Earth’s clear and present danger: Climate change is today

Published December 12, 2021, 12:05 AM

by Former House Speaker Jose C. De Venecia Jr.


Former Speaker of the House Jose C. De Venecia Jr.

(Remarks at the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) Special Workshop on Climate Change with the theme: ‘The Role of Political Parties in Asia to Achieve Net Zero’ on Dec. 8, 2021)

His Excellency former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon; ICAPP Vice Chairman and Special Rapporteur, Sen. Mushahid Hussain Sayed; ICAPP Secretary General Cho Byung-jae; distinguished colleagues in the ICAPP Standing Committee;

Excellencies, dear friends:

In recent years and months, we all have seen enough of disasters and calamities wrought by a wounded nature to accept that global warming is not merely the “perhaps” problem of a “sometime” future, but a real and present danger to humankind in our time.

We know climate change is real; and we know climate change is not the problem of tomorrow or the day after. Climate change is today.

Not the work of providence but of heedless people

We realized that the warming of the earth and the rising of the seas are the work not of providence but of ourselves, in all our heedlessness.

And yet man had not been licensed to inflict all that he wills on the rest of creation.

All in the same planet

Dear friends: Rich country, poor country, in-between country — we all inhabit the same planet.

Droughts, heat waves, and rising temperatures — deluges, floods, and inundations — typhoons, tornadoes, snowstorms, and sea surges — all these have become the new normal.

Our planet Earth is on the verge of a climate crisis and the entire ecosystem is already facing serious adverse impacts of rising temperatures.

Match with efforts the gravity of danger humankind faces

We, as political parties, therefore see our shared task as that of combating climate change — and of generating preventive action against global warming.

The battle against climate change is certainly growing worldwide. But it is not growing fast enough to get people to demand immediate and decisive action from those who lead them.

We must deal with the threat of climate change and global warming with a greater — and more sustained — sense of urgency than they have done so far, because the stakes are higher than in any political or economic crisis of the moment.

We need to match with our efforts the dimensions and the gravity of the danger humankind faces.

Climate change: A clear and present danger

Dear friends: We agree that climate change is the clear and present danger that threatens our planet earth.

We agree we have no more time to lose; and we agree every one of us has a job to do in the common effort we must undertake to preserve our planet and protect humanity.

Environmental protection as a moral obligation

So that we see for our International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) a legitimate — and important — role in persuading Asian governments and parliaments to govern green — to ensure the interests of the environment are represented in public policy decisions in every Asian state.

Our role as political parties is essential as we serve as the vehicles of people’s participation and aspirations. We constitute the government and parliament. We are the bridge between policy and people.

Our job is to deliberate and enact public policy that mitigates, deters, and stops climate change in every Asian state.

Our goal is to establish measures against environmental degradation as norms in the political cultures of our member countries.

Indeed — to mitigate climate change — political parties, parliaments, and civil societies need to summon a degree of moral anger, and perhaps even launch the effort with the moral equivalent of war.

To the protection of the environment, we must make a serious and long-term commitment.

And this commitment only inspirational political leadership can evoke from everyday people.


Dear friends: We underscore the importance of moving swiftly for the full implementation of the Paris Agreement to secure global net zero around mid-century and to limit average global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

This forum creates the opportunity for us to sit down and reason together on this common aspiration.

Thank you and good day.