COP26 PH delegation urged: Push for fossil fuel phaseout, hold environment polluters accountable

Published October 29, 2021, 12:33 PM

by Joseph Pedrajas

An international environment organization is pressing the Philippine delegation to the United Nations (UN) climate talks to push for an urgent fossil fuel phaseout and hold companies that are big environment polluters accountable amid reports that the world is still lagging behind its goal to immediately address the climate crisis.​


The Philippine office of Greenpeace Southeast Asia on Friday, Oct. 29, called on Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and other delegates to the Glasgow Conference of Parties (COP26) “to uphold the Filipino people’s demand for climate justice” in the international arena.

The group’s appeal came after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is composed of several scientists, recently reported that the world needs to make immediate, dramatic, and consistent emissions reductions through decreasing the fuel emissions by 50 percent by 2030 and reach zero percent by 2050 in order to prevent the worst impacts of the climate crisis.

Greenpeace’s call also came after Break Free From Plastic, a global movement against plastics, released its 2021 Brand Audit Report where it named five well-known global companies which are supposedly the top plastic polluters in the Philippines.

“Beyond speeches, we believe the Philippines must also take leadership in calling out big polluters—particularly corporations most responsible for the climate crisis—accountable. Urgent climate action is imperative and this call for justice must be made alongside a firm demand for the urgent phaseout of the fossil fuel industry,” Greenpeace Philippines Campaigner Virginia Benosa-Llorin said in a statement.

The COP26 is the most significant global climate conference since the Paris COP in 2015. By that time, most of the participating nations vowed to ensure a safe and stable climate by keeping temperature rises within 1.5 degrees Centigrade.

This year’s COP26, which will be held from Oct. 31 to Nov. 12, is the deadline for the world’s governments to submit their plans to cut their emissions to stay under the 1.5C warning.

“Current commitments are not enough,” the group said.

Citing the latest UN report synthesizing country pledges, the group said that with the current level of commitments, a 16-percent increase from the 2010 emission level will happen by 2030, which means a 2.7C rise in global temperatures is possible by the end of the century.

“The Philippines climate leadership needs to be more than lip service. Greenpeace believes that the Philippines can do more and must also take the high ground in mitigating climate emissions,” the group said, as even the Philippines vowed last April to reduce the fuel emissions by 75 percent by 2030, only a mere 2.71 percent will be reduced unconditionally or without external assistance.

“In reality, the country’s current energy plans are still fossil fuel-heavy, and the government has yet to lay down a clear pathway to an urgent and just transition to renewables,” it added.

The group also appealed to the country’s delegation to reject plans to open a global market in carbon offsets, which is expected to be discussed at the meeting.

The group said it maintains that “carbon offsetting is a greenwashing scam promoted by big polluters in order to continue business-as-usual—and delay taking necessary and urgent steps to enable an energy transition.”

Among the climate actions that Greenpeace wants agreed at COP26 are the following:

•​ ​Stop all new fossil fuel projects immediately and phase out the industry

•​ ​Set ambitious emissions-cutting plans to halve global emissions by 2030

•​ ​Reject plans to open a global market in carbon offsets and rather set rules for equitable international cooperation

•​ ​Ensure $100 billion a year goes from high-emitting countries to those countries bearing the brunt of climate impacts caused by the climate crisis” to adapt to the impacts of the climate crisis, develop clean energy systems and transition away from fossil fuels. And more money on top of that for further adaptation and to compensate for the damage already being caused by climate impacts in vulnerable countries.

“We hope to see a strong position brought in by the Philippine delegation to Glasgow—but we also need this to be supported by genuine climate action back home,” Llorin said.

“The Duterte administration still has time to put in place green recovery measures from COVID-19 (coronavirus disease), strengthen the coal moratorium announcement by actual cancellations of planned coal facilities, aim for 50 percent RE by 2030, and protect and restore ecosystems to build resilience,” she added.