by Gaea Katreena Cabico – Philstar.com, 25 Sep 2021
MANILA, Philippines — Communities and movements in Asia who are bearing the brunt of a warming planet called on world leaders to act more forcefully against climate change by scaling up efforts to fully decarbonize by 2050 and delivering on climate finance obligations.
More than a hundred organizations from Asia issued the call on Saturday as world leaders attend the United Nations General Assembly this week.
Global South economies, which include many countries from Asia, bear the brunt of climate change, with warming temperatures and extreme weather events exacerbating social and economic impacts.
“We challenge all governments, especially the biggest historical and continuing emitters—your actions now and in the next few years are most crucial. Long term targets will mean nothing without these immediate actions,” said groups which include Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development, Greenpeace Southeast Asia, Philippine Movement for Climate Justice and 350.org Pilipinas.
The organizations called on all governments to immediately stop building new coal projects, domestically and overseas, as it is a “very critical step” toward a fossil fuel-free future.
At the UNGA, Chinese leader Xi Jinping announced that China—the biggest public backer of coal—would not build new coal-fired power projects overseas.
The Philippine energy department earlier called for a coal moratorium. However, several coal projects remain in the pipeline.
“Further, stopping coal expansion and the rapid phase out of existing coal energy must be accompanied by similar measures toward other fossil fuels. Fossil gas should not be considered as a transition fuel,” they said.
While the organizations welcomed announcement of wealthy nations to increase their climate finance contributions, they stressed that rich economies such as the United States and the European Union should “give more to cover their full share of paying for adaptation and loss and damage in the Global South.”
“Their climate finance obligations, the scale of need, and the reparations for climate debt owed to the South is way more than $100b,” the groups said.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier told developed countries to deliver on their climate finance pledges to poorer countries to help them deal with the catastrophic impacts of climate change as it is their “moral obligation that cannot be avoided.”
“World leaders and governments must act with much greater ambition and speed to fulfill their duties and obligations to people and the planet. We are running out of time,” the groups said.
Young people’s demands
Young people in the Philippines took to the streets on Friday to demand urgent action to avert the devastating climate change and call out the government’s inaction.
“Whether it’s the COVID-19 pandemic, or the climate crisis, or environmental protection of places like Manila Bay, the answer of our government has remained the same: policies and measures that are harmful for both the people and the planet,” said Xian Guevarra, Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines.
They urged the Duterte government to halt destructive policies and projects, and put people at the center of climate adaptation efforts.
Under the 2015 Paris Agreement, countries must limit the increase in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius. To do that, the world needs to slash global emissions in half by 2030, and to net-zero by 2050.
But the synthesis report released by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change on the climate pledges of 113 countries showed that the current contributions would warm the planet by 2.7 degrees Celsius.