Moral imperative to cut carbon emissions needed at Paris summit

MANILA, Dec. 2 -- The moral imperative to curb carbon emissions worldwide was underscored as the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) convened on Monday.

Commissioner Heherson T. Alvarez of the Climate Change Commission, said “humanity has a rendezvous with destiny in Paris where leaders of 196 nations convene the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.”

COP21 will be a decisive conference for the world’s populations since it must achieve a new international agreement on the climate, applicable to all countries, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2 degrees centigrade.

“In our own country, the moral imperative to act has been growing. For the last four years, major faith groups— Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, Buddhists, and Evangelicals— have collaborated to stress that the world’s greatest religions teach reverence for nature,” Alvarez said.

The interfaith conferences, supported by the Climate Change Commission and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, have been led by Archbishop Antonio Ledesma of the Climate Change Congress of the Philippines, bishops Efraim M. Tendero and Noel A. Pantoja of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches, and Ms. Amina Rasul-Bernardo of the Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy.

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal G. Tagle described the interfaith conferences as reflecting a “deeper sense of human responsibility for the proper care of creation” and called for a “stewardship for the global common good.”

The Paris summit is crucial because intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) submitted by more than 170 countries are inadequate to deter global temperatures from further rising to a point that may trigger unknown climate consequences, Alvarez said.

A major concern of developing countries like the Philippines is the enormous investment required for mitigation and adaptation strategies.

If global pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions are not met, developing countries will have to pay $270 billion extra each year to adapt to the impacts of climate change, Alvarez said, citing the research of Oxfam International, a climate think-tank.

It would cost developing countries some $790 billion every year to adapt to this scenario, 50% more than the $520 billion it would cost them to adapt to a two degrees Celsius (2oC) world, the target for avoiding catastrophic climate change agreed at previous UN conferences. (CCC)

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