Tropical Depression Auring (Dujuan), an off-season cyclone, caused massive flooding in the southeast Philippines, highlighting the need for the country to declare a climate emergency, Greenpeace said Monday.
It's a vicious cycle that will not stop unless Manila takes action, the environment group said. Images of entire communities swamped by swollen rivers is typical during the closing months of the year.
"How many more lives have to be ruined--or lost?," Greenpeace Philippines said in a tweet, resurfacing an online petition it launched last year that urged president Duterte to make climate change a top government priority.
"Now is the time for President Duterte to acknowledge the urgent situation we are facing by declaring a climate emergency," Greenpeace said, detailing its demands.
"Are we publishing yet which parts of the country will be completely under water if climate change continues in 29 years? Because this should be part of the voting agenda in 2022," said Twitter user @marawheresclara.
Filipinos are taking the brunt of climate change, as the country is usually the first landmass hit by cyclones that form over the Pacific Ocean. On average, 20 typhoons, tropical storms and tropical depressions enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility.
What must the Philippines do?
According to the United Nations, the world may only have 11 years left to reverse the devastating impacts of climate change. Greenpace said big polluters most responsible for the emissions driving this crisis are still not being held to account.
Greenpeace listed the following action points:
- Put climate urgency at the center of all policy decision-making from local to national level.
- Hold fossil fuel companies responsible for their role in driving climate change and inflicting harm on the Filipino people.
- Demand other countries, particularly industrialized nations, enhance their emissions reduction ambitions in order to meet the Paris Agreement’s 1.5 degrees Celsius target.
- Ensure the Philippines’ rapid and just transition to a low-carbon pathway through a massive uptake of renewable energy solutions.
- Phase-out coal, and stop all plans for future coal and fossil fuel investments.
"It is time that the government acknowledges the urgent crisis that Filipinos are facing every day and act with the urgency now required," it said.