We – representing the generation of young climate and environmental activists – urge all Public Financial Institutions around the globe, virtually gathered at the Finance in Common Summit, November 9-12, to establish a deadline to stop using the people’s money to finance fossil fuels.
As the ones who bear the worst costs of climate breakdown right now and for years to come, we demand world leaders to ensure policies towards protecting our environment from all forms of pollution and exploitation. They must ensure we are breathing clean air and drinking clean water, and have our right to a healthy environment as we continue to fight for climate justice.
While our countries are focused on recovering the economy, we must ensure that environmental and social criteria are not left behind. The first step is for the countries of the global North to understand that they are the most responsible for the climate crisis, which is also a social crisis. For this reason it will always be more cruel to people in the most vulnerable areas of the global South, because we are the ones who suffer most of its consequences. It is time to change the narrative and put the focus on the Most Affected People and Areas (MAPA).
It is high time that the global North unconditionally pays reparations to the most affected people for the historic injustices we have suffered. The least affected are often those who have contributed the most to the climate crisis and have fueled climate denialism throughout history.
Any scenario in which the climate crisis does not become the worst catastrophe in the history of the world foresees a complete transition to sustainable and egalitarian economic systems, with energy grids based on just and sustainable renewable sources, and that our nature and ecosystems remain intact. It is not an option.
Public financial institutions and development banks giving loans to finance fossil fuel projects is a double insult to people. Instead of paving the way for the just transition towards the future we all need, they are exacerbating climate chaos and allowing more illegitimate debt which our generation will have to pay for with our lives.
We are fed up with having to pay for deliberate greed fueling the climate crisis. Typhoon Goni, the strongest typhoon on the planet this year affected hundreds of thousands of people in the Philippines, leaving us homeless, hungry, and cold. The flooding in Bihar, India displaced 7 Million people. We are amidst a pandemic and 783 Million people in Africa and 76 Million People in India don’t have a safe water supply, and now we are also expecting hurricane Eta to bring destruction upon Central America.
This year needs to be a turning point. We must use the response to this pandemic to begin our just and sustainable transition. This includes a debt standstill for the countries with the poorest economies as a first step of many, as well as an immediate stop to subsidizing and investing in fossil fuels, and the promotion of locally adapted sustainable recovery measures.
Until the current exploitative and hyper-extractive system is changed, we will keep fighting for climate justice, for our lives and for the lives that have been taken away. Firm commitments on the part of public financial institutions during the Finance in Common Summit are critical to manage the transition towards a low carbon economy, and will help unleash private investment towards the clean energy future we all want.
To the ones controlling our money, we say: if you don’t want to do what is just, then do what is necessary. We are not fighting for the planet, we are fighting for our lives. World leaders, take us seriously: we need climate justice today, not tomorrow.
Help us build our future. Do not destroy it. We are counting on you.
Mitzi Jonelle Tan – Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines
Disha A Ravi – Fridays For Future India
Laura Veronica Muñoz – Fridays For future Colombia
Eyal Weintraub – Jóvenes Por El Clima Argentina
Nicole Becker – Jóvenes por El Clima Argentina
Kevin Mtai – Africa Continental Coordinator Earth Uprising