21st April 2021
Mr. John F. Kerry
United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate
Washington D.C., United States
Randy W. Berry, Ambassador, U.S. Embassy in Nepal
Maharajgunj, Kathmandu, Nepal
Dear Mr. Kerry
We would like to start by thanking President Biden’s commitment to the global climate movement and by congratulating the United States for rejoining the Paris Agreement. We also appreciate President Biden’s effort to organize the Leaders Summit on Climate, hence looking forward to a stronger concerted climate action. These are certainly first-hand examples of the Biden administration’s deep concern on the global climate crisis.
As much as we appreciate those efforts, truth be told, those were long overdue. The United States should have taken this leadership role long ago, but unfortunately, international cooperation on climate was deprioritized by the US for several years. The United States is currently one of the top emitters in the world, accounting for 15% of the global CO2 emission (IEA, 2018). It also holds the record of being the all time largest and worst GHG emitter on the planet if cumulative CO2 emission since 1750 is taken into account (CarbonBrief, 2019). Because of this, the US bears a greater imperative for curbing its CO2 output and a greater moral responsibility for the impacts of global warming, for which unfortunately, countries like Nepal are now suffering.
We believe it is time for the US to turn their backs on their polluting pasts and become true climate leaders by immediately ending all support for fossil fuel projects overseas. We welcome President Biden’s commitment to galvanize efforts by the major economies towards emissions reductions and keep the 1.5 global target degree within reach.
Nepal is facing huge economic suffering from the Climate crisis and extreme weather events. Latest reports reveal that estimated costs of the impacts is equivalent to 1.5–2% GDP/year, approximately US$270–360 million/year in 2013 prices and is much higher in extreme years, rising to 5% or more. Each passing year we have increased numbers and intense flood, drought, landslides, forest fire, decrease in agricultural productivity, displacement of the communities, among them are women, indigenous people, youth and people with disability, who are most impacted by the climate crisis. Undoubtedly, the suffering of the climate impacts is higher and irreversible every year in Nepal.
Nepal has been leading adaptation and resilience efforts and moving towards a low carbon development pathway and also called for global gathering “Sagarmatha sambad” for international cooperation among different states to tackle the crisis of our generation. We hope the Biden Administration will also make an effort to hear from countries that are not in the Climate Leaders Summit but are most vulnerable to the climate crisis. We look forward to see beginning of real leadership that the world needs from the US, specifically through the following demands:
- The United States must push up Global Climate Finance, which is falling far short of $100 billion pledges at Paris: The Annex-1 countries including the United States never met their pledge of providing $100 billion annually for adaptation and mitigation through the Green Climate Fund (GCF). This amount is not a grant or donation, it is the part of the reparations for the huge ecological debt developed countries owe to the developing nations. We demand our legitimate reparations from the United States and urge the Biden Administration will fulfill their commitment.
- We demand the US government to fulfill their fair shares of climate action based on equity and science. The US should set ambitious NDC targets and aim to achieve real zero by 2050, which can be done through full domestic decarbonization by 2030, and urgent delivery of climate finance for people and communities in the Global South, like Nepal.
- US financial institutions must stop funding fossil fuels and lead the fossil fuel divestment movement. Four US banks – JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citi Bank, and Bank of America – are the world’s four biggest lenders and underwriters to the fossil fuel industry since the Paris Agreement. These institutions are essentially undermining President Biden’s pledge to the Paris Agreement and leadership towards a decarbonized society. If we are to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, the US must end fossil fuel finance and lead efforts to divest from coal, oil and gas. Over a thousand institutions globally worth almost 8 trillion USD have committed to divest from the world’s biggest oil, coal and gas companies (org, 2021). Unfortunately, US investors and technology suppliers fall short on the global commitment list and are still continuing its business helping to expand fossil-fuel based power projects globally We urge the Biden administration to set policies geared towards the immediate withdrawal of all fossil fuel investments.
- US should take a leadership role for a global transition to a new clean energy economy: The US is home to one of the largest and fastest-growing renewable energy markets, with advanced technology innovations, creating job opportunities and boosting economic growth. We urge the US financiers and tech giants to get involved with renewable opportunities in Nepal to serve the mutual interests of both countries to build a decarbonized society.
It is indeed time to act and we the climate justice groups in the Global South, together with the rest of the world are watching and waiting for the US to lead the urgently needed Climate Action once and for all. .
- Digo Bikas Institute
- Environment Law Society, Nepal
- Indigenous Women’s Legal Awareness Group
- Jagaran Nepal
- Karnali Integrated Rural Development and Research Centre
- National Indigenous Disabled Women Association Nepal
- Power Shift Nepal
- Youth For Environment Education And Development Foundation