Environmentalists call for climate justice

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MANILA, Nov. 18, 2012—Filipino climate activists joined an annual biking event calling for environmental justice and reduction of greenhouse gases (GHG) emission especially from industrialized countries.

Dubbed “Tour of the Fireflies”, the event was participated by thousands of cyclists in a bid to raise the issue of sustainable transportation in the era of climate change.

Gerry Arances, coordinator of Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ), a broad movement of basic sectors of society, said the activity is one way of raising awareness among the public on the effects of climate change as well as “contributing in cutting GHG emission globally, by advancing a more sustainable transportation system—like promoting bicycle riding as one of the means of transportation.”

But he said that first world countries, like the United States must be the first to drastically reduce its GHG emission.

“While we agree that we do our share in mitigating climate change by promoting clean and sustainable transportation, and consequently low-carbon, clean and sustainable cities, we can not deny the fact that our country’s contribution to the global GHG emission is less than 1%” said Arances.

According to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, transportation contributed approximately 27 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2010.

Under the United Nations Convention on Climate Change, the U.S. and other industrialized countries, are legally obliged to cut their GHG emissions, in recognition of their historical responsibility that led to current dire climate situation.

“We are already in a state of planetary emergency. Let us join hands to compel industrialized countries, like the U.S., to fulfil their obligations. Now is the time to begin and demand climate justice.” Arances said.

The tour was led by one of PMCJ members, Tado Jimenez who claimed, he was a “victim of climate change” and many other disasters it bring.

“Not only am I a cyclist, like many of us in Marikina and the rest of our kababayans, I am a victim of climate change and the disasters that it bring,” Tado stressed.

Tado is one of the many residents in Marikina who survived Ondoy and Habagat, but is still anxious for the worse that climate change may bring to them.

“That is why I am adding my voice to the many in the globe that are calling for climate justice now,” he said. “We are doing our part, the U.S. and other developed countries must fulfill their responsibilities too.”

The “Tour of the Fireflies” was held in support of the “Global Week of Action to Demand Climate Justice” organized by the Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice, from November 12-18.

The global week of action is coordinated worldwide to raise the necessity for climate justice ahead of the climate summit by the Conference of Parties (COP 18) in Doha, Qatar from November 26 until December 7, 2012. (CBCPNews)



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