by Gaea Katreena Cabico | March 21, 2023| Published by | READ THE STORY HERE

MANILA, Philippines — Staving off the worst impacts of the climate crisis requires governments to kick their fossil fuel habit as soon as possible and shift to renewable energy systems, climate and environment groups said following the release of a capstone report from the United Nations’ climate advisory panel.

In a report released on Monday, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) painted a stark picture of where the world is heading — heavier rainfall, more intense heatwaves, other weather extremes and collapse of ecosystems — unless radical actions are taken.

“The latest IPCC report affirms that dangerous climate change has already set in, judging from the increasingly severe impacts of extreme events and rising losses and damages from slow onset events,” said Lourdes Tibig, a climatologist and lead author of two IPCC reports.

“No one is spared, but the poorest and most vulnerable continue to bear the brunt. It is high time that world leaders heed the science for us to have a fighting chance to survive and thrive,” added Tibig, who is also the climate science advisor of the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC).

The 36-page report is a synthesis of six major assessments since 2018. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres likened the IPCC report to “a survival guide for humanity.”

End fossil dependence

To secure a liveable and sustainable future for all, the IPCC stressed there must be “rapid and far-reaching transitions” across all sectors and systems.

“This synthesis report takes every excuse to keep burning fossil fuels down the drain. Any company, any government that promotes new coal, gas, or other fossil fuel projects are dealing a death sentence to the 1.5°C global warming threshold and the survival of millions,” the Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development said in a statement.

“Science is clear: the only option we have is to urgently shift to energy from renewables, which is now cheaper than ever. Yet the transition we need is not happening fast enough; in fact, many developed nations are even seeking to prolong the life of fossil fuels through unproven or detrimental technologies falsely labeled as solutions,” it added.

Asian Peoples’ Movement for Debt and Development (APMDD) also criticized wealthy countries for pushing massive oil and gas development instead of slashing their planet-warming emissions.

“We vehemently object to the plans for, and the continued promotion of, new fossil fuel infrastructures in the Global South financed by wealthy countries — the big polluters that, due to their historical and continuing emissions, have an obligation to swiftly end reliance on fossil fuel, deliver adequate climate finance, and just transition to renewables,” APMDD coordinator Lidy Nacpil said.

‘Impetus’ for climate action

The Philippines is one the countries most at risk from the impacts of climate change.

“For countries like the Philippines, inaction means deadlier typhoons and heat waves, plummeting agricultural and fisheries production, and so much more,” said Jon Bonifacio, national coordinator of Kalikasan-People’s Network for the Environment.

“Yet, our own government has insisted on unjust transition policies like the jeepney phaseout, land reclamation and mining that decimates climate-critical ecosystems and the communities living in them, and widespread persecution of climate and environmental advocates,” he added.

Environment Undersecretary Analiza Rebuelta-Teh, who headed the country’s all-women delegation to the 58th session of the IPCC, said the panel’s synthesis report serves “provides a clear and substantive analysis” on climate science that would accelerate the pace of co-creating policies and designing programs.

Climate Change Commissioner Rachel Anne Herrera said the report will provide the “impetus for urgent climate action in the Philippine context.”

During the week-long approval sessions, the Philippine delegation intervened on several sections of the report by highlighting the need to pursue evidence-based adaptation planning, and supporting the value of emissions avoidance as a recognition of risk-based and outcomes-based approaches to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Photo by aleksrybalko/