PH civil society groups not impressed with French Pesident’s “climate trip” to the Philippines
French President Francois Hollande’s will be visiting the Philippines this February 26 to 27 accompanied by prominent personalities known for their involvement in environmental advocacies to the Philippines, including Jeremy Irons, Marion Cotillard, and Mélanie Laurent as well as Patriarch Bartholomew I of the Orthodox Church, and high officials from various international organizations and French investors. Hollande’s trip is meant to be a build-up to the 21st Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 21) to be hosted by France in December 2015.
President Hollande’s visit is an important opportunity for us to remind France and other developed countries governments of their historical responsibility for climate change and their obligations towards peoples of developing countries who suffer the brunt of the impacts.” says Lidy Nacpil, Regional Coordinator of the Jubilee South Asia Pacific Movement on Debt and Development (JS-APMDD) and Convenor of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ), a coalition of 109 organizations from different sectors advocating a systematic change in order to cope with the adverse effects of a changing climate.
The delegation, headed by France’s President Hollande, aims at “expanding bilateral ties between France and the Philippines and to highlight the Philippines as a partner in the fight against climate change,” as stated by the Embassy of France in Manila.
“Their expression of support for us, the vulnerable countries, is contradicted by their energy policy and their investments in dirty energy,” added Nacpil. “What we need from France is not posturing, but the fulfilment of their obligations to radically reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and deliver sufficient climate finance as their historical responsibility for climate change requires.
France, which at present still heavily relies on petroleum imports for energy and is the second-largest producer of nuclear energy next to the United States, is also one of the biggest funders of coal projects globally through public funds (export credit agencies) with US$1.8 billion from 2003 to 2013.
In their talks with the United States, France expressed support for free market solutions to the problem of climate change, including ECAs, emissions trading and development project which enable developed countries to decrease their reduction requirements, which Nacpil denounced as “false solutions” to the problem of climate change.
“Market mechanisms only allow for businesses in developed countries to go about their business without regard for the environment and the plight of vulnerable countries concerning climate change,” said Nacpil. “France should show that it is on the Philippines’ side, the side of the vulnerable to the disasters we are funding by postponing climate justice.”
“As the host of this year’s COP21, France must show its sincerity to fight climate change by supporting the interests of the people most vulnerable to its effects, not those countries who have profited and continue to profit from it,” says Gerry Arances, National Coordinator of PMCJ. “For example, it should lead the EU to aim for higher, more ambitious emissions reduction targets. If we are to maintain emissions at the ideal level by 2030, which is below 2 degrees, the EU is expected to cut back 55% of their emissions.”
Arances also emphasized the importance of climate financing to respond to the demands of climate financing, saying: “At present, the Green Climate Fund remains to be a very low priority among parties to the UNFCCC with very minimal funding. We must not be deceived by the reported pledges made by developed countries, like the $1 Billion pledge from France. What we need is a centralized approach which shall honor historical responsibilities, especially from the part of developed countries.”
February 24, 2015