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UN climate report signals decisive moment for humanity, say green groups

Residents wade through a flooded street following the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses, international name Vamco, in Rodriguez town in Rizal province east of Manila, Philippines, on Nov. 12, 2020. (Photo by Basilio Sepe for Greenpeace)

A UN climate report that was released this week found that global warming is dangerously close to spiraling out of control.

“[The report] shows us that unless world leaders make their commitments as strong as the science requires, we will continue to experience increasing extreme weather events,” warned Yeb Saño, executive director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

He said that every year “will be record-breaking for unprecedented storms, rainfall, heatwaves, droughts, flooding and worsening conditions, such as we are experiencing now.”

The report said that even the most severe carbon emission cuts are unlikely to prevent global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial temperatures by 2040.

Saño warned that frontline communities, especially in places like those in Southeast Asia, “will experience more and more climate injustice” if countries will not hold up to the Paris Agreement of limiting warming.

“The report details the science of what we already know from experience about the changing climate system and the consequent devastation,” he said.

Khevin Yu, energy transition campaigner of Greenpeace in the Philippines, said the looming impacts of the climate crisis “should compel governments to realign their climate commitments.”

He said the Philippine government “should not be content with endless negotiations.”

“Instead, the government must act with urgency to facilitate the Philippines’ just transition to a low-carbon and fossil fuel-free society,” added Yu.

The report that was released on Monday, August 9, does not address the impacts of climate change to humans, nor the ways to mitigate climate change and its impacts.

Green Thumb Coalition called on the Philippine government to “immediately cancel all dirty-energy projects particularly coal power plants and fossil gas projects.”

“We remind the government’s target to be 100% Renewable Energy-dependent by 2050 and that means measures to achieve this needs to be undertaken today and avoid detours like prioritizing gas policies and projects,” the group said.

Environment activist group Aksyon Klima Pilipinas said the findings of the report “are alarming.”

The group said the UN report “could not have come at a more opportune time, as the calls for higher ambition and climate justice continue to grow stronger globally.”

The activist group noted that current pledges of the international community would only lead to a one percent reduction in emissions, falling way short of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

“The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has provided a living preview of the scale of disruptions and losses that more extreme climate changes can inflict on countries,” said the group.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, however, said in a statement following the release of the report that if nations “combine forces now, we can avert climate catastrophe.”

“There is no time for delay and no room for excuses,” he said, adding that he counts on government leaders and all stakeholders to ensure that the 26th UN Climate Change conference in November will be successful. - OeconoMedia /


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