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Leaders urged: Walk the ‘climate talk’

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(L-R) Br. Angel Cortez, OFM, NCR regional coordinator, Ecological Justice Interfaith Movement (EcoJIM); Gerry Arances, national coordinator, Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ); Max de Mesa, chair, Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocate (PAHRA); Fr. Dexter Toledo, OFM, national coordinator, Ecological Justice Interfaith Movement (EcoJim); Sr. Cres Lucero, SFIC, Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP) – JPIC; Fr. John Leydon, Global Catholic Climate Change Movement (GCCM); and Lidy Nakpil, regional coordinator, Asian Peoples Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD). (Photo: EcoJIM)

QUEZON City, Dec. 11, 2015 – Religious priests and brothers engaged in the issue of climate justice and energy transformation have joined civil society groups in urging the international community to unite in reaching just agreements in the ongoing climate talks in Paris, stressing the importance of translating positions of world governments to real policy solutions.

“The call to protect our common home is not only addressed to our local leaders, but to leaders of the world,” said Bro. Angel Cortez, OFM of the Ecological Justice Interfaith Movement (EcoJIM).

Cry of the earth, the poor

The Franciscan friar pointed out the need for a real climate deal to heed the “cry of the poor” which is also the “cry of the earth,” as articulated in Pope Francis’ encyclical “Laudato Si’.”

For her part, Gina Lopez of Bantay Kalikasan highlighted the dangers of proliferating coal as an energy source, adding that the mineral is expensive and can never be clean.

According to her, the cost of coal is the livelihood of indigent communities and indigenous peoples (IP) who rely on agriculture and fisheries for survival.

‘Insincere’ climate position

“While President Aquino has presented himself to be a champion of vulnerable peoples, his energy policy tells us otherwise,” stressed Leody de Guzman of the Power for People Coalition (P4P).

She pointed out that the approval of 59 coal powerplants and 118 mining permits under the Aquino administration compromises the people and proves that his climate position is insincere.

In October, residents of Semirara Island, Zambales, Bataan, and Quezon flocked Malacañang requesting a dialogue with the President on the effects of coal operations to their health, environment, and livelihood, but to no avail. (Raymond A. Sebastián / CBCP News)


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