• Paris climate summit a failure – Aquino ally

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    The recently concluded 21st Conference of Parties (COP 21) held in Paris, France, was a failure, according to a former party-list representative and a civil society group.

    Walden Bello, an ex-leader of the Akbayan party-list allied with President Benigno Aquino 3rd, said the Paris climate conference was a “step back” because the United States and other industrialized nations denied the Philippine suggestion to penalize fossil-dependent developed countries that are to blame for pollution.

    “These industrialized nations must be penalized for being the main drivers of climate change. What we want is to have them pay for their failure to shift to other sources of energy,” Bello told a forum on Friday organized by the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) whose members attended the November 30 to December 11 summit.

    Lidy Nacpil of PMCJ and a climate-change campaigner said the 50-member Philippine delegation led by Aquino vigorously campaigned for inclusion of losses and damages mechanism but the proposal was turned down by the US.

    “The rich industrialized countries have gotten their way in absolving themselves of their responsibilities and obligations under the climate convention,” Nacpil added.

    Gerry Arances, also of PMCJ and another active climate-change campaigner, blamed the US, European countries and other rich countries for the unsatisfactory agreement in Paris.

    “What we have witnessed in the Paris COP, just like what happened close to 120 years ago, is that Filipinos, along with the vulnerable peoples of the world, have once again been robbed by the [American] imperialists,” Arances said, referring to the Philippines being sold by Spain to the United States under the 1898 Treaty of Paris.

    Bello and the PMCJ leaders called the Paris deal as toothless and a mere public-relations stunt although the 197 countries committed $100 billion a year to fund climate-change mitigation projects designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and toward a fossil-free world.

    “The pledges are inadequate to meet the target of limiting global emission levels to 42 billion tons in 2030, and will result in temperature rise of just under 3 degrees Celsius if the plans are fully implemented,” PMCJ leader Joseph Purugganan said.

    The Philippines is considered one of the countries directly affected by climate change.

    Early this week, the country once again was visited by Typhoon Nona (international code name: Melor), which was immediately followed by tropical depression Onyok.

    As of Friday, Onyok was reported to have killed at least 34 people.

    JAIME R. PILAPIL

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