The Azerbaijan State News Agency

POLITICS

Azerbaijani NGOs send open letter to US congressmen

Baku, June 3, AZERTAC

Azerbaijan's non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have sent an open letter to US congressmen.

AZERTAC presents the letter:

“We, the representatives of Civil Society of Azerbaijan, would like, first of all, to extend our heartfelt thanks to US Congressmen by sending an open letter to them, for their interest in environmental issues, particularly in the chairmanship of Azerbaijan in COP29.

A 26-member group of the U.S. Congress consisting of 535 members (including 3 members from the 100-member Senate and 23-members from 435-member House of Representatives) addressed a letter to the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the Senior Advisor to the U.S. President John Podesta on May 13, 2024, attempting to smear Azerbaijan's chairmanship of COP29 with unfounded and absurd allegations.

The immediate understanding of the absurd nature of this letter in the White House can be seen from the messages addressed to Azerbaijan by both Blinken and Biden after reading it. Secretary of State Blinken stated that U.S. welcomes the fact that Azerbaijan is hosting COP29, while President Biden said that the U.S. is ready to support Azerbaijan in the successful hosting of the event.

Considering this, maybe there was no need to write such an open letter to US Congressmen at all. However, taking into account the passion some Congressmen demonstrated about environmental issues, we would not save them some recommendations. We believe that these tips can be useful also, for the editors of the Financial Times, which has recently become a Tribune of anti-Azerbaijani “hate speech”, in finding not only fiction, but also some real topics:

1. It is a mere fact that the United States is a leader country in the world among those which mostly polluting the environment. Of course, it does not do it willingly, all it happens due to its huge economy and industries. Congressmen who "take care of humanity's environmental issues" can come up with concrete proposals and program projects to mitigate these impacts. They can also ask the US government why COP, the largest event to combat climate change, has never been held in the United States. In the UN Framework Convention on climate change, the term “historical responsibility” refers to the amount of waste emitted by countries in the period after the beginning of industrialization from 1750 until present, and the historical responsibility of each state defined accordingly. The historical responsibility of the United States for the volume of carbon emissions is more than 430 billion tons. This is the highest indicator in the world. Those congressmen could find courage and articulate these statistics to those who ordered this letter before signing the petition, and then they would not have found themselves in the current situation;

2. The United States ranks first place in oil production around the world. The US produces 13 million barrels of oil per day, which accounts around 15% of the volume in the world. This does not include oil produced by US companies in foreign countries. We wonder why these congressmen don't think about why the US spends less on climate change measures per capita than the European Union and other developed countries, or why they don't question the local government about it?! The United States, along with other developed countries, has made international commitments to provide financial and technical support to developing countries to combat climate change. However, not even 10% of these obligations are fulfilled by the United States. This may be another good topic for congressmen;

3. In the climate change crisis existing in the world, coal has an exceptional share as the dirtiest type of fuel, and gas emissions that produce a thermal effect are most often emitted from the processes of production, storage, transportation and burning it. It should be noted with regret that coal is still used as fuel in the United States, which has a great historical responsibility to humanity. The US has historically been the largest coal-producing country. In 2022, the US produced 540 million tons of coal per year, ranking 4th in the world. Historically, coal has not been produced in Azerbaijan. For more than 10 years, the use of fuel oil in Azerbaijan has dropped to almost zero, and now only natural gas is used as the cleanest fuel. This has already contributed the fulfillment of Azerbaijan's obligations under international agreements which up to 70%. Incidentally, the US also holds a leading position in the world in the production of compressed liquid fuel, which is even more environmentally polluted than conventional gas;

4. As a member of the OPEC+ platform, Azerbaijan is setting an example to the world that oil and gas countries should be at the forefront of solving climate change issues. It is no coincidence that this time, the international community unanimously entrusted the hosting of COP29 to Azerbaijan, which is also demonstrates the attitude and sympathy of the world for Azerbaijan's green energy policy. Judging a country for having rich oil and gas reserves does not fit into common sense. Azerbaijani provides stable supply oil and gas to European markets for many years to come. Half of Azerbaijan's natural gas exports - 12 billion cubic meters - go to the European Union Market, in the next 3 years this figure will reach 20 billion cubic meters at the request of the European Commission. Azerbaijani gas has prevented the destruction of valuable forest resources, which are closely connected with the global climate system to meet energy needs in Europe and has made it possible to preserve them. It is not understandable that instead of thanking Azerbaijan for this responsible behavior, US Congressmen try to condemn it. The displayed prejudice is also, a clear disrespect for the position of the international community, which unanimously supported Azerbaijan at COP29;

5. Azerbaijan announced its new energy strategy long before the issue of hosting COP29. It has already started huge projects on the green transition. In the next 6 years, Azerbaijan's solar and wind energy will amount to 5,000 megawatts (5 gigawatts). There will be an opportunity to export 4 gigawatts green energy to Europe and the proven reserves of offshore wind energy are 157 gigawatts. This explains the green energy potential of Azerbaijan. We wonder why U.S. congressmen, who behave like "environmentalists" don't talk about it. Azerbaijan has declared Karabakh, East Zangezur, and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic as green energy zones. In fact, Azerbaijan, as a developing country, sends a wise message to the world at a time when the window of opportunity to keep global warming below 2°C is narrowing, and the opportunity to keep it at 1.5°C is running out. The essence of the message is clear: in modern times, when no country is insured against climate threats, the catastrophe that global climate changes can cause can only be prevented thanks to global solidarity, green thinking;

6. 26 US Congressmen behave like 26 Baku Commissioners, who existed in history and made their names due to their activities against Azerbaijan. On another note, one of them was the executioner Stepan Shaumyan, who shed the blood of the Azerbaijani people. Like Shaumyan, "Nagorno-Karabakh" and "Stepanakert", which was supposedly declared the "capital" in his honor, no longer exist. Azerbaijan has restored historical justice. If the U.S. congressmen who signed the petition want to care for Karabakh, first of all, let them talk about the nature destroyed by Armenia in Karabakh, cut down trees, polluted rivers, and ecosystems razed to the ground. We did not see these 26 US congressmen protesting when a metallurgical plant was built in Arazdeyan, bordering the Republic of Azerbaijan, in violation of all international environmental norms, including the Espoo Convention, with the investment of a US company. Even today, the transboundary rivers of Azerbaijan are facing the environmental consequences of Armenia's illegal mining activities. We have never heard a single protest from US congressmen in this regard. Is this your attitude to nature?

So, the essence of your petition is clear to us. You are making unsuccessful attempts to hide the existing framework of developed countries, which bear the main historical responsibility for global climate change, mislead the world community by manipulating them, and place the main blame on small oil and gas producing countries.

Azerbaijan's slogan for COP29 is “In solidarity for a Green World!". We invite you to COP29, come and see everything with your own eyes. Hundreds of foreign NGOs and civil society institutions welcoming Azerbaijan's struggle with climate change, are making a series of statements these days. They welcome and appreciate the achievements of Azerbaijan as a host country for COP29 in a short time. Just like Blinken and Biden you're addressing!

If you need further recommendations, please, do not hesitate to let us know. We will be delighted to provide them!”

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