Message of Senator Loren Legarda: Climate Justice as a Human Right

December 6, 2015

Message of Senator Loren Legarda
Climate Justice as a Human Right
Video Message for Greenpeace’s side event on Climate Change and Human Rights at the Paris Climate Conference – 4 December 2015

The 2015 Paris Climate Conference is a crucial event for the future of humanity and of the world. Clearly, we all know that we have to take action against climate change. But the issue now is how much action we need to take.

We have seen many times the impact of natural hazard extremes and the prevalence of disaster risk, exacerbated by climate change. They wipe out entire cities and communities.

This climate crisis affects food, water, settlement, jobs, livelihood, human welfare, safety and security, poverty reduction, economic growth, and, consequently, our overall pursuit of sustainable development.

Scientists agree that the main cause of climate change is attributed to human activity and its production of excessive greenhouse gas emissions that alter the composition of the global atmosphere. Unless drastic cuts in GHG emissions are introduced, global temperatures are projected to increase by 0.3 to 4.8 degrees Celsius by the end of this century.

In COP 21 we are aiming to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius. But the Philippines and its fellow members of the Climate Vulnerable Forum demand for a more ambitious climate deal.

We need to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius to be able to survive.

The world cannot afford further delays, more so the vulnerable people who end up as climate refugees in their own communities, they who suffer again and again from tragedies brought about by a climate crisis not of their own doing. These vulnerable sectors include indigenous peoples, farmers, fisherfolks, persons with disabilities, women, children and the elderly.

For the sake of the vulnerable, we seek climate justice now to restore the dignity of those suffering and to strengthen the resilience of the poor and recovering.

For the sake of future generations, we seek a commitment to act now and to implement a holistic solution.

Nations with the capacity and resources to aid vulnerable countries must commit their support. The COP21 agreement should define with clarity how to operationalize financing for mitigation, adaptation, and loss and damage, technology, transfer and capacity building.

As a long time environmental warrior and author of environmental laws in the Philippines, I look forward to the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines accepting the challenge of the Climate Change and Human Rights petition, spearheaded by vulnerable sectors, calamity survivors, Greenpeace, and other groups, against the Carbon Majors or the world’s biggest polluters, including the largest fossil fuel companies.

We must seek climate justice because it is our human right. We need to take urgent climate action because humanity’s future depends on what we do now and what we will fail to do. Let us not make failure an option. Let us make resilience and sustainability our future.