PH presses G20 to honor climate funding pledges

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MARRAKECH, Morocco: A former Philippine Senator and Environment Secretary urged the members of the G20 group of nations to honor their pledges for climate mitigation funding, in a meeting of climate-vulnerable nations on the sidelines of the Conference of Parties 22 (COP22) climate talks here last week.

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The Earthsavers Movement UNESCO Dream Center founded by Former Senator Heherson T. Alvarez was the lead convener of the “Tri-Continental Dialogue, De-Carbonization to Defy Disasters,” an official side event in COP22. The forum was held in partnership with Tzu Chi Foundation, Climate Institute, South-South Cooperation Council (SSCC), Weather Risk Explore Inc., The International Theatre Institute (ITI-CIDC), Social Change Network and Ugandan Member of Parliament.

Addressing the forum, Alvarez who also served as Secretary of Environment and the Climate Change Commissioner, urged G20 countries to fulfill their nationally determined contributions (NDC’s) in order to help curb the suffering of climate-vulnerable countries.

Alvarez pointed out that on average, the GDP of G20 countries is $4 trillion. This means that the $100 billion contribution towards climate finance is miniscule. For instance, the European Union (combined GDP: $18.4 trillion) would only have to contribute 0.54 percent of this amount. Additionally, the United States, whose GDP on average is $17.4 trillion, would only have to contribute 0.57 percent.

“This contribution is measly compared to the national wealth that was created by countries who have historically emitted greenhouse gas emissions. If you look at the destructive impact of climate change, noting in particular Supertyphoon Haiyan in my country, $300 million worth of onslaught happened,” Alvarez said.

“We need more technological capacity building assistance for developing countries and more carbon reduction from developed countries. Unless these values are changed so that they become responsive to the threatened climate disaster, the meeting in Marrakech would be just another meeting. It will not be a watershed as many have expected since Paris,” Alvarez added.

“But,” he said, “while we have been able to manage physical destruction, it is always far more difficult to address the invisible impact of disasters like the trauma of children who have lost their parents, of families who have lost homes and miserable fortunes. There are many people who have been emotionally dislocated. That is why the UN Green Climate Fund is so important – to help us develop fully the capacity to manage the peoples’ grief, too.”

Joining Alvarez in the panel were Lead Scientist and Founder of Weather Risk Explore Inc., Dr. Chi-Ming Peng, who explained the need to decarbonize to prevent the irreversible stage of climate catastrophe globally. Additionally, Debra Boudreaux, Vice President of the Tzu Chi Foundation, underscored the importance of changing our lifestyle in order to help those who are less fortunate.

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