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Paris call to conscience on climate

July 23, 2015

Paris – UNISDR’s Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction in Asia, Senator Loren Legarda, declared the willingness of the Philippines to lead the fight to combat climate change during this week’s Summit of the Consciences for the Climate in Paris, France.

Mankind’s relationship with nature was the focus of the Climate Summit of Conscience in Paris, hosted by French President Francois Hollande. With the UN climate conference just months away, faith leaders, Nobel laureates, economists and artists from around the world gathered in the French capital to show that protecting the planet is more than a matter of science.

President Hollande said: “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.”

Senator Legarda said: “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.”

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.”

During the Summit, the Call to Conscience for the Climate was signed by over 40 religious, cultural, environmental and political leaders present in the event and will be presented to each Head of Delegation at the COP 21 in Paris this December.

Source: PIA