Editorial: Achieving climate justice

·2 min read

The progress on mitigating the ill effects of climate change has been snail-paced, and developing countries like the Philippines have the right to criticize industrial countries that are big contributors to greenhouse gas emissions.

A representative of the Philippines to the recent closing plenary of the 56th Sessions of Subsidiary Bodies (SB56) of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change or UNFCCC in Bonn, Germany decried the “delaying tactics” by key nations because such actions have derailed the UN’s work for the mandated global climate change agenda. Philippine Climate Change Commission (CCC) Secretary Robert Borje said in his speech that the “dismaying delaying tactics” of key stakeholders have resulted in “undermining global trust in multilateralism and eroding the confidence” of people of all ages in the UNFCCC.

Despite previous pledges of parties to the UNFCCC, the issues involving finance for climate loss and damage, improvement of methods to access technology and building capacities did not gain further support during SB56, according to the CCC.

Borje said: “We cannot fail our world. Climate justice demands this from all of us. For those who are most responsible for climate change, you have to do more.”

The CCC chief did not mention the countries in his speech; however, studies show that about 20 countries are historically responsible for climate change for producing the most carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, 10 of which are China, the United States, India, the Russian Federation, Japan, Germany, Iran, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia.

The work for climate justice could be further delayed because some of the countries that are big emitters of carbon dioxide have been involved in geopolitical tensions–Russia’s invasion of its neighbor Ukraine has drawn the United States and its allies in Europe, including Germany, to impose sanctions on Russia’s economy and its oil exports, affecting the global economy. There are also tensions felt in the Asia-Pacific region with China asserting its ever-increasing economic and military might, which again has drawn the United States and its allies to act on how to mitigate the East Asian country’s growing influence.

Domestic problems caused by soaring oil prices and inflation, the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and other emerging health issues, and issues on food security could take away the world’s focus on the climate change dilemma.

Climate change has worsened air pollution and increased wildfires; and it has also caused extreme weather and brutal typhoons, rising seas and flash floods, among others.

Countries party to the UNFCCC must act fast because climate change is not slowing down. It is an existential threat.

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