MANILA, Philippines – Around 150 climate justice activists trooped to Mendiola today, urging Pres. Benigno S. Aquino III to “stand up for developing countries,” especially those that are adversely affected by the impacts of climate change, and to hold the governments of United States and other developed countries (Annex 1 countries) accountable for their historical and current responsibility to the climate crisis.

In a creative action, members of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ), together with superhero character “Captain Planet,” also urged the President to demand reparation for the ecological and climate debt owed by developed nations to poor countries through payment of Climate Debt so that they can finance their adaptation and mitigation needs. Said demonstration is part of the Global Day of Action for Climate Justice.

Khevin Yu, PMCJ secretariat, said that with only six weeks before the Conference of Parties (COP) 16 in Cancun, Mexico where the fate of the Kyoto Protocol and Long-Term Cooperative Action (LCA) will be determined, “President Aquino should join hands with G77 and China in maintaining the support for the principle of Common-but-Differentiated Responsibilities within the UNFCCC which puts burden on major polluting countries to reduce emissions.”

UNFCC is the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC or FCCC), an international environmental treaty that was produced at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) (informally known as the Earth Summit) in Rio de Janeiro, June 1992. It aims to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.

The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement linked to the UNFCCC, and sets binding targets for 37 industrialized countries and the European community for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This amounts to an average of five percent against 1990 levels over the five-year period 2008-2012.

Meanwhile, the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA) was launched during the COP 13 as “a comprehensive process to enable the full, effective and sustained implementation of the Convention through long-term cooperative action, now, up to and beyond 2012, in order to reach an agreed outcome and adopt a decision at its fifteenth session.” However, it failed to reach an agreement during the Copenhagen summit last year.

“As our top leader, President Aquino should push for the prioritization of adaptation over mitigation efforts in the Philippines because of our high vulnerability to the impacts of climate change like strong typhoons and high temperatures, and because of the miniscule amount of greenhouse gases that our country emits,” said Yu.

With limited public funds, the Philippines should also take the lead in calling for climate financing that is not debt-driven.

“President Aquino should call for moratorium and/or cancellation of debts of developing countries to finance their adaptation and mitigation needs,” said Yu.

“Climate financing should be free from involvement of international financing institutions (IFIs) like the World Bank and Asian Development Bank because of their long history of financing climate change-inducing projects, and their responsibility for being part of promoting a developmental framework that caused the climate crisis,” he added.

Joseph Purugganan of the Focus on the Global South also urged President Aquino to tell these developed countries “refrain from false solutions like relying on carbon markets which aggressively promotes offsets of emissions that resulted in dramatic increase of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) levels globally.” (30)

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