Time is running out to stop climate change

Greenpeace launches massive awareness campaign in Iloilo City

Feature story - August 29, 2009
The world is running out of time to stop climate change and its destructive impacts, which endanger countries such as the Philippines the most. Greenpeace issued the warning today as civil society and environment groups worldwide mark the 100-day countdown to the anticipated Copenhagen Climate Summit in December.

More than a hundred bikers toured Iloilo today to launch the "yoU-Turn the Earth" campaign, marking the 100-day countdown to the Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen, where governments will agree on a deal to combat Climate Change. Greenpeace is asking developed nations to commit to substantial carbon emissions reductions and to set up a climate change mitigation fund for countries like the Philippines that are most vulnerable, least prepared. The advocacy ride was organized by Greenpeace, Solar Generation Pilipinas, and Responsible Ilonggos for Sustainable Energy (RISE)

To mark the occasion, Greenpeace organized the Iloilo launch of "yoU turn the Earth"-a series of high profile public activities to raise awareness on climate change and its solutions.  The event in Iloilo's capital highlights the province's vulnerability to the worst onslaught of climate change, particularly massive floods caused by extreme weather such as Iloilo's devastating experience with Typhoon Frank last year.

"In Southeast Asia, predicted to be one of the most impacted regions from climate catastrophes, the Philippines is the nation most vulnerable and least prepared to face the onslaught of this crisis," said Amalie Obusan, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Climate & Energy Campaigner.  "Iloilo is just one of the many provinces and communities in our country that can face more climate change related disasters in the years to come-if solutions are not put in place."

"Greenpeace stands in solidarity with civil society groups around the world who have united today to raise one strong voice in this crucial time to call for a new international treaty that will ensure a secure future for humanity.  World leaders must show historic leadership in Copenhagen this December by signing a global climate deal that is ambitious and fair, and with legally binding targets that reflect the latest science," Obusan adds.

Iloilo was caught by surprise when Typhoon Frank unleashed heavy rains and caused the worst recorded flash flood to hit the province.  As much as 80% of the province was under water.  Frank's wrath left Iloilo ravaged and ill-equipped to deal with its aftermath.  It left damages in agriculture and infrastructure worth PhP1 billion and affected more than half a million people.

The Iloilo launch of "yoU-Turn the Earth" also featured a bike ride around the city to serve as an advocacy tour that aims to raise awareness on climate change and what individuals can do to help prevent it.  The event is supported by Solar Generation Pilipinas (the youth arm of Greenpeace) and Responsible Ilonggos for Sustainable Energy (RISE).

Most notable in the ride was the Pavia leg, wherein the bikers stopped to interact with members of the community that got the worst of Typhoon Frank. The bike ride also passed through Barangay Ingore, currently site for a proposed coal-fired powered plant. The burning of coal as fuel is the single greatest cause of climate change.

"Mankind's foremost concern today is climate change. In just a few decades, the damage it has brought has affected the world tremendously. So let us be aware of its impact by starting to reduce its root causes. Let this be our collective responsibility," said Jerry V. Bionat, Executive Officer of the Iloilo Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council (PDCC-Iloilo), during the symbolic "turning of the Earth" at the Provincial Capitol that was part of the launch.

Climate change is already affecting all of us, including members of our own families, and it is the youth--children, grandchildren and future generations--which has the most at stake and the most to lose if" added Felice Española, Student Coordinator of Solar Generation Pilipinas - Iloilo. "Solar Generation is also today calling on Filipino youth to join our campaign. Together, we believe we can turn things around."

In the run-up to Copenhagen, Greenpeace is challenging world leaders to live up to their responsibilities by delivering a good deal, and contrast the threats to our security represented by climate change with the move to a greener, more peaceful, sustainable future. Climate leadership will be judged against three tests. A deal at Copenhagen should deliver: • Big cuts in emissions from rich countries (40% of 1990 levels by 2030) • A fund that will save our forests (US$40 Billion) • Funds to help developing countries deal with climate change (US$150B

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