Legarda on Paris Summit of Consciences: Let Us Be The Change We Seek

July 19, 2015

Senator Loren Legarda today said that the important goal of the Summit of the Consciences for the Climate is to enjoin every citizen of the world to take action to address climate change.


“Until we have taken it upon ourselves that the key to climate change adaptation and mitigation lies in each and every individual’s effort to be part of the solution, then the greatest challenge we will have to fight to combat the warming climate and its effects is our own indifference,” said Legarda, the only Filipino among the more than 40 religious, political and environmental leaders who will take part in the Summit in Paris, France.


Legarda, UN Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia-Pacific, stressed that climate change is not only an environmental issue but also a phenomenon that affects our lives, livelihood and way of living.


Based on the 2012 Climate Vulnerability Monitor, each year, five million lives are lost due to climate change and the health impacts of its chief driver, fossil fuels.


Moreover, the World Health Organization estimates direct damage costs of climate change to health alone at between two and four billion dollars each year by 2030.


“The world will continue to get warmer and with this comes long lasting changes in our climate system. Ordinary people have limited understanding of this, until they are painfully introduced to their impacts via extremely harsh weather events, flooding, declining fish catch, water scarcity, declining agricultural harvests, exacerbating health issues, extinction of animal and plant species, displacement of people, and even the demise of low-lying areas, among others,” Legarda lamented.


“These realities compel nations to work together in arresting the increase of global temperature from reaching four degrees Celsius. Every time a disaster strikes and devastates our communities, we realize the risks and the challenges. We seek for solutions, we seek the opinion of experts; but the greater challenge is heeding the advice and taking the necessary action,” she stressed.


The Senator also said that climate change, along with the extreme weather events it causes, knows no boundaries and the only way forward is a united global action towards mitigation, adaptation and resilience.


“Now is the time for all of us to unite on all these challenges, and to transcend territorial boundaries, political persuasions, and institutional affiliations. Let us all be champions of change for the future that we want.  Let us all become victors instead of victims in this only living planet that we call home. The time to make that difference is now. Humanity’s future depends upon us. Let us be the change we seek,” Legarda concluded.


The Summit of the Consciences for the Climate, which will be held on 21 July 2015 at the Economic, Social and Environmental Council, Palais d’Iena, 9 Place d’Iena, 75016 in Paris, France, will be a highlight of the global mobilization in preparation for the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 21), which will be hosted by France in December this year.


The Summit will open with messages from French President Francois Hollande, Irish President Michael Higgins, Prince Albert of Monaco, and Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.


For the Fourth Plenary: Inspiring the World to care—igniting the will to act for the climate, Legarda is a speaker/panelist along with Mary Robinson, Former President of Ireland and Special Envoy for Climate Change of the UN Secretary-General; Nigel Savage, President of HAZON; Ahmed Abbadi, Secretary General of the Oulemas League; Omar Abdi, Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF; Masami Saionji, President of The World Peace Prayer Society; and Dr. Rajwant Singh of EcoSikh.