Environmental group Greenpeace called on the Philippine government to declare a “climate emergency” following the onslaught of super typhoon “Rolly” (international name: Goni), the world’s strongest typhoon so far in 2020.
“Typhoon Rolly is not the strongest typhoon to sweep through the Philippines, nor will it be the last — there will be more, and they will most likely be worse,” said Virginia Llorin, Greenpeace campaigner in the Philippines.
She said it is time for the Philippine government “to show true climate leadership by championing climate justice for the poorest of the poor.”
Typhoon “Rolly” left at least 20 people dead and several others mission, and wrought severe damage to houses and infrastructure in the Bicol Region.
In the province of Albay, mud and rocks buried at least 300 houses.
Greenpeace said President Rodrigo Duterte should issue a “climate emergency declaration” to strengthen an urgent whole-of-government and whole-of-society mobilization to respond to the climate crisis.
The environmental group said the declaration must also call on the international community to act with the same urgency and scale, and demand equity from governments and accountability from corporations for the sake of countries that are least responsible but face the most vulnerabilities.
Aside from the climate crisis, the Philippines faces the coronavirus pandemic, biodiversity loss, and ecosystems destruction, disasters, food insecurity, and economic crisis, noted Greenpeace.
The group said that key to the “climate emergency declaration” is holding carbon majors — 90 fossil fuel and cement companies responsible for 60 percent of global anthropogenic or human-induced carbon emissions since the start of the industrial revolution — accountable.
About 50 of these companies have been the subject of a “climate change inquiry” of the Commission on Human Rights for their responsibility for human rights harms to Filipinos due climate impacts.
“The climate crisis is costing Filipino people and communities their lives, livelihoods, health, security, and dignity,” said Llorin.
“We can’t keep counting the dead and the damage after every typhoon forever,” she said. “It’s time for the Philippines and every Filipino to rise together and hold these companies to account,” Llorin added.
In 2017, Duterte signed the “Instrument of Accession,” a document signifying the country’s acceptance of the Parish Agreement on Climate Change, the first-ever legally-binding global agreement on climate change.