'Injustice must be corrected': Marcos urges big economies to help fight climate change

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 21 2022 05:03 AM | Updated as of Sep 21 2022 12:50 PM

MANILA (UPDATE)– President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Wednesday urged developed economies to help in the world's fight against climate change, saying smaller countries are more vulnerable to its impact but industrialized countries are not doing enough.

Marcos, during his address at the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, said it was important to talk about climate action immediately for the "continued survival of the global community."

He described the climate crisis as a "collective disaster." 

"The time for talk about if and when has long since passed. It is here, it is now. Climate change is the greatest threat affecting our nations and our peoples," he said at the beginning of his 20-minute speech. 

"There is no other problem so global in nature that it requires a united effort, one led by the UN. The effects of climate change are uneven and reflect a historical injustice."

He lamented inaction on climate change issues, since those "least responsible," such as the Philippines, "suffer the most." This "must be corrected," and "those who need to do more must act now."

Based on last year's World Risk Report, the Philippines is the 8th most vulnerable countries in terms of climate change impact. The country ranked just behind Guyana and before Papua New Guinea, according to the report. 

Last year's Global Climate Risk Index, cited by the Climate Change Commission's website, meanwhile showed the Philippines is the 4th at-risk countries for long-term effects of climate change. 

"The Philippines... is a net carbon sink. We absorb more carbon dioxide than we emit and yet we are the fourth most vulnerable country to the effects of climate change," he said. 

While the Philippines will do its part to act on this crisis, he urged big economies to do their part too and lead by example.

Wealthy countries have previously promised billions of dollars to help poorer nations avert carbon emissions and build resilience against climate change.

"We call on industrialized countries to immediately fulfill their obligations under the UN framework convention on climate change and the Paris Agreement to cut their greenhouse gas emissions, provide climate financing, and technology transfer for adaptation for the most vulnerable and developing countries," said Marcos. 

"This threat know no borders, no social class, nor any geopolitical consideration. How we address it will be the true test of our time." 

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Marcos said he is looking forward to COP27, the 27th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. This will take place at the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh from November 6 to 18.

The Climate Change Commission had said natural disasters in the Philippines caused P506 billion in economic losses during the past decade alone.

A new study recently released by the United Nations' (UN) climate experts, warning about a catastrophic climate change by 2025 if carbon emission levels remain unchanged.

PAGASA's climate center, meanwhile, last month said the sea level in the Philippine Sea has already risen to about 12 centimeters or nearly 5 inches in the past 20 years as global temperatures increase.

— with a report from Agence France-Presse