Urgent demands for a very urgent climate action

November 29, 2015


Environmental groups join the Global Climate Solidarity Prayer March.

Environmental groups join the Global Climate Solidarity Prayer March. Image from Kathy Yamzon

Activist scientist group AGHAM– Advocates of Science and Technology for the People joined the Global Climate Solidarity Prayer March this Sunday, November 29. The march is in preparation to the upcoming COP21 or the 21st Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to be held in Paris from November 30 to December 11, 2015. It is supposedly to serve as a bridge after the expiration of the Kyoto Protocol and a longer-term agreement from 2020 onwards.

“Urgent action is needed to prevent irreversible global warming. Temperatures are likely to rise more than 1.5 degrees Celsius even with best-effort scenarios in reducing greenhouse gases. Twenty years after the UNFCCC, the levels of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in our atmosphere continues to increase and has recently reached record levels. We have surpassed the hottest years on record and 2015 is on its way to becoming the hottest ever yet,” said Dr. Giovanni Tapang, chairperson of AGHAM.

“We have three demands from the Philippine government. First, the government should revoke its go signal to construct 52 coal-fired power plants. It promises to cut back the country’s GHG emissions by 2030. But how will it be able to realistically do so if it is these same coal-fired power plants are among the top polluters and sources of man-made GHGs?,” Tapang asked.

“In reality, these coal plants will increase our energy dependency to dirty fossil fuels and increase by 50% our carbon emissions from coal,” Dr. Tapang pointed out. In 2010, the Philippines emitted 24,947 kilotons of carbon from coal, which is 30% of total carbon emissions.

“Second, the Philippine government should disallow the entry and operations of large-scale mining TNCs which destroy the environment and render our population more vulnerable to disasters. Lastly, we call for justice for the victims and survivors of Yolanda and other disasters. The increasing strength of these typhoons has laid bare the vulnerability of our people to climate hazards. It is our people who suffer from climate change effects,” explained Dr. Tapang.

“Disasters happen when people can no longer cope with hazards. The people are more vulnerable to hazards because of different contributing factors such as poverty, landlessness, joblessness, and government corruption. Climate change responses must benefit the poor foremost, not only a few companies or politicians. To truly address climate change, we need to address the economic policies that keep our people poor and without the capacity to face increased hazards,” added Dr. Tapang.

“We also have two demands from the world leaders who will be in France this week. We have to hold accountable and set to task the large industrialized countries who have historically contributed to the levels of greenhouse gases in order for them to reduce their emissions. We also need to ensure that developing countries that are most vulnerable to climate change, such as the Philippines, are ready for their effects that are already being felt,” Dr. Tapang said.

“My last call is for everyone: We all need to mobilize and stand together to show that we need to change the existing system of production geared for profit, resist plunder of our natural resources for export and make our collective voices heard for social justice amidst climate change,” stressed Dr. Tapang.

Agham will also join the Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment, the Global Peoples Surge, and the People’s Action Against Climate Change in a Bike and Run for Climate Justice to mark the end of the climate talks in Paris on December 13.###

Reference: Giovanni Tapang, PhD; 09173087832