1. Declaration of climate emergency
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 1.5 Report released last year highlights that we have to make drastic emissions cuts to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees, the safe upper limit wherein life as we know it will still be possible. We have to make these reductions by 2030, which gives us 10 years left to mobilize all our resources and steer political will into action.
As one of the most vulnerable countries to climate impacts, the Philippines can lead the way by sounding the alarm for other countries. Declaring officially that we are in a state of climate emergency will send policy signals that will jumpstart a systemic shift into a sustainably-powered and resilient economy.
2. Phase out coal and other fossil fuels in the Philippines’ energy supply chain.
Greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel projects primarily caused the climate crisis. In 2013, it was found that just 90 companies are responsible for about 70% of historical emissions.
Coal-fired power plants, the primary source of the country’s growing energy needs, not only contribute largely to carbon pollution but also endanger local communities’ health, human rights and well-being.
The Philippines can’t claim to be a climate leader if we keep building fossil fuel projects that evidently cause climate breakdown and simultaneously degrade the quality of life of Filipinos who are living with these projects in their very backyards.
It’s time to revoke the social license of the fossil fuel industry who have for years reaped profits at the expense of many. We urge our government to strike coal from our development agenda and opt for clean energy sources to power our future.
3. Just transition to 100% renewable energy that secures jobs and livelihoods
We urge the Philippine government to implement a fast and just transition to 100% renewable energy by 2030, and to do so while ensuring the jobs and livelihoods, especially that of energy industry workers.
This transition must be inclusive and protective of the welfare of people from all walks of life.
4. Safeguard the rights of indigenous peoples and environmental defenders
In 2018, the Philippines was named the most dangerous country for environmental defenders with 30 recorded killings throughout the year.
Freedom of speech and dissent are the hallmarks of a thriving democracy. The right to criticize governments and corporations for their environmental sins must be protected by the state.
Likewise, the rights of indigenous people must be protected at all costs, including securing their free and prior informed consent for all future projects.
5. Strengthen the country’s adaptation and resilience strategies by overhauling our CCA – DRRM policies
The Philippines has enacted some of the world’s most progressive laws on CCA – DRRM mainly because we are the third most disaster-prone country in the world. (Citation needed)
In the age of the climate emergency, there is a crucial need for continued further research and improvement in the implementation of these laws as we are dealing with the new normal of extreme weather events and slow-onset impacts.
6. Support the ambition of Philippine cities to implement bold climate solutions
While highly vulnerable to climate impacts, Philippine cities are at the forefront of climate action. They are making strides in implementing bold climate solutions to improve mobility, deploy decentralized renewables, increase waste diversion, and enhance building energy efficiency. As Philippine cities continue to grow and expand rapidly, they need national support to be able to achieve deep emissions cuts as part of their local development pathway. We need to start designing cities made for people, not cars.
With increasing climate ambition and commitment at the local level, Philippine cities need support to develop, manage and reduce their carbon footprint. There is a crucial need to enhance the technical capacities of cities to develop and manage their greenhouse gas inventory. Philippine cities also need greater technical and financial support to develop and implement low carbon projects such as the solarization of public buildings, pedestrian and cycling infrastructures, mass transit systems, enhanced green building codes, and green urban spaces.