Saturday, April 1, 2023: An open letter from a group of female political prisoners in Evin Prison has reached Zamaneh in which the authors express their deep concerns about the environmental conditions in Iran as well as in the planet and make six main demands. They have asked all Iranians to be diligent to realize such demands for a better future.
An open letter from women political prisoners in Iran’s Evin prison:
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 is at 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 deciding about our country’s share in averting intensifying this crisis. According to the recent report of the special commission on Article 90 of the Iranian Parliament (Feb 21, 2023) and the official statement of Mr. Salajaghe, the head of the Department of Environment, at the National Conference on Environmental Diplomacy (Feb 26, 2023), Iran’s membership in the Paris Agreement- after a long seven years delay – 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’s holding sixth place in the world is not only one of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases but also are at 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 that by the end of 2100 Limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius and try to limit it to 1.5 degrees. 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 IRI has not officially become a member of the world agreement. (ii)
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 witnesses to the creation of a 4.8 km2 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 per hour of methane emissions, Aradkuh alone has become one of the world’s 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.
ii 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.)
Narges Mohamadi, Sepideh Gholian, Nahid Taghavi, Fariba Kamalabadi, Maryam Hajhosseini, Vida Rabani, Faeze Hashemi, Niloufar Bayani, Sepideh Kashani, Mahvash Sabet, Zahra Zehtabchi, Fatemeh Mosana, Sara Ahmadi, Raha Askarizdeh, Noushin Jaafari, Hasti Amiri, Narges Zarifian, Zhila Makvandi, Mojgan Inanlou, Asal Mohammadi
To join the signatories, please click on this link.
i– Under the Paris Agreement, each country has its own voluntary commitments. These are called Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). 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. Neither goal has been reached.
ii– The planet’s average temperature has already increased by 1.1 °C compared to preindustrial times and unless immediate action is taken, we are on track to 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.)
Second publication by courtesy of Radio Zamaneh, Original-Text