the climate crisis.
2020 will be the year that decides the fate of our planet and our future. And climate action has already begun. The UK’s Extinction Rebellion has launched its September Rebellion; Greta Thunberg and the School Strike for Climate is organizing a global action this month. The South Korean government is expected to submit its 2030 GHG reduction target and Low-Emission Development Strategy (LEDS) to the United Nations. The National Council on Climate and Air Quality will deliver a recommendation to determine when to turn off the coal powerplants. However, a Climate Crisis Declaration as well as the task of setting up the necessary institutional framework to counter the climate crisis, is still in its baby steps in the National Assembly. This is not just one of the innumerous government policies that we are talking about, but a touchstone that will separate whether we can survive or not.
This September, Climate Crisis Emergency Action will launch a chain of actions to fight the climate crisis and to call for climate justice. We intend to look directed at the root causes of the pandemic, heavy rainfalls, typhoons, and heatwaves. We are determined to move away from the system that has exploited our limited natural resources and has sacrificed the weak and the vulnerable to seek infinite economic growth. We will press forward to find a new path toward a meaningful transformation. We will hold hands with all citizens who seek survival and stand in solidarity with all sectors, regions, and organizations to create a safe life free from climate disaster and climate inequality. In spite of the pandemic situation that is hampering our action, we will bring our wisdom and power together to stop a bigger crisis that will otherwise shatter our way of life. Because we want to live in this loving planet, and because we must survive.
- The National Assembly must declare a climate emergency.
- The government must set a 2030 GHG reduction target consistent with the 1.5°C-goal.
- The government must create a 2050 zero-emission plan.
- Stop building coal powerplants, scrap foreign coal investments, and submit a roadmap for a coal-free future.
- Strengthen the social safety net amid climate disasters and prepare measures for the realization of climate justice.
September 2nd, 2020
Climate Crisis Emergency Action
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