Campaign on GHG emission cuts and climate finance pushed in Philippine climate conference
More than a hundred individuals from various organizations agreed on a campaign pushing for reductions of greenhouse gas emissions by Annex 1 countries as well as demands concerning climate finance during the Climate Campaign Conference organized by the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) and the Jubilee South Asia Pacific Movement on Debt and Development (JSAPMDD) held at the National College of Public Administration and Governance (NCPAG), University of the Philippines, Diliman on August 1, 2011.
In workshops that discussed action plans for the campaign for climate justice and reparations for climate debt, participants affirmed the proposed campaign plan presented by JSAPMDD Regional Coordinator Lidy Nacpil involving a two-track approach. The first track involves issues on GHG emissions while the second focuses on climate finance.
For the emissions track, participants agreed to contribute to a coordinated effort among many climate justice groups to prevent the U.S. and its Annex 1 allies to put in place an individual pledging system as a replacement to an internationally binding agreement on targets for the 2nd commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. There was also a consensus to push for more ambitious targets in GHG emission cuts by Annex 1 countries and to plug loopholes and correct the flaws of the Kyoto Protocol that allow for carbon trading and offsets.
For the climate finance track, participants were united in advancing demands on the nature, sources, purpose and use of climate finance. In particular, the participants agreed that climate finance should be from public sources and not in the form loans and that money should be spent on adaptation measures and not just mitigation. There was also an agreement to campaign for the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) not to have any role in the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and climate finance.
During the workshop, the participants outlined specific actions to further substantiate the proposed campaign plans. There was a recognition that a massive information drive needs to be undertaken to mobilize sectors for protest actions, especially during the Week of Action on November 13 to 19, 2011. It was also pointed out that emission cuts must be made through domestic measures and that governments and multi-national corporations must grant reparations to affected communities.
Prior to the workshop discussions, JSAPMDD Regional Coordinator Lidy Nacpil gave a presentation entitled "The Struggle for Climate Justice and Reparations for Climate Debt". Lidy explained the domino effects of climate change, pointing out that there is a short window of time to undertake drastic changes in human activities to prevent "catastrophic" climate change. She also discussed science of climate change, stressing that the problem is not GHG emissions per se but excessive emissions that go beyond the earth's capacity to absorb GHGs. She further tackled the history and political economy of the issue, noting that climate change has systemic roots and that the history of sharp increase in GHG emissions coincides with the emergence and growth of capitalism while the most rapid increase occurred in the last forty years.
Lidy also explained that rich industrialized countries have the largest contribution to GHG emissions and GHG concentration in the atmosphere and that governments of rich, industrialized countries are responsible for policies that drive, reinforce and perpetuate the system. Meanwhile, people of the South suffer the impacts more intensely even though they contributed least or not at all to the problem.
To achieve science-based, just and equitable solutions, Lidy stressed the need to transform the system as well as to undertake immediate, deep, drastic and domestic cuts in GHG emissions, deal with current impacts of climate change through adaptation measures, ensure technological shifts, transfers and alternatives, and provide adequate financing. She said global agreements need to cover these issues to actively respond to the consequences of climate change.
Lidy then discussed the concept of climate debt and reparations as a starting point of the struggle for climate justice. She said that the recognition of climate debt and the right to remedial measures and reparations is central to climate justice. Climate debt is owed by those responsible for unhampered, excessive GHG emissions cumulatively using more than their fair share of atmospheric space and destroying the earth's capacity to absorb GHGs.
She then discussed the state of play in the current climate struggle. She clarified that the Kyoto Protocol (KP) is not expiring but that the 1st commitment period for the countries' respective pledges to reduce GHG emissions ends in 2012. The 2nd commitment period is supposed to start in 2013 but countries are failing to agree on targets as the US and its allies are trying to derail the KP by pushing for another approach. She then explained the pledge and review system or the bottom up approach being pushed by the US instead of the top down approach.
Lidy also touched on issues involving climate finance as she pointed out that World Bank has been appointed as interim trustee of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the design of which is currently being discussed by the Transitional Committee. She said that part of the struggle on climate change is the campaign for the World Bank not to have a role in the GCF.
Lidy then presented the proposed campaign on the climate issue, which the workshop groups used to come up with action plans to operationalize the campaign. A workshop discussion per sectoral group then ensued. After the workshop, the outputs were presented in the plenary.