President Aquino urged to heed UN climate report

Press release - April 4, 2014
Quezon City, Philippines—Civil society groups said the Aquino government must improve its adaptation and mitigation efforts, not only in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda, but also given the dire warnings cited in the recent United Nations climate report on climate change.

At a press conference today, Aksyon Klima Pilipinas, Greenpeace and Oxfam expressed their grave concerns following the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s Working Group II Report on Impacts, Vulnerability and Adaptation, which released a grim climate forecast for Southeast Asia. The IPCC report was the consolidated work of thousands of scientists and affirmed by world governments.

The three civil society groups urged the Aquino government to take the first step by allocating funds for the People’s Survival Fund (PSF), which by law should finance the adaptation plans of local government units (LGUs). Adaptation plans include setting up early warning systems and contingency planning for extreme weather events such as droughts and floods.

The organizations emphasized that they continue to call on governments across the world, particularly developed countries, to honor their responsibility and commit to scale up their adaptation and mitigation actions. “But after Yolanda, we also need to adapt to the best of our own abilities and empower communities so they can be more climate-resilient,” the three groups stated.

“Beyond the PSF, both disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation should already be incorporated in the post-Yolanda rehabilitation plan, and then into longer-term national and local development plans and budgets,” according to Melvin Purzuelo,convenor of Aksyon Klima Pilipinas.

“The IPCC report however states that adaptation is not enough. We therefore need to integrate adaptation with mitigation strategies, such as transitioning to renewable energy systems,” said Amalie Obusan, regional climate and energy campaigner of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

On the PSF, Justin Morgan, Oxfam country director, added: “Congress must allocate at least P1 billion to the People’s Survival Fund as mandated by law. President Aquino must also sign the revised Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Climate Change Act to make the fund operational.”

“As a highly vulnerable country, extreme weather events are now our new normal, and we need to take concrete measures to literally survive,” the groups added.

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NOTES FOR EDITORS

THE IPCC REPORT AND FILIPINO AUTHORS

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the international body for assessing the science related to climate change. It was set up in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme to provide policymakers with regular assessments of the scientific basis of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for adaptation and mitigation. 

The IPCC Working Group II’s contribution to the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), released last March 31 and titled “Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability”, details the impacts of climate change to date, the future risks from a changing climate, and the opportunities for effective action to reduce risks. A total of 309 coordinating lead authors, lead authors, and review editors, drawn from 70 countries, were selected to produce the report. They enlisted the help of 436 contributing authors, and a total of 1,729 expert and government reviewers. There are five Filipinos who contributed in the writing and editing of the latest IPCC report: Juan Pulhin (UP Los Baños), Felino Lansigan (UP Los Baños), Lourdes Tibig (independent), Rodel Lasco, (World Agroforestry Center), and Rosa Perez (Manila Observatory).

The Working Group I report was released in September 2013, and the Working Group III report will be released in April 2014. The IPCC Fifth Assessment Report cycle concludes with the publication of its Synthesis Report in October 2014.

THE CLIMATE CHANGE ACT AND PEOPLE’S SURVIVAL FUND

The People’s Survival Fund Act, or Republic Act No. 10174, amends the Climate Change Act of 2009 by allocating at least P1 billion for the local adaptation plans of LGUs and communities. It currently has only P500 million in unprogrammed funds under the 2014 national budget. President Aquino has yet to sign the revised Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Climate Change Act to make the PSF operational. Since he assumed office, he has also yet to convene the Climate Change Commission.

ABOUT AKSYON KLIMA PILIPINAS, GREENPEACE AND OXFAM

Aksyon Klima Pilipinas is an advocacy network of 40 civil society organizations working on climate change issues under the United Nations climate change negotiations and across the Philippines. Greenpeace Southeast Asia (Philippines) and Oxfam in the Philippines are among its members. Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organization that acts to change attitudes and behavior, to protect and conserve the environment and to promote peace. Oxfam is an international non-governmental organization which in the Philippines delivers emergency relief, implements a robust disaster risk reduction local programs and supports CSO campaigns on food security, fair trade, and climate change.

CONTACT:

Denise Fontanilla (Aksyon Klima) at 0906-4387229 and 

Diah Abida (Greenpeace) at 0917-8686451 and 

Jed Alegado (Oxfam) at 0928-5042911 and 

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