Legarda Calls For Greater Youth Involvement In Climate Action

September 1, 2015

Senator Loren Legarda today called on the Filipino youth to become more actively involved in climate change issues, noting that they have the greatest stake in the sustainability of our planet.

The Senator made the call in her keynote speech, which was read by a representative from her office, during the “Climate Reality Project: The Filipino Youth on the Road to Paris”, an environmental campaign organized by Climate Reality Philippines, DAKILA, Climate Change Commission and National Youth Commission.

“It is important that you make your voices heard and discuss issues such as sustainable economic development and climate resilience because they will define your future and even your children’s future,” Legarda told the youth.

In December in Paris, at the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), nations including the Philippines will gather in the hope of achieving an ambitious and legally binding agreement that would limit the rise in global temperatures to less than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times.

“The COP 21 will be a life-changing conference, a world-changing event. Its outcome is crucial to the survival of this generation and the succeeding ones, and of Earth itself. We hope that it will be more than just the usual dialogue of leaders; that world leaders will declare or renew their commitment to lead our people out of the crises and uncertainties brought about by climate change; that political will would finally match the call of climate science,” she stressed.

Legarda, chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, also echoed the statement of The Earth Institute’s Director Jeffrey Sachs on the need to decarbonize. Sachs said coal-fired power plants emit 1,100 grams of carbon dioxide for every kilowatt-hour produced and if we want to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius, there should only be about 50 grams per kilowatt-hour by mid-century.

The Senator said that as the third highest in the world in terms of vulnerability to weather-related extreme events based on a 2013 World Bank study, and following its acceptance of the presidency this year of the Climate Vulnerability Forum (CVF), the Philippines must lead by example among developing countries and submit to the UNFCCC Secretariat its commitment known as the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions or INDCs to pursue climate justice and equitable growth for all.

“Climate change is the greatest humanitarian challenge of our time. The phenomenon is so complex and overreaching in its impacts that we should now begin calling it the ‘climate crisis’ as it affects food, water, settlement, jobs, livelihood, human welfare, safety and security, poverty reduction, economic growth, and, consequently, our overall pursuit of sustainable development,” she said.

Legarda, United Nations Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia-Pacific, also said that leaders must re-think development – the kind of development that transcends traditional economic yardsticks such as GDP; and the kind founded on sustainability and socio-economic progress, ecosystems protection, and good governance.

“Protecting our environment is not the duty of the government alone. It is everyone’s responsibility, the youth included. Young as you are, I believe that you are the most active partners in challenging development norms, politics, governance and leadership. Each of us has opportunities to make a difference for our future. We must take hold of the opportunity to responsibly manage our environment and lead the way towards resilient and sustainable development,” said Legarda.