contributed to The Pamalakaya Times
Manila, Philippines-On the first day of the international climate talks, militant and environmental groups marched towards the US embassy to hold accountable the world’s biggest polluters, headed by the United States and demand adequate financial and appropriate technological adaptation support for climate change vulnerable countries and communities.
From December 7-18, high level officials and representatives from all over the world will gather in Copenhagen, Denmark for the 15th Conference of Parties (COP15) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) where a binding climate deal should be sealed. However the leaders of developed countries headed by US President Obama have announced that it is unrealistic to expect a climate deal in Copenhagen given the short amount of time.
“This foot dragging and sabotage by the US and other responsible countries should be condemned. Such inaction and the false solutions they continue to peddle equates to greater devastation and suffering from the effects of climate change by peasants, workers, indigenous peoples, fisherfolk, women, children, urban poor, and other vulnerable and marginalized sectors ,” said Giovanni Tapang, chairperson of the Advocates for Science and Technology for the People (AGHAM).
According to Frances Quimpo, coordinator of the international climate formation, People’s Action on Climate Change (PACC), “it is a great injustice that it is the poor who are suffering the most while it is the industrialized countries that account for 80% of the historical greenhouse gases emission with US primarily responsible for 30% of the global carbon emissions.”
“This inequality has long been recognized by the international community, yet 17 years of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and eight years of the Kyoto Protocol’s existence have failed and done little to abate the steeply-rising global greenhouse gas emissions and ease the lives of the poor, she said. The PACC was the climate group which staged daily mass actions at the Bangkok Climate Talks last October 2009.
“The UN climate negotiations have exposed the callous greed of the industrialized countries and the persistence of corporate and financial enterprise interests that dominate, command and dictate the discussions agenda according to their interests. For one, they are pushing for market-based mechanisms and technological fixes instead of real and structural solutions that strike at the root causes of climate change,” said Dr. Tapang.
Based on the recommendations of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), to enable to avert catastrophic effect of global warming, industrialized countries need to reduce GHG emissions by more than 25-40% based on 1990 level by not later than 2020. The Kyoto Protocol calls for a mere 5% cut in GHG emissions below 1990 level yet the US have not ratified it until now. What President Obama announced is a 17% cut of US greenhouse gas emissions below 2005 levels by 2020, about 3 percent below the 1990 and far below the cut outlined by the UN climate panel.
According to the statement of Philippine Climate Watch Alliance (PCWA), while it is the industrialized countries that are primarily responsible for the rapid destruction of environment and the accelerated GHG emissions, the governments of developing countries who impede the genuine development of the world’s poor and marginalized communities and sectors by facilitating the plunder of the countries’ resources must also be held responsible.
“The Arroyo administration keeps on promoting and pursuing neo-liberal policies in strategic sectors, such as energy, mining, forestry, agriculture, and trade, which favors and benefits the foreign corperations but worsens the vulnerability of local communities. In addition, the Philippine government lacks genuine policies and programs to mitigate climate change and help communities adapt to its impacts,” said Meggie Nolasco, spokesperson of PCWA.
“To top it all, the Arroyo government is sending off a team of government junketeers whose purpose is to beg for crumbs from Annex 1 government in exchange for a weakened position in the climate negotiations,” said Nolasco. The Philippine president on the eve of Hillary Clinton’s visit, released a statement that it is not insisting on deep and early cuts in the Copenhagen negotiations, when the Philippines, along with other developing and vulnerable countries have been reeling from climate change impacts due to the havoc wrought by Annex 1 countries.
The protesters headed by PCWA, Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment, AGHAM and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) with other multi-sectoral organizations are calling on the international community to push for a just and equitable treaty and concrete actions that recognizes that the climate crisis is rooted and is continuously worsened by the unsustainable, wasteful and profit-oriented production of the world’s richest economies.
“We are not optimistic that an international agreement will be arrived at in Copenhagen as long as the powerful nations, big corporation and corrupt government officials, whose sole purpose is to water down or shoot down any important climate measures and continue with business-as-usual practices remain inside the negotiations,” said Meggie Nolasco, spokesperson of Philippine Climate Watch Alliance (PCWA).
She further averred, “ Together with marginalized communities and civil society organizations from all over the world, we are taking our postions and demands to the streets in fighting this oppressive system and the false solutions that are perpetruated by the climate offenders. “