Sep 112014
Civil society groups on Thursday urged President Benigno Aquino III to use the upcoming high-level United Nations meeting on climate change as a stage to show the devastating effects of the phenomenon.

Aquino should also use the event as an opportunity to compel developed countries to proactively address their responsibilities and commitments, Gerry Arances, national coordinator of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice, told GMA News Online.

He called on the President to discuss energy transformation, climate change impacts, and climate finance during the meet in New York on Sept.23.

“[The Philippines being] a very vulnerable country sa climate change impacts, dapat manguna siya sa energy transformation and the only way to go about it is to change track,” Arances said, citing the country’s reliance on coal.

Based on the Energy department’s annual report last year, more than a third or 38.76 percent of total power generated in the country came from coal-fired power plants.

Arances explained that, globally, the power sector posted the highest contribution to greenhouse gas emissions due to the burning of fossil fuel.

“Ang panawagan namin kay PNoy, bago ka pumunta riyan sana naman magsalita ka on climate crisis domestically… [at] bitbitin niya ang panawagan sa world leaders,” he said.

According to the World Meteorological Organization, the volume of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere reached record-levels last year.

“We know without any doubt that our climate is changing and our weather is becoming more extreme due to human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud in an earlier report.

Meanwhile, the groups said that different organizations — including activist  groups — will hold a rally near Malacañang on Friday as a send off for the President’s investment tour in Europe and to the UN meeting in New York.

Impact of climate change

Since the country is still reeling from super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) that hit the Central Philippines late last year, Voltaire Alferez, national coordinator of Aksyon Klima Pilipinas, said that the President should cite this as an example of how changing weather phenomenon is changing the lives of people.

“Kahit anong paghahanda ang ginagawa, napakaraming tinamaan  na komunidad… kung ito ang magiging bagong normal na weather phenomenon, lalong magkakaroon ng mas malaking pangangailangan na paghandaan ang disaster risk reduction,” he said.

“Ang usapin ngayon ay political will,” he added.

Since the law creating the P1-billion People’s Survival Fund has already been enacted, Alferez said that Aquino may tap other countries to pitch in.

“The President can take a step further by inviting other countries to contribute to the fund while assuring them that the government is working on safeguards to ensure transparency and accountability,” he said. — JDS, GMA News

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