Legarda: Vulnerable PHL Must Lead Climate Action

July 22, 2015

Why Do I Care

Senator Loren Legarda said that the Philippines is ready to lead the fight to combat climate change during the Summit of the Consciences for the Climate in Paris, France.


“I come from a country that is 0.3 percent emitter of carbon in the world and yet we are one of the most vulnerable nations as you have seen and witnessed with Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. Being a vulnerable nation that is not the cause of this vulnerability, we hope that the Philippines will be the first to show the outcome of this Summit,” said Legarda in her speech for the Summit’s Fourth Plenary: Inspiring the World to Care—Igniting the Will to Act for the Climate.


The Senator, who chairs the Senate committees on Environment and Natural Resources, and Climate Change, stated her commitment to launch a Summit of Consciences for the Climate in the Philippines.


“I will write a memo to President Benigno Aquino III and we will initiate and launch in all the cities and municipalities, barangays, and state universities and colleges all over the country our own Summit of Consciences for the Climate,” she said.


Martin Palmer, Secretary General of the Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC), one of the organizers of the Summit, was impressed with the Senator’s commitment, “Can I just welcome that extraordinary commitment to take this ‘Why Do I Care?’ to the Philippines and may this be an example for many other countries here to follow.”


Legarda said that this kind of gathering is an important tool in raising awareness about the urgency of taking climate action. She took note of the powerful messages by other speakers in the Paris Summit of Consciences.


French President Francois Hollande said, “The climate crisis and the wider ecological crisis cannot be reduced to these scientific, technological, economic and political, but it is a crisis of meaning. The root cause of environmental degradation and climate change is a way of life, a mode of production, a mode of consumption that is not compatible with human development.”


Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan stressed that “The earth is not ours; it is a treasure we hold in trust for our children. We must be worthy of that trust.”


France’s Minister of Ecology, Segolene Royal, and Cardinal Turkson of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and many other speakers, highlighted the need to progressively decrease use and dependence on fossil fuels, especially coal, and shift to renewable energy.


Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, through a message delivered by Janos Pasztor, Assistant-Secretary-General on Climate Change, said that “Climate change is the defining challenge of our time.  It affects us all, but it does not affect us all equally.  We have a profound responsibility to protect and assist the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people and to pass on to future generations a planet that is thriving and healthy.”


Legarda said, “The question ‘Why Do I Care?’  that was posed to every speaker and participant allowed us to dig deeper into our mind, heart and conscience to be able to answer. We realize that the experiences that led us to making the protection of the environment an advocacy and way of life are the events, issues and concerns that were either personal or that happened in our own communities. This only means that the key to addressing climate change lies in each and every individual’s effort to be part of the solution.”


The Summit of Consciences for the Climate was an initiative of Nicolas Hulot, Special Envoy of the French President for the Protection of the Planet. It is a prelude to the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 21), which will also be hosted by the French Government.


During the Summit, the Call to Conscience for the Climate, which was signed by over 40 religious, cultural, environmental and political leaders present in the event, including Legarda, was officially launched. The document, which invites leaders to reflect and answer the question “Why Do I Care?”, will be presented to each Head of Delegation at the COP 21 in Paris this December.