Philstar Global-Climate activists on Wednesday called on Southeast Asian leaders to ramp up the shift away from fossil fuels and the pivot toward renewable energy sources such as wind and solar to avert climate “catastrophe.”

Campaigners across Asia said the member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations should strengthen their cooperation for a just energy transition as they gather in Jakarta, Indonesia for the 43rd ASEAN summit.

Lidy Nacpil, coordinator of Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development, stressed that a “direct, swift, equitable and just” transition to renewable energy systems will not only ensure the energy access of communities but also prevent climate catastrophe.

“[ASEAN member states] must stop the expansion of gas energy in the region and the promotion of fossil-based technologies that only serve to legitimize continued fossil fuel extraction and use of coal-fired power plants,” Nacpil said.

The Filipino climate activist also urged ASEAN to “stand up against Japan’s dirty energy and false solutions strategy for the region.”

Japan is a major investor of gas projects in Asia as well as fossil-based technologies such as ammonia co-firing that experts say prolong the use of coal-fired power plants.

Trend Asia energy campaigner Novita Indri added that the deterioration of air quality in Jakarta and extreme weather events in Asia “indicate the urgent need for the region to transition from fossil fuels like coal and gas to clean energy and keep warming within the 1.5 degrees Celsius threshold.”

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Photo by Trend Asia