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Quezon City — Environmental organization Greenpeace Philippines today renewed its calls for the Philippine government to issue a Climate Emergency Declaration following the onslaught of Super Typhoon Rolly (international name: Goni), the world’s strongest typhoon so far in 2020.

Residents take shelter inside modular tents at the Rosauro Almario Elementary School in Tondo, Manila on Monday. November 2, 2020. Thousands of families living in flood-prone and coastal areas were forced evacuated due to super typhoon Rolly, international name Goni, that almost hit the Philippine capital. © Basilio H. Sepe / Greenpeace

“Typhoon Rolly is not the strongest typhoon to sweep through the Philippines, nor will it be the last—there will be more, and they will most likely be worse,” said Greenpeace Philippines campaigner Virginia Llorin.

“Now is the time for the Philippine government to show true climate leadership by championing climate justice for the poorest of the poor who bear the brunt of the damage, and calling for accountability from industrialized nations as well as corporations most responsible for the climate crisis.”

As of current reports, Typhoon Rolly left 16 dead and three missing, and wrought severe damage to houses and infrastructure in the Bicol Region. In Albay Province, it buried around 300 houses in lahar and rocks. The Philippines is not a stranger to this and worse levels of typhoon damage, being exposed to deadly typhoons every year.

Greenpeace is urging President Rodrigo Duterte to issue a Climate Emergency Declaration to strengthen an urgent whole-of-government and whole-of-society mobilization to respond to the climate crisis at the scale and speed needed to address it and protect the Filipino people. The group believes that the declaration must also call on the international community to act with the same urgency and scale, and demand equity from governments and accountability from corporations for the sake of countries that are least responsible but face the most vulnerabilities.

Aside from the climate crisis, the Philippines faces the COVID pandemic, biodiversity loss and ecosystems destruction, disasters, food insecurity, and economic crisis. The pandemic in particular has challenged the relief efforts of disaster officials. Greenpeace believes that as the country charts its COVID recovery the government must use the opportunity to build in strong climate action into a response that will help address other current and future intersecting crises. Stepping up climate action now will be a big step in addressing the interrelated crises the country faces.

Key to the Climate Emergency Declaration is holding carbon majors—90 fossil fuel and cement companies responsible for 60% of global anthropogenic or human-induced carbon emissions since the start of the industrial revolution—accountable.[1] Around 50 of these companies which are investor-owned corporations have been the subject of the Climate Change Inquiry of the Commission of Human Rights of the Philippines regarding their responsibility for human rights harms to Filipinos caused by climate impacts.[2]

“The climate crisis is costing Filipino people and communities their lives, livelihoods, health, security, and dignity. We can’t keep counting the dead and the damage after every typhoon forever. Studies have shown that major fossil fuels are the ones most responsible for this crisis. It’s time for the Philippines and every Filipino to rise together and hold these companies to account,” Llorin concluded.


Notes to Editors:

[1] please see https://www.greenpeace.org/philippines/publication/2482/carbon-majors-accounting-for-carbon-and-methane-emissions-1854-2010/

[2] please see https://www.greenpeace.org/philippines/press/10089/groups-imminent-conclusion-of-5-year-climate-change-petition-key-to-securing-filipinos-against-future-crises/ 

Media contact: 

Angeli Cantillana
Communications Campaigner, Greenpeace Southeast Asia – Philippines
[email protected] | +63 998 595 9733