Statement during the launching of the 5th Annual Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, March 31, 2014

 The release of the Fifth Annual Report (AR5) by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) emphasizes the threat to food security of a warmer world and that climate impacts will increase poverty around the world. For vulnerable countries like the Philippines that have experienced extreme climate disasters like typhoon Yolanda, it is already known by affected communities especially survivors from typhoon Yolanda that climate change is happening.

 The AR5 report stressed that there will be massive impact on food security driving global hunger in tropical countries and developing countries like the Philippines. According to the report, there will be “large and irreversible shifts” in marine species while food and farming will have negative impacts with or without adaptation measures. It also explained that food prices will increase with disproportionate impact to poor communities and rural areas. With less capacity to produce food, poorer communities will be pushed further into misery. Described as “new poor”, AR5 outlined that poverty will increase between now and 2100 jeopardizing sustainable development. It also states that impacts will be felt with or without adaptation particularly in food production.

The report warns that at just 1 degree Celsius of warming we’ll see negative impacts on major crops like rice, wheat and maize.

This scenario will definitely worsen as commitments to address emission reduction from developed countries are far from the targets set by science.  From COP 15 in Copenhagen until the recent COP 19 negotiations in Warsaw, Poland, we have seen historically accountable developed countries like the US, European Union, Australia, Canada and Japan walk away from negotiations under their own terms delaying commitments and pass on mitigation obligation to developing countries. The AR5 warns that the widely accepted target of limiting temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius must now be reassessed because the environment is more sensitive to climate change as previously known.

The Philippines again will be at the center of these impacts. From 2009 until 2013, the Philippines experienced stronger and more typhoons than ever before. From typhoon Ondoy up to Yolanda, extreme weather events are now a regular occurrence in our country. Thousands of lives are lost on a regular basis and the road to development is steadily getting narrower due to wide scale damage brought by climate change. Facing hunger, increased mortality due to temperature increase, more poverty and more destructions from extreme weather events, the Philippines is at the doorstep of all the major threat of climate change.

Recent relief efforts and aid during typhoon Yolanda by developed countries will not matter if developed countries continuously fail in addressing the root cause of the problem which is their inaction to address their increasing GHG emissions that have contributed in producing extreme weather events like Typhoon Yolanda, along with adequate funds for countries like ours for adaptation, as well as loss and damages.

Climate change is caused by humans so those most responsible must start acting, and fast. Rich countries like the US, EU, Canada, Japan and Australia can’t keep pouring pollution into the atmosphere. Their pollution makes Filipino lives much harder. Governments in rich countries want to allow 2C of global warming and the new report shows that such levels of warming would make life extremely difficult in the Philippines.

Because of the historical emissions from rich countries some impacts of climate change is locked-in and we need to come up with policies and actions to adapt to that change. The report also shows that the implementation of these adaptation actions will run into the hundreds of billions of dollars globally.

As such, we re-assert our demands for climate justice:

1.     We demand immediate, drastic cuts of global GHG emissions. This will not happen without banning new fossil fuel projects and stopping the excessive consumption of energy by elites and corporations.  All countries must live within a carbon budget that limits global temperature rise to below 1 degree Celsius and this budget must be shared equitably. This means those who bear the greatest historical responsibility for climate change and in the process amassed wealth — must assume the proportional burden of emissions reductions.

2.     We demand an end to public subsidies for private fossil fuel corporations and the mobilization of public finance for swift and just transition to low carbon economies.  This includes the fulfilment of the obligations of developed countries under the UN Framework Convention for Climate Change to provide public finance and technology transfer for developing countries for mitigation.

3.     We demand the fulfilment of obligations to provide finance and technology needed by developing countries like the Philippines for adaptation and building resilience. We demand reparations for inescapable losses and damage from the onslaughts of the climate crisis. The loss and damage mechanism must ensure the direct compensation of developed countries.

4.     We demand an end to false solutions, the further expansion of carbon markets, and corporate domination of the climate negotiations.

 

The Philippine Movement for Climate Justice is a member organization of Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice (GCDCJ).