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Philippine green activists call for 'daring' climate deal in Paris

Coal, fossil fuel comprise 80 percent of the archipelago's upcoming energy projects

Joe Torres, Manila

Joe Torres, Manila

Published: December 01, 2015 04:03 AM GMT

Updated: December 01, 2015 02:48 PM GMT

Philippine green activists call for 'daring' climate deal in Paris

Faith groups and environmental activists join the Global Climate March in Manila. (Photo by Mike Taboy)

Faith groups and environmental activists in the Philippines are calling for "comprehensive, relevant, and daring agreements" to address the root causes of rising average global temperatures. 

As world leaders opened climate talks in Paris on Nov. 30, church-based and environmental groups in Manila called for the ratification of a climate change agreement that "redresses the historical debt and injustice to marginalized and affected peoples and communities."

"We add our voices to the cries of the environment and the cries of the poor," said Father Ben Alforque, convener of the faith-based group Stewards of Creation. 

"It is imperative that we speak truth," the priest said, adding that governments and corporations from developed and highly industrialized countries are the top-most producers of greenhouse gases. 

"The environment and the poor call for justice as the impacts of climate change continue to hammer down on both our ecosystems and communities long neglected, abused, and marginalized," said Alforque.

Thousands of faith-based institutions and environmental activists staged their version of the Global Climate March in Manila on Nov. 28 and 29 to dramatize their call for "climate justice."

"We are in the throes of a historical juncture that is irreversible if we do not act now and acknowledge that each person or country has varied responsibility to the destruction of environment," said Yolly Esguerra, coordinator of the Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc.

"This is not only about generosity or compassion. This is about justice," said Esguerra.

Father Edu Gariguez, of the bishops’ social action secretariat, described the climate march as "Laudato si’ in action."

"The Holy Father told us that he wants the church to go to the streets. We did. And we will do it again to show our care for our common home, to protect the environment we live in," said Gariguez.

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Environmental activists in the Philippines calls for action on climate change. (Photo by PMPI/Amor J. Tan Singco)

 

Environmental activists under the Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment called on Filipinos to "know the culprits in the war against the climate crisis."

"It is time to finally draw the line on who are the climate criminals and who are the climate champions," said Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of Kalikasan.

He blamed "corporate lobbyists, opportunists, bureaucrat capitalists" and Philippine President Benigno Aquino for "contributing to the sabotage of the negotiations for a new climate protocol."

Aquino will be having a three-minute talk at the 21st Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.  

At COP 21, which the meeting is known as, the committed emissions reduction pledges through the Intended Nationally-Determined Contributions of virtually all the top 20 climate polluter countries have been computed to be either a negligible 1 percent, or will actually result into emissions increases.

Meanwhile, the Green Climate Fund setup by the U.N. to facilitate climate financing for poor and vulnerable countries has less than US$10 billion in pledges from developed nations, a far cry from the target US$100 billion. 

In the Philippines, coal and other fossil fuel power projects in the pipeline comprise more than 80 percent of all upcoming energy projects.

The protest marches in the Philippines was part of a global bid by the global climate justice movement to influence the Paris negotiations over a new international climate agreement.

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