Climate and Environment

CSOs to Philippine delegation: Push back vs ‘unacceptable’ COP28 draft text

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
CSOs to Philippine delegation: Push back vs �unacceptable� COP28 draft text
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 — Climate and clean energy campaigners called on the Philippine delegation at the COP28 climate talks to push back against a draft deal that stopped short of calling for a phase-out of planet-warming fossil fuels. 

A draft of the potential COP28 climate deal released Monday included options countries could take to reduce emissions, but did not include a phase-out of fossil fuels, disappointing climate campaigners, the United States, the European Union, and low-lying islands most vulnerable to climate change.

The groups said the Philippines, which has traditionally played a vital role in United Nations climate negotiations, should actively advocate for a swift and equitable fossil fuel phase-out as COP28 heads into the final stretch. 

“At this critical time, we urge the Philippine delegation to exhaust all means to push back and hold the line,” Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development executive director Gerry Arances said. 

He noted the Philippines “bravely battled and emerged victorious” in advocating for the global goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius in the Paris Agreement, and in asserting loss and damage reparations and the delivery of resources owed to climate-vulnerable countries. 

“Its failure to assert greater ambition in the outcome of the global stocktake is a regression on that. Not doing so falls short of the climate leadership exhibited by the Philippine climate movement, is a disgrace to all victims of climate disasters, and is an abandonment of 1.5°C,” Arances added. 

In a briefing organized by civil society groups present at the COP28 talks in Dubai, Philippine Movement for Climate Justice national coordinator Ian Rivera expressed concern that there seems to be a lack of clarity from the Philippine delegation on fossil fuel phase-out. 

“It’s important for the Philippine government to be clear and put pressure,” Rivera said.

‘Death sentence’ 

COP28 president Sultan Al Jaber released a text aimed at bringing consensus between nearly 200 countries, which include Saudi Arabia and other oil and gas producers seeking to preserve their economic lifeblood.

But for John Silk, Marshall Islands’ minister of natural resources and commerce, the draft deal is “unacceptable.” Climate change threatens the very existence of residents of small-island states like the Marshall Islands. 

“We will not go silently to our watery graves. We will not accept an outcome that will lead to devastation for our country, and for millions if not billions of the most vulnerable people and communities,” Silk said. 

Krishna Ariola, lead convenor of Negros-based Youth for Climate Hope, called the text a “death sentence to vulnerable peoples.”

“But movements won across the globe have shown that the fight for survival will continue to intensify. There is no road to take for those most affected by this crisis, except toward a victory that includes real solutions, with no one left behind.”

According to the draft agreement, actions that countries can take include “reducing both consumption and production of fossil fuels, in a just, orderly and equitable manner so as to achieve net zero by, before, or around 2050 in keeping with the science.”

The COP28 text also called for accelerating the deployment of zero- and low-emission technologies, including renewables, nuclear power and carbon capture and storage “so as to enhance efforts towards substitution of unabated fossil fuels in energy systems.” — with report from Agence France-Presse

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