Nearly thirteen years to this day, tropical storm Ondoy struck the Philippines. The devastation it left behind stunned an entire nation, a preview of the dangers looming and brought about by the climate crisis.
Today, the Philippines braces itself once again for the impacts of Noru (“Karding”), a super-typhoon whose wind speed nearly doubled in just six hours. Provinces, cities, and towns all over Luzon would likely experience wind speeds of up to 250 km per hour, storm surges, and/or heavy rainfall that could cause significant loss and damage to local economies and communities.
This has unfortunately become a “new normal” to which Filipinos have been unjustly subjected. In the previous decade (2010-2020), the country incurred more than PHP506 billion of climate-related loss and damage, presenting a serious threat to its pursuit of sustainable development. Eight of the ten costliest typhoons in our history occurred during this period, with typhoon names like Yolanda, Odette, Ompong, and Rolly becoming familiar to millions.
To say that the Philippines, a minor emitter of global warming pollution, is one of the most vulnerable countries to the climate crisis is becoming an understatement. With every super-typhoon or another extreme weather event striking the nation comes more loss and damage, some of which can never be recovered, and the cries of the earth and the poor that grow louder and louder.
Yet these cries keep falling on deaf ears, especially at the global level. Despite the efforts of the Philippines and similarly-vulnerable countries, addressing loss and damage remains not a part of the upcoming November global negotiations (COP27) in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. Developed countries, who are responsible for the climate crisis, continue to make excuse after excuse to not give vulnerable countries the proper compensation and support needed to address climate change impacts. This injustice cannot be allowed to continue in the era of the climate emergency.
National response to the climate crisis also needs to be scaled up. We challenge President Bongbong Marcos to live up to his climate-related statements during the 77th United Nations General Assembly and deliver concrete actions that are befitting not only of his position, but also of addressing the climate crisis.
Aksyon Klima Pilipinas (AKP), the country’s largest civil society network for climate action, makes the following calls and recommendations in light of super-typhoon Karding and other recent climate-related events:
- We demand that loss and damage (L&D) be made a part of the agenda at COP27, especially the deliberations for establishing a financial facility to compensate and support developing countries in avoiding or minimizing climate-related L&D. The current lack of inclusion of this issue into the official COP27 agenda is quite frankly an act of disrespect by developed nations to vulnerable communities that continue to suffer from their pollutive development ways. Developed countries need to stop making excuses and start living up to their claims of genuinely aiding developing countries in limiting L&D, as evidenced by Denmark’s recent USD13.3 million pledge, the first UN member-country to do so. We recommend that the Philippine negotiators at COP27 prioritize L&D in its agenda, with support from non-government Filipino delegates.
- We call on the national and local governments of the Philippines to declare a climate emergency and mobilize more resources and support to scale-up adaptation and mitigation programs, projects, and activities nationwide. We demand that President Marcos and both houses of Congress pass a law for climate emergency declaration, which must include reducing our reliance on fossil fuels (instead of increasing it), upholding climate justice and related human rights, and scaling up actions to avoid or minimize L&D. We also recommend for local governments around the country to pass local resolutions on climate emergency declaration, including on committing to limit climate-related L&D and strengthening partnerships with different sectors to address local impacts. We present the draft of the national climate emergency declaration resolution for both national and local governments to commit to enhancing climate action within their jurisdiction, in the name of a “whole-of-society” approach to facing the gravest existential threat to current and future generations.