Duterte pleads for 'climate justice' in East Asia Summit

Published October 28, 2021, 8:12 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

President Duterte has appealed for “climate justice” for the Philippines during the 16th East Asia Summit (EAS), which was attended by United States (US) President Joe Biden and Japan Prime Minister Kishida Fumio.

President Rodrigo Duterte (Malacañang photo)

“Competition for domination is a futile exercise on a dying planet. Development without regard for environmental sustainability has led to global warming,” Duterte said in his speech at the summit on Wednesday, Oct. 27.

According to Duterte, the Philippines contributes less than 1 percent of global greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions, “Yet, we bear the brunt of the horrendous effects of climate change.”

High volumes of GHGs act as a sort of blanket that trap heat close to the earth’s surface, thus accelerating climate change.

China, the US, and countries in the European Union (EU) are said to be the biggest emitters of GHGs.

“We are battered by extreme weather events like typhoons that are increasing in frequency and intensity. These affect livelihoods, claim lives and destroy infrastructure. We adapt. We try to build back better–only to be hit by another big disaster.

“Like many in the developing world, the Philippines calls for climate justice. We too deserve a fighting chance at progress,” Duterte said in the EAS, which is part of the ongoing 38th and 39th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summits and Related Summits.

Duterte reminded the EAS attendees of the upcoming COP26 (United Nations Conference on Climate Change) which will convene in Glasgow.

“We hope for urgent and serious climate action. It’s within the means and power of many of our EAS partners to avert an impending collective disaster,” he said.

“But our window for effective climate action is fast closing. Those most responsible for the problem–past and present–must commit to our common goal of net zero emissions, or we are all doomed,” Duterte said.

Typhoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan), which brought the Philippines’ central islands to its knees in November 2013 due to its sheer destructive force, is commonly referred to as a climate change triggered event.

Duterte attended the meetings of the twin summits via video conference.