Author: Renee Karunungan

Rich Countries Say They Won’t Pay to Compensate for Weather-caused Damage

The world’s rich countries, including those in the European Union and Australia, say they strongly disagree with a proposal to include financing the impact of weather-caused disasters in Loss and Damage” negotiations in the United Nations-sponsored climate talks in Bonn. “We have to prioritize disaster, but not all disasters are fed by climate change,” said Australian negotiators in a prepared statement at the 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 23) to the UN Convention on Climate Change, a follow-on to the pathbreaking Paris Agreement on climate change in October 2016. Loss and Damage, a term used frequently in the negotiations especially by developing and least developed countries, refers to permanent losses such as lives, species, and habitat and repairable damages such as roads and other infrastructures caused by the impact of climate change impact. These are losses and damages that cannot be addressed by adaptation. Two important discussions surrounding loss and damage are the concept of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR) and compensation (finance). CBDR is a principle of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that …

COP 23: What you need to know about loss and damage

Loss and Damage has become a big discussion at COP 23. This is not surprising given that the presidency is led by Fiji, a small island developing state. The discussion on loss and damage has been heated, with Australia and European Union saying that there is “insufficient statistical evidence” that extreme weather events such as typhoons are singularly caused by climate change. Meanwhile, developing countries who are affected by climate change impacts now are still calling for the negotiations to talk about finance for loss and damage. We know you have many questions about this. What is loss and damage? How did it become part of the negotiations? Where are we now and where do we want to go? Here is an infograph which I made for Climate Tracker on everything you need to know about Loss and Damage:  

What are young people doing at COP?

Today, we celebrate Young Feminist Day and Youth and Future Generations Day and here we feature some of the young people here at COP 23 and the work they do. They also talk about why engaging the youth in the policy process is important. Watch the videos below and get to know them more:

World Moves Forward on Climate Change Without US

The latest united Nations conference on Climate Change – the aftermath of the groundbreaking climate agreement signed in Paris prior to the election of President Donald Trump – got underway on Nov. 7 without the United States and immediately found Nicaragua and Syria committing to global climate action, isolating the US further. In a striking riposte to Trump, the US even found itself isolated its own major local governments including California, Oregon and Washington as well as other governments and businesses. In addition in seeming opposition to the administration the White House itself signed off on a statement by 13 federal agencies on Nov. 3 that climate change is real, caused by human activity and responsible for major damage to the environment. Nicaragua, which decided in 2015 that it wouldn’t sign the Paris Agreement over what it said was a lack of commitment to cutting greenhouse gases, announced on Oct. 23 that it has decided to join. “It is the only instrument we have in the world that allows the unity of intentions and efforts …

1 month in: Studying in the UK

There’s a reason I haven’t posted in a while. It’s been a month and a few days since I moved to the United Kingdom to pursue my postgraduate studies. It’s been one of my dreams to get a masters degree in the United Kingdom and my journey began last year when I decided to apply for a Chevening scholarship. I got in, with 26 other Filipinos, in the hopes of learning more and applying it when I get back home. In applying for the Chevening scholarship, you have to put 3 choices of courses and universities you want to attend in the UK. Mine were the University of Glasgow, University of Sussex, and the University of East Anglia. I got into all three, but eventually chose UEA. I am now in Norwich studying Media and International Development at the University of East Anglia. I first became involved in climate justice in 2009. I was in college then, a member of Dakila, and we began a campaign with Oxfam in time for COP19 in Copenhagen. Everyone was …

Climate change in the year of Duterte

In his State of the Nation Address this year, President Duterte seemingly put importance on environmental issues, mentioning climate change, mining, adaptation, and disasters in his more than two-hour long speech. The President specifically mentioned “drought and long dry spells affecting food production in Mindanao” and asked “all agencies involved in food production to look into this and act accordingly.” He also said, “Responsible, regulated and sustainable development is what we advocate and require. The protection of the environment must be made a priority..” and called on Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management to work on undertaking disaster measures. To be fair, this is the first in many years that environment and climate change was mentioned more than just in passing. Former Department of Energy and Natural Resources Secretary Gina Lopez might have done a good job in giving more importance to environmental issues than any of her predecessors. It was during Lopez’s brief stint as environment secretary that climate change and mining issues were put forward as urgent and important. While Duterte claims …

Climate change threatens centuries’ old Indigenous cultures and traditions

Climate change has been known for its impacts such as extreme weather events, melting glaciers, sea level rise, and even health risks. However, not much has been said about the impacts of climate change on cultures and traditions.  As lands start to sink and as people start to migrate, as weather patterns continue to change, cultures and traditions of people are also under threat of disappearing. People have lived in the same geographic locations for thousands of years, and have built their lives, including their cultures and traditions, based on the land they live in. In the Maldives, there is an Indigenous calendar called nakaiy, which follows the changes in weather and the rising and the setting of the stars. For centuries it has determined the best time to fish, travel, plant crops, build a house, or even get married. However, because of climate change, this traditional method is no longer reliable for the Maldivians.  In Peru, the Huacapunco dance at the foot of their lagoon. Dressed in typical costumes to the beat of a …