MANILA, September 25, 2014—Days after tropical storm “Mario” flooded many parts of Luzon, members of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) stormed the gates of the United States (US) Embassy and the European Union (EU) office in Manila, demanding major greenhouse gas (GHG) emitters in the First World payment for their “crimes against the Earth” through “deep, drastic, and ambitious” cuts in their GHG emissions, and provision of reparations for their climate debt.
“We, climate justice activists and peoples from the most climate-affected communities, do not hope and pray for promises and charity from these developed countries. We demand payment because they are the ones mainly responsible for the crisis with all their green-house-gas pollution since the industrial revolution.” said Gerry Arances, national coordinator of PMCJ.
Profit-making developed countries
In a statement, PMCJ said its action was in solidarity with the global actions dubbed “People’s Climate March” during which world leaders gathered in New York City for the United Nations Climate Summit called by the Ban Ki Moon Summit.
The People’s Climate March, said to be the “largest climate march in history”, was a mobilization of hundreds of thousands of people in New York City and in other parts of the globe.
The summit kicked off with a series of speeches in which heads of states flaunted their plans of action for climate.
“What the successful People’s Climate March has shown to the world is that we can do it. … System change, not climate change! We demand climate justice now!” said Arances.
PMCJ shared that almost ninety percent of the GHG emissions are from the “unbridled” profit-making activities of developed
countries, led by the US and the EU, in the span of one hundred years. The US and EU alone emitted 58% of the total carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere from 1900 to 1999.
Arances explained, “We cannot just let them get away with it. Multinational corporations have ‘enriched’ themselves at the expense of
our climate and the world’s people. The US and EU’s excessive GHG emissions must stop now. The emissions cuts must be deep and drastic or else we will not survive the rising temperature.”
PMCJ said “much-needed and ambitious” emissions cut target should start with the radical phase-out of dirty and harmful fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas, 80% of which, scientists point out, should be left underground in order to avert a 1.5-degree increase in global temperatures.
The group also appeals to the US and EU to pay reparation through financing and technology transfer, which will lead countries, including the Philippines to a “comprehensive energy transformation”.
According to PMCJ, the Philippines can have a radical shift with around 200,000 MW RE potential and a law on renewable energy in place.
“The US and other developed countries must provide the necessary climate finance for the Philippines and other developing countries to undergo such a transition. This recognizes not only their historical responsibility but the commitments to which they acceded 20 years ago,” added Pedrosa.
PMCJ believes climate solutions have to be rolled out immediately considering the country regularly suffers from the impact of climate change, which the group noted “only gets worse”.
Freedom from Debt Coalition vice-president James Matthew Miraflor stressed funds need to come in for resilience-building and for the immediate implementation of appropriate adaptation programs.
“As our experience brought by Typhoon Yolanda [has taught], these climate funds is a matter of life and death,” Miraflor noted.
In Leyte and Samar, a simultaneous climate walk and program will take place in five places: Visayas State University (VSU) in Baybay City, Leyte; Eastern Visayas State University (EVSU) in Tacloban City; Anibong in Tacloban City; McArthur, Leyte; and inManicani Island, Guiuan, Eastern Samar. (Raymond A. Sebastián)