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PIGLAS PILIPINAS: PH part of global movement to end fossil fuels

PRESS RELEASE

PIGLAS PILIPINAS: PH part of global movement to end fossil fuels

10,000 to mobilize against Batangas coal plant on May 4

MANILA, Philippines, April 6, 2016 – Church groups, concerned citizens, social movements, and civil society organizations are about to launch Piglas Batangas! Piglas Pilipinas!, a national campaign initiative against coal and other dirty and harmful energy.

The highlight of this initiative will be a 10,000-strong mobilization on May 4 in the Batangas Provincial Sports Complex to stop the building of a 600-megawatt coal plant in Batangas City and to call for a moratorium on all new coal-fired power plants in the entire country.

“It is immoral to burden future generations with pollution and the cost of mistaken energy choices made today. It is time to end the age of coal,” said Lipa’s Roman Catholic archbishop Ramon Arguelles.

Lipa’s Archdiocesan Ministry on Environment (AMEn) is leading the strong and broad local opposition to coal, which has led to a delay in the construction of a third coal plant in the province. The proposed 600-megawatt plant in Brgy. Pinamucan Ibaba, Batangas City is a project of the Gokongwei-owned JG Summit Holdings.

Piglas Batangas! Piglas Pilipinas! will kick off “Break Free from Fossil Fuels 2016”, a globally coordinated effort to escalate the fight against fossil fuels and to accelerate the just transition to 100% renewable energy. Mass actions are scheduled until May 15 in other countries such as Indonesia, Nigeria, Brazil, the United States, Germany, and Australia.

“Almost 200 countries agreed last December in Paris to limit global warming, but the Philippines and many others are still putting up new coal, gas, oil and other fossil fuel projects. Through Break Free, the global climate movement will be demanding our world leaders to practice what they preach,” said Lidy Nacpil, coordinator of the Asian Peoples Movement on Debt and Development, board member of 350.org, and global steering committee member of Break Free.

Other coal-affected communities and anti-coal campaigners mostly from Southern Luzon and Metro Manila will join the May 4 mobilization at the Batangas Provincial Sports Complex.

Piglas symbolizes nationwide opposition to coal mining and coal energy, as well as other forms of dirty energy. It is appalling that there are 17 existing coal plants in the country and 29 more still in the pipeline, particularly in Quezon and Davao,” explained Ian Rivera, national coordinator of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice.

“The mobilization in Batangas also comes just a few days before the May 2016 elections. The future President of the Philippines should heed the call of the times and usher in a new era of the free from coal and other dirty forms of energy,” added Reuben Muni, climate and energy campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

“We challenge the government to hasten the shift to renewable energy to prove its commitment to address climate change on its own. Why is it that more than 60% of energy projects in the pipeline are coal plants when we have abundant solar and wind resources?” asked Ruel Cabile, national coordinator of Aksyon Klima Pilipinas, referring to recent figures released by the Department of Energy.

The leaders of the Piglas campaign spoke of six demands of the national campaign, namely: (1) Cancel all plans, permits and construction stage for coal-fired power plants in Batangas and the rest of the country; (2) implement a program for a swift phase out of the 19 existing coal-fired power plants nationwide; (3) close down all coal mines beginning with Semirara and cancel all plans and permits for new coal mines; (4) mobilize domestic and international climate finance and implement a comprehensive program for a quick transition to clean and renewable energy; (5) ensure a just transition to clean and renewable energy; and (6) implement a community-managed rehabilitation program for all local communities and ecosystems affected by coal plants and coal mines.

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NOTES TO THE EDITOR:

For more details on Break Free and Piglas, visit https://breakfree2016.org/ and https://philippines.breakfree2016.org/.

For photos of the Piglas pre-launch action last March 17 in Batangas City, go to http://bit.ly/1VtRx59 (Credit: 350.org/AC Dimatatac).

CONTACTS:

Denise Fontanilla, APMDD: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Angelica Carballo Pago, Greenpeace Southeast Asia: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Climate justice dialogue held in Nepal

South Asian Alliance for Poverty Alleviation, 22 November 2015

Campaign for Climate Justice Nepal (CCJN), as the Nepal arm of the Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice (GCDCJ) in collaboration with Rural Reconstruction Nepal, South Asia Alliance for Poverty Eradication (SAAPE) and LDC Watch has organised  a half-day “Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue on Climate Justice” on 22nd November 2015 in Kathmandu.

Speaking as the Chief Guest Mr Bishwendra Paswan, Minister for Science, Technology and Environment (MoSTE) said that, developed countries have the upper hand in the climate change negotiations and as poor countries we have not been treated fairly by developed countries.

Special Guest Dr Krishna Chandra Poudel, Secretary of MoSTE pointed out that, although Nepal along with LDC Group has been strongly demanding for keeping the temperature below 1.5-degree celsius and climate finance, we need to be flexible given tough negotiations with developed countries at the COP 21.

Dr Sarba Raj Khadka, Coordinator of CCJN put forward his views that, the heart of climate justice is the understanding that urgent action needed to address climate change based on community-led solutions and well-being of local communities, indigenous peoples and the global poor who are at the frontlines of climate catastrophes, despite being the least responsible for climate change. He further said that we will not be able to stop climate change if we don’t change the neo-liberal, corporate-based economy which stops us from achieving sustainable societies.

Ms Prerna Bomzan, Advocacy Coordinator of LDC Watch expressed that we need to demand for a legally binding post-2020 agreement in Paris with a balanced outcome, making the agreement more accountable for developed countries’ historical responsibility towards developing countries and especially LDCs.

Mr Raju Pandit Chhetri briefed the participants in regards to the mechanism of the international climate negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and what is at stake at COP 21 in Paris.

The interaction programme was organised in the context of the 21st Conference of Parties (CoP21) of the UNFCCC scheduled from 30 Nov to 11 Dec 2015 in Paris, France. This conference will adopt a new climate agreement which will take effect post-2020 after the end of Kyoto Protocol.

The programme was chaired by Dr Sarba Raj Khadka, Coordinator of CCJN and Ms Sharmila Karki, Member of CCJN and President, NGO Federation of Nepal welcomed the participants and facilitated the dialogue.

Earlier the CCJN had organised regional level dialogues and consultations in Dhangadhi and Dhankuta on 18 November 2015 with the participation of different groups such as peasants, workers’ groups, natural resources user groups, indigenous groups, Dalits, women and representatives of different federations and networks working in the fields of human rights and people’s empowerment.

- See more at: http://saape.org/index.php/news-room/news/61-multi-stakeholder-dialogue-on-climate-justice-held#sthash.7r3LKvpB.WkEgFVao.dpuf

Filipino, other Asian activists call on Pakistan government for release of fisherfolk leader Saeed Baloch

MANILA, 2 February 2016 – Filipino activists protested today outside the Pakistan embassy in the Philippines [1], joining Asian and other activists across the world in demanding the immediate release of fisherfolk leader Saeed Baloch.

Baloch is the secretary general of the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF), a movement across four million fisherfolk communities in Pakistan and a long-time member of the Asian Peoples Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD). A noted human rights activist, labor unionist and movement leader, he was unjustly held for questioning by paramilitary forces last January 16 in Karachi and has been detained since, allegedly for financing gang wars in the Sindh provincial capital.

APMDD joined its members the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice, Focus on the Global South, and Sanlakas, as well as its allies NGO Forum on ADB, Aniban ng Mangagawang Agrikultura, Alyansa Tigil Mina, and Kongreso ng Pagkakaisa sa Maralitang ng Lungsod in the demonstration in Makati City. Representatives also delivered the groups' calls to Pakistani embassy officials.

The groups endorsed the APMDD statement [2] dated January 19 which condemned the unjust arrest of Baloch by the Pakistan Rangers and demanded his immediate release.

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Release Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum Secretary General Saeed Baloch!

Asian Peoples Movement on Debt and Development

STATEMENT

19 January 2016

The Asian Peoples Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD) condemns the unjust arrest of one of our leaders, Saeed Baloch, by paramilitary forces in Pakistan last January 16, and demands his immediate release.

Saeed is the Secretary General of the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF), a long-time APMDD member organization and a powerful social movement, with more than 70,000 members across four million fisherfolk communities in the country. He is a member of Pakistan’s Human Rights Commission. He is also the elected Secretary General of the workers union of the Fishermen’s Cooperative Society (FCS) in Karachi.

A noted human rights activist, labor unionist and movement leader, Saeed was “invited” for questioning by the Pakistan Rangers last Saturday afternoon and has been detained since, allegedly for financing gang wars in the Sindh provincial capital.

Read more

PH groups launch climate justice march; call for strong climate deal in Paris

MANILA, 11 November 2015 — Social movements, religious associations, and other civil society groups across the Philippines have united to call for a strong and fair global climate agreement ahead of the international climate talks that will start on November 30.

The Paris talks, the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21), is expected to come out with a new international legally-binding agreement on climate change, in compliance with the UN Framework convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The groups announced that they will hold a week of action for climate justice from November 23 to 30 across the country, which are all part of mobilizations across the world.

Actions include:

  • A 20,000-strong “March for Climate Justice Pilipinas” on Nov. 28 at the Quezon Memorial Circle in Metro Manila, the highlight of the week;

  • A Nov. 26-28 caravan across Luzon coal hotspots, from Semirara island in Antique to Quezon and Batangas, going to Manila;

  • A Nov. 29 march led by the Archdiocese of Manila to Rajah Sulayman Park, across Malate Church, followed by an ecumenical service and a Catholic mass;

  • A Nov. 30 Bonifacio Day mobilization by labor groups which will include a call for climate justice; and

  • Mobilizations from Nov. 27 to 29 in Tacloban, Palawan, Dumaguete, Iligan, Metro Cebu, Davao, General Santos, Malaybalay, Ozamis, Pagadian, and Tangub.

Haiyan and record global warming

The Philippines, a tropical archipelago besieged by no less than 20 storms yearly, is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change. In recent years it has been experiencing significant climate change impacts such as supertyphoons and other extreme weather events when the average global temperature rise reached 0.8⁰C above pre-industrial levels.

Recently, the UK Meteorological Office announced that this 2015, the world experienced global temperature increase of up to 1⁰C above pre-industrial levels.

In November 2013, Yolanda (Haiyan) claimed more than 6,000 lives and left thousands more homeless and without livelihood. The super typhoon also wrought over USD 14 billion in economic damages.

Emissions cuts overdue from rich countries

Climate action targets pledged by over 140 countries in recent weeks in preparation for Paris indicate that the world is still headed for at least 3⁰C of warming, according to recent reports from the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the UN Environment Programme, and a broad group of civil society organizations across the globe.

"World governments, including ours, through their recent pledges are condemning again the fate of humanity in the face of climate change. A 3 to 4 degree world to us Filipinos is death. This is a fight for our survival and future. Either we change the system and seek climate justice or face our death,” said Gerry Arances, national coordinator of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice.

The March for Climate Justice movement says that the main onus is on developed countries. The groups also stated that developing country governments should also deliver on their fair share and be firm in demanding climate finance from developed countries in order to do more mitigation actions.

“Pledges of the governments of the wealthy industrialized countries are far below their fair shares, based on their historical responsibility and capacity,” said Lidy Nacpil, coordinator of Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development and the Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice. “They have also pledged very little in terms of finance for developing countries like the Philippines, contrary to their obligations enshrined in the climate convention.”

“Developed countries’ fair share are far beyond what is possible to do inside their countries, therefore, to fulfil their fair shares, they have to enable more actions in developing countries by delivering finance for mitigation,” Nacpil added.

Philippine mitigation pledge vs. coal plans

The Philippines pledged to reduce its emissions by 70% by 2030 in its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution submission to the UNFCCC, but this pledge is dependent on international climate finance and other support. The groups said that the Philippine government should not only offer conditional pledges. It should also offer unconditional targets based on its fair share of the global efforts.

"Aksyon Klima supports the Philippine INDC position but calls on the government to show seriousness on the targets by defining the extent of what the country can do on its own and what more can be done when enabled. Marching orders should be issued to all agencies to adjust plans, projects, programs and activities, with the meaningful consultations and participation of all stakeholders, to make sure that we are on target by 2030," said Ruel Cabile, Aksyon Klima Pilipinas national coordinator.

It should be noted that the Aquino administration is approving the building of more than 50 coal-fired power plants in the next few years.

“The Philippines sits at a crossroads. Do we veer away from expensive and dirty fossil fuels and make use of our locally-abundant renewable energy resources? Or do we continue with a business-as-usual mindset and continue contributing to the global temperature increase?” asked Joel Palma, president and CEO of WWF-Philippines.

Carbon majors also liable

The groups are also holding the fossil fuel industry accountable for climate change. Fifty companies dubbed as the world’s “carbon majors” — including Chevron, ExxonMobil, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, and ConocoPhillips — are a subset of the 90 legal entities that have contributed the lion's share of cumulative global carbon dioxide and methane emissions in the Earth’s atmosphere, as identified by peer-reviewed research.

“The fight against climate change and the fight for the protection of human rights are two sides of the same coin. We have to remind these big polluters that their carbon emissions are affecting vulnerable countries like the Philippines. They should be held liable for endangering the lives and livelihoods of the present and future generations,” said Anna Abad, Climate Justice Campaigner for Greenpeace Philippines.

“We hope that the Commission on Human Rights take the bold step in pursuing a full and immediate investigation against those responsible, in the interest of justice, for the protection of our basic human rights,” Abad added.

Faithful asked to ‘protect our common home’

The Catholic Church is a strong champion in the climate justice movement especially with Pope Francis’s encyclical “Laudato Si.” Catholic and other religious groups in the Philippines and around the world have created coalitions and released statements in response to the Pope’s challenge for the faithful to “heed the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.” Clergy and laypeople alike will be at the frontlines of several of the above-mentioned mobilizations, joining other activists and sectors.

“Pope Francis has always insisted on the need to come up with a common plan that would address the issue of climate change. The time to act is now. What is needed is a strong political will that is geared towards the protection of our common home,” said Fr. Dexter Toledo, national coordinator of the Ecological Justice Interfaith Movement.

“It’s hard to get our heads around the reality that we intelligent, generally well-meaning people are hell-bent on destroying the future for our children. Hopefully the climate justice movement will wake us up from this nightmarish trance before it’s too late,” added Fr. John Leydon, a convenor of the Global Catholic Climate Movement.

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NOTES TO EDITORS:
For the full list of participating organizations in the Week of Actions for Climate Justice Pilipinas, including the March, see http://ow.ly/Uvk3E
For the common demands of the organizations, see http://ow.ly/Uvk7e
For photos from the launch, see http://ow.ly/Uvoag (Credit: AC Dimatatac) 

CONTACTS:
Chuck Baclagon, 350.org
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / +639272412743
 
Denise Fontanilla, Asian Peoples Movement on Debt and Development
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / +639178514890
 
Bro. Angelito Cortez, Ecological Justice Interfaith Movement
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / +639177759343
 
Angelica Pago, Greenpeace
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / +639989595785
 
Arvin Buenaagua, Philippine Movement for Climate Justice
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / +639156140703
 
Gregg Yan, WWF-Philippines
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.