Accountability and reparations in the face of climate emergency
The devastation that has been brought by Typhoon Kammuri/Tisoy is yet another unfortunate reminder of how the Philippines is affected by the climate crisis. This “new norm” is unacceptable not just for us Filipinos, but for all other countries that have been hit the hardest by the impacts of climate change.
We are one with the faith communities, the young people, indigenous peoples and the most vulnerable in emphasizing the need for true change in an era of climate emergency. We refuse to accept that once again, we are paying the price of carbon. It should be the polluters who are paying that price with their wealth, not our people with their lives.
We call on the delegates of the 25th Conference of Parties (COP25) United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to prioritize the adoption of policies truly aligned with the spirit of the Paris Agreement. We emphasize the need to urgently reduce greenhouse gas emissions as quickly as possible by phasing out fossil fuels, especially coal immediately, and enact a just transition towards renewable energy.
We also call for addressing loss and damage to be prioritized in COP25. The review of the performance of the Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage should lead to not only a renewed focus on addressing impacts of loss and damage, but also the enactment of measures to avert loss and damage, as provided for in the Paris Agreement. This could be accomplished through the establishment of financial flows to help the countries and communities at highest risk address, avoid, and minimize loss and damage.
The need for climate finance is also urgent for adaptation. We demand that high-income nations fulfill their commitment to collectively mobilize USD100 billion every year to support climate change adaptation by developing countries. It is not just a matter of environmental and social responsibility, but also a moral imperative to allow everyone to justly survive and thrive against this crisis. As Pope Francis said, “the climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all”.
This ecological sin is deadly. While we are in a climate emergency, we are called to work together; but polluters must pay and duty bearers be held accountable. Reparation at all levels is necessary which should lead to ecological conversion for our common home.
Recently, leaders of Philippine faith communities declared climate emergency calling for justice to be at the forefront of all actions taken to address climate change, that for every solution we plan and implement, no one is left behind; and further
… demand countries and corporations responsible for the climate crisis and other forms of environmental degradation for proper compensation to the communities most affected by the impacts of these phenomena, with a focus on addressing loss and damage.
… accept the reality of the common threat we face, the responsibility and the need for urgent and decisive action, and the imperative to change and unite with others to overcome this challenge.
Rodne R. Galicha
(Executive Director, Living Laudato Si’ Philippines)
(Photo credits: Cagayan Provincial Information Office and Kelly Madeja)