Filipinos join the Global Climate March to demand climate justice

Around 15,000 advocates representing climate-impacted communities, religious groups, youth, labor unions, anti-coal and renewable energy campaigners, and other concerned citizens took to the streets to join the Global Climate March on the weekend before the Paris talks begin.

The Filipino marchers set out a call for climate justice in behalf of vulnerable nations like the Philippines, and to demand a strong, fair and ambitious global climate agreement ahead of the international UN climate talks that will start on Monday, November 30.

The Global Climate March consists of 60 other major marches, plus more than 2,300 events, in over 150 countries on the eve of the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). In the Philippines, communities across Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao are holding a week of actions for climate justice from November 23 to 30, with 20,000 people expected to join.

In Quezon City alone, six marches carrying climate-related themes – Energy Transformation; Right to Food, Land and Water; Justice and Reparations for Affected Peoples; Protect our Common Home (after Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato Si); Jobs and Just Transition, and Youth – were set out in major roads in Quezon City and converged at the Quezon Memorial Circle.

Calling COP21 a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity to take action, the climate marchers called on world leaders to enact a bold and meaningful agreement that pursues the following demands:

  • Address the urgency of the climate crisis with decisive, just, fair and ambitious actions nationally and globally
  • Pursue transformation of energy systems –no to dirty and harmful energy; shift to clean and renewable energy for people and communities
  • Protect peoples’ rights to food, water and the commons
  • Guarantee the rights of all people and communities; deliver justice and address the impacts of climate including those particular to women and indigenous communities
  • Ensure a just transition for workers and communities
  • Deliver climate finance needed to empower people to deal with climate impacts, loss and damage and make the transition to sustainable development pathways
  • Reject false solutions
  • Set global targets for mitigation actions to keep temperature rise below 1.5 degrees; ensure equitable and fair sharing of mitigation actions among countries and within countries; deliver urgent short terms actions.

The Philippines, a tropical archipelago besieged by an average of 20 storms yearly, is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change. In recent years it has been experiencing significant climate change impacts such as super typhoons and other extreme weather events when the average global temperature rise reached 0.8⁰C above pre-industrial levels.

Recently, the UK Meteorological Office announced that this 2015, the world experienced global temperature increase of up to 1⁰C above pre-industrial levels.

In November 2013, super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) claimed more than 6,000 lives and left thousands more homeless and without livelihood. Yolanda also wrought over USD 14 billion in economic damages.

The Philippines pledged to reduce its emissions by 70% by 2030 in its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution submission to the UNFCCC, but this pledge is conditional on international climate finance and other support. The groups said that the Philippine government should not only offer conditional pledges but should also offer unconditional targets based on its fair share of the global efforts. However, the Aquino administration is approving the construction of more than 50 coal-fired power plants in the next few years.

The March for Climate Justice movement says that the main onus is on developed countries. The groups also stated that developing country governments should also deliver on their fair share and be firm in demanding climate finance from developed countries in order to do more mitigation actions.

For the list of participating organizations and other details, go to http://bit.ly/1kX3SB1

For high-resolution photos of the march, go to http://bit.ly/1Ov0iHE

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