Climate and Environment

Groups demand decisive climate action as COP28 nears end

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
Groups demand decisive climate action as COP28 nears end
Protesters take part in the Global Day of Action for Climate Justice along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City on December 9, 2023, to demand urgent climate action at COP28 United Nations climate summit in Dubai.
AFP/Earvin Perias

MANILA, Philippines — As COP28 entered its final few days, climate and energy groups called on governments to deliver an outcome that would keep the hope of limiting global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees Celsius within reach.

“It is the survival of humanity. Breaching (1.5 Celsius) is a point of no return, and impacts will be ghastly for vulnerable countries like the Philippines,” Philippine Movement for Climate Justice national coordinator Ian Rivera said. 

The planet has endured a string of record-breaking temperatures and intensifying storms and heatwaves. Current efforts to limit warming to 1.5 Celsius, as set forth in the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement, are falling short. 

Rivera stressed that COP28 should deliver clear agreements on fossil fuel phase-out, targets for the acceleration of renewable energy development, just transition programs, and scaled-up climate finance delivery.

Negotiators at the climate summit in Dubai made progress Saturday, but deep divides persisted following a last minute push by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to block a phase-out of fossil fuels, which are driving the climate crisis. 

Renewable-powered future 

The Power for People Coalition (P4P) welcomed the government’s signing of a pledge to triple the world’s renewable energy capacity and improve energy efficiency by 2030. 

But it was “gravely disappointed” that the Philippine delegation “continues to neglect its responsibility” to use its voice in demanding a global fossil fuel phaseout and a 100% renewable energy transition.

“We also need the government to quit dilly-dallying and start walking the talk in the just transition and renewable energy pledges it speaks of at COP 28, which are in stark contradiction to its continued peddling of gas, nuclear, and other false solutions,” P4P said. 

Ditching coal, oil and gas for cleaner energies such as solar, wind and hydroelectric is essential if the world is to meet the 1.5C goal and avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change. 

An analysis commissioned by the Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development suggested that a 100% renewable energy transition compatible to 1.5 °C, through phasing out coal by 2035 and gas by 2040, is not only feasible but also capable of generating around a million jobs and reducing electricity costs. 

Action for climate justice

Civil society groups in the Philippines took part in the Global Day of Action for Climate Justice Saturday, which aimed to pressure governments to take urgent action to solve the climate crisis. 

The groups called for the delivery of the obligations of wealthy countries to provide climate finance for developing countries, an end to greenwashing and unproven solutions, and creation of sustainable and resilient food systems.

Saturday’s global actions also called for a ceasefire in Gaza. The Israel-Hamas war has been a lingering presence at the United Nations meeting in Dubai.

“There is no climate justice without human rights,” Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development coordinator Lidy Nacpil said.

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