An open letter reached Zamaneh news, from a group of female political prisoners in Evin Prison in which the authors express their deep concerns about the environmental conditions in Iran as well as the planet, for which they’ve created six main demands. They have asked all Iranians to be diligent and realize such demands for a better future.
Narges Mohammadi, Sepideh Qolian, Nahid Taghavi, Fariba Kamalabadi, Maryam Hajhosseini, Vida Rabani, Faeze Hashemi, Niloufar Bayani, Sepideh Kashani, Mahvash Sabet, Zahra Zehtabchi, Fatemen Mosana, Sara Ahmadi, Raha Askarizdeh, Noushin Jafari, Hasti Amiri, Narges Zarifian, Zhila Makvandi, Mojgan Inanlou, Asal Mohammadi.
The environment is one of the most critical concerns of humanity, and many movements have formed around it as a significant global challenge. The “climate movement” has become one of the most influential and expansive of recent activism worldwide, with close ties to diverse aspects of human life.
Unequivocal evidence has proven that climate change is taking place due to human activity. Environmental protection is essential for our beloved country and the world and, therefore, cannot and should not be ignored.
Greenhouse gas (carbon dioxide, methane, etc.) emissions that result from burning fossil fuels (such as oil and gas), together with the destruction of natural habitats, have resulted in an unprecedented change in our planet’s climate and its consequent warming. This trend has extensive adverse effects on humans, animals, and plants.
The situation is dangerous to the extent that life on earth faces uncontrollable risks that are difficult to imagine.
We currently stand at a critical point; humanity’s actions during this decade will determine the path toward or away from a climate-induced catastrophe. At the same time, the Islamic Republic of Iran is making decisions about our country’s share in averting from the intensification of this crisis. According to the recent report of the special commission on Article 90 of the Iranian Parliament published on Feb 21, 2023 as well as an official statement made by the head of Iran’s Department of Environment.
*Mr. Ali Salajegheh, at the National Conference on Environmental Diplomacy (Feb 26, 2023), after a seven year long day, Iran’s membership in the Paris Agreement and the possibility of renewing the Nationally Determined Contribution of the country are being assessed.
In light of this critical development, we believe it is our responsibility to express our grave concern about the issue of Climate Change and the rights of future generations to a safe and healthy world and to bring attention to the fact that the current approach is threatening the future of the country and life on this planet. We must point out, with great regret, that Iran holds sixth place in the world as one of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases but also, the most vulnerable to the diverse impacts of climate change.
Greenhouse gas emissions in Iran have reached 678 million tons per year, matching those of France, Britain, Sweden, Norway, and Switzerland combined. At the same time, Iran is prone to droughts, sand and dust storms, floods, and other extreme weather events, all intensified by climate change, with devastating impacts on agriculture, the economy, drinking water, health, and other sectors.
The Paris Agreement was approved in 2015 at the 21st meeting of the members (COP21) in Paris under the framework of the United Nations Convention to Combat Climate Change (UNFCCC) and during which 195 countries of the world, including the Islamic Republic of Iran, committed to keeping the global temperature below 2 degrees Celsius, trying to limit it further to 1.5 degrees by the end of 2100. This action means reducing greenhouse gases by 45% by 2030 compared to 2010 and bringing them to zero by 2050. (i)
Iran signed this agreement in April 2016, but the parliament still needs to approve it, and therefore IRl has not officially become a member of the world agreement. (li)
Too much time has already been lost, and the international community has been unable to avoid catastrophes effectively. Yet, many countries in recent years have taken up more serious commitments, mainly under pressure from civil society’s climate movement. The I.R.I. has not only failed to act on its obligations but is also retreating from its already meager promises to continue developing the polluting industries of oil, gas, and petrochemicals. Instead of cutting down on emissions, we are now witnessing the creation of a 4 8 km? methane cloud in the south of Tehran from the Aradkuh waste disposal site. Methane is the cause of 30% of global warming. With 8500 kg of methane gases being emitted per hour, Aradkuh alone has become one of the world’s top three most significant sources of this dangerous greenhouse gas.
We, the female political prisoners and prisoners of belief in Evin, social, environmental, and political activists in diverse fields, mothers and grandmothers of future generations, at this moment, express our deep concern about the future of our children and our country. Despite the hardship and the suffocating problems of political, cultural, social, and other natures that cast their shadow on our lives, we demand firm national commitment and serious action to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement.
We ask all our fellow Iranians to consider the urgency of the climate crisis with a deep understanding of the issue and to include it as a vital part of their civic demands. By joining the global climate movement, rather than being part of the problem, we can become part of the solution.
In this regard, we believe that the following actions are both necessary and possible in the context of Iran while taking into account social and climate justice and supporting vulnerable communities as well as public inclusion in decision-making, especially the decision of women, youth, local communities, and ethnic minorities:
Moving away from fossil fuels and taking advantage of the country’s great potential in renewable energy (solar and wind).
Conservation and rehabilitation of ecosystems that absorb carbon dioxide ( forests, wetlands, Persian Gulf’s coral reefs, etc.).
Shifting to a low-carbon economy and climate-resilient development.
Reducing pollution, increasing energy efficiency, reducing natural gas leakage in production, and using clean technology.
Disaster risk reduction through ecosystem-based and other necessary approaches.
Concrete action towards adaptation of industry, agriculture, integrated water resource management, and other areas to inevitable impacts of climate change.
For Pirouz and all the children of Iran who have been deprived of healthy nature!
i Under the Paris Agreement, each country has its voluntary commitments. These are called Nationally Determined Contributions (N.D.C.s). When signing this agreement, I.R.Iran committed to a 4% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 2010 and an 8% decrease conditional on removing economic sanctions, clean technology transfer, carbon credits, etc. Both goals have yet to be reached.
i The planet’s average temperature has increased by 1.1
°C compared to preindustrial times. Unless immediate action is taken, we will reach a 2.4-6.5°C increase by the end of the century, conditions that humanity has never experienced. (Source: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 2022 report.)