Philippines demonstrate, demand climate justice at COP22

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Earth Journalism Network, Philippines, Asia

The people of the Philippines are making their demands for climate justice even louder by intensifying protests in Marrakech, where current climate negotiations are underway.

Filipino protesters were joined by activists from all over the world on Thursday to hold demonstrations outside the the high-level United Nations meetings.

Climate justice proponents argue that that those who are least responsible for climate change suffer its gravest consequences and developed nations should assist their developing counterparts with funding to plan and implement projects for climate mitigation and adaptation.

As part of the Paris Agreement reached last year, it was recommended that developed countries provide $100 billion in funding annually to assist developing countries such as the Philippines to implement projects for mitigation and adaptation.

But uncertainty over the realization of the document has grown in the wake of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s alleged threat to pull America out of the agreement, of which the US is a major financier based on its great role in causing climate change.

Carrying placards that outlined their demands, the protesters chanted slogans such as “We need climate justice" and "Stop funding fossil fuels," among others. Although the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry reassurred the world of America’s strong determination towards the realization of the Paris Agreement during a press conference the prior day, many remain uncertain.

The Philippines is prone to devastating environmental and natural disasters such as typhoons, floods, landslides, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and tsunamis, owing to the fact that lies along the typhoon belt, in an volcanic region and in the geologically unstable region between the Pacific and Eurasian tectonic plates.

The country also suffers from major environmental degradation aggravated by a high annual population growth rate, including the loss of agricultural lands, deforestation, soil erosion, air and water pollution, improper disposal of solid and toxic wastes, loss of coral reefs, mismanagement and abuse of coastal zones.

Despite allegedly remaining strong economically, with growth projected to accelerate to 6.4 percent in 2016, the Philippines like other developing countries lacks the capacity in terms of funding and technology to respond to many of the great challenges posed by climate change.

Filipino Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi has reportedly vowed never to endorse the ratification of the Paris Agreement even when it is said that the President Rodrigo Duterte expressed his willingness to support the UN’s historic climate deal.

Information made available to a local outlet, Climate Homes quotes the energy department chief as saying that the country needs more time to plan for lower carbon future, arguing developing countries must not be forced to cut their emissions.

The official was also reported as submitting that developing countries must not be forced to cut their emissions as doing so would stunt their economic development.