Youth and environmental groups participated in the largest global day of climate action to urge world and local leaders to take fast and effective action on global warming. The giant human 350 formed in Luneta Park is part of the 2,000 events in more than 140 nations held on or near October 24.
This global campaign is focusing the attention on the number 350, because according to the latest scientific data, 350 parts per million CO2 (carbon dioxide) is the safe upper limit for the atmosphere. However, the current CO2 concentration is 390 parts per million. It is therefore necessary for the world to cut down on CO2 concentrations soon before we reach the level where the climate crisis will be irreversible.
“At the global level, we unite with other similarly situated peoples of the world in seeking economic justice and calling for the direct and mandated reduction of global carbon emissions from industrialized countries and their large corporations, as they are the ones responsible for 80% of the world’s global carbon emissions,” said Marjorie Pamintuan, of AGHAM Youth, the main coordinator of the event.
According to Ms. Pamintuan, the world’s leaders need to know that people all over the world are urgently and strongly demanding for genuine solutions and concrete actions to address climate change. For one there is a need for a legally binding and effective new climate treaty that will be decided by the world’s nations in Copenhagen under the United Nations Climate Change Conference in December .
Similar actions have been held in the Philippines such as in Benguet, Bohol, Cebu, General Santos, Bulacan, Laguna, National Capital Region and other provinces. These local actions focus primarily in prodding the national government to take drastic and real steps and not just superficial solutions and empty rhetoric of climate change actions.
“While it is the industrialized countries who must lower its carbon emissions, it is the job of the national government to prioritize climate change adaptation measures to prepare local communities for the impacts of climate change,” said Pamintuan.
The Philippines is among the countries most vulnerable to the impacts of global warming. Majority of the population barely earn enough for their basic needs and lack the socio-economic capacity to cope with the impacts of climate change on communities, such as proven by tragedies caused by Pepeng and Ondoy.
The group is questioning the climate change policy of the government even with the Republic Act 9729 or the Climate Change Act of 2009 being signed into law by President Arroyo on Friday.
“After several massive disasters that victimized millions of our citizens and claimed billions of pesos worth of damages, all President Arroyo can come up with is a law setting up yet another commission on climate change. This is an insult and a mockery to the Filipinos, especially to the marginalized and poor sectors that bear the brunt of the climate crisis and are demanding for urgent and clear actions,” said Clemente Bautista of Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment.
An Inter-Agency Committee on Climate Change (IACCC) was already created as early as 1991. Then Mrs. Arroyo has proclaimed herself as climate czar and head of the Presidential Task Force on Climate Change (PTFCC) she created a couple of years back.
However, even with other climate change and environmental laws already in place, the group cited that under the 8-year term of President Arroyo, the frequency of flash flood and landslide and the number of people victimized by these disasters dramatically increased over the years.
And now this bill that calls for the creation of a Climate Change Commission, formulation of Framework Program on Climate Change, and set up of National Climate Change Action Plan. Based on the new law, the new commission will incorporate climate change concepts in policy formulation and development plans of the government.
“Even with the passage of the bill, we should brace ourselves for more disasters until 2010, as this is a regime that does not recognize the demands of the people to scrap her current economic policies such as in mining, logging and energy that aggravate climate change and put the Filipino people more vulnerable and at risk to its impacts,” said Bautista.
“In the end, any genuine move to resolve the problem of global warming must critically recognize and address the larger socio-economic context in which it occurs. Ultimately, what is needed is that decisions and actions which the international community and the Philippine government will eventually make should primarily uphold the interests, welfare and demands of the majority of the people and the environment,” ended Bautista.
The action in Luneta Park is organized by AGHAM Youth, Kalikasan PNE, Philippine Climate Watch Alliance (PCWA) in coordination with 350.org and is attended by Kabataan party list CAMANAVA, Anakpawis National, Katribu, AGHAM and Center for Environmental Concerns-Phils.
Here are some of the photos. More photos on http://www.flickr.com/photos/aghamyouth/sets/72157622533093769/