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‘Climate justice’ fund badly needed now, says Loren

December 23, 2009

COUNTRIES MOST AFFECTED BY CLIMATE CHANGE LIKE THE PHILIPPINES HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO TAP INTO A “CLIMATE JUSTICE” FUND WHICH INDUSTRIALIZED NATIONS LED BY THE UNITED STATES (US) ARE BEING ASKED TO PUT UP.
Senator Loren Legarda has issued this statement in reaction to a recent interview by cable television network Al-Jazeera at the height of the United Nations (UN) climate change conference in Copenhagen.
Loren expressed no opposition to the “transparency” being sought by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the utilization of the said fund, specifically of the US$100 billion pledged by the US as aid to countries affected by climate change.
“There should be transparency to ensure that the money goes to the intended beneficiaries and that it is used for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction,” said Loren.
“I seek climate justice not only for the Philippines but for all the people, especially in Africa and Southeast Asia, who bear the brunt of the sufferings, hunger and poverty brought about by climate change,” she added.
Loren chairs the Senate Committee on Climate Change and serves as the UN champion for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction in the Asia-Pacific Region.
“But issues like transparency should not be used by countries like the US and China to delay the setting up of a climate change adaptation fund. The effects of climate change are being felt right now, thus support must come in today and not tomorrow.”
She said that due to climate change, typhoons hitting the Philippines – like those that ravaged the country late this year – are getting stronger, spurring floods and landslides, and bringing about death and the destruction of properties, as well as sources of livelihood.
Over 20 typhoons visit the Philippines each year, she added.
“We cannot do anything about the natural hazards, but we can work to prevent these hazards from turning into catastrophic disasters,” Loren said.
“We can do this by helping arrest global warming and by engaging in climate change adaptation work. This can be done through reforestation and mangrove rehabilitation, segregation of wastes at the source.
The US and China are said to contribute 40 percent of all greenhouse gasses in the world, while in comparison the Philippines’ own emission, with its population of 92 million, is merely 0.2 percent.
The senator pointed out that since highly developed nations are the primary emitters of greenhouse gasses which causes global warming and climate change, it is only proper that they help other countries affected by their highly polluting activities.
“In terms of disaster risk reduction and disaster preparedness, that is where the developed and industrialized nations can help developing countries like the Philippines and small island nations like Maldives,” said Loren.
“Maldives, for example, is most vulnerable to global warming which results to the melting of the polar icecaps. A one-meter rise in sea levels due to the melting of the ice would result to Maldives going under and being wiped out from the face of the earth.”