All posts tagged: COP21

US Top Court Imperils Asia Climate Control Efforts

Only a few months after the historic signing of the United Nations-sponsored COP-21 climate agreement in Paris in December, there are already signs of its possible failure. Early last week, the United States Supreme Court stayed the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan (CPP) until its legality can be adjudicated, which could take several months. On Feb. 8, in a stunning decision criticized by environmentalists, a 5-4 majority of the court delayed the EPA’s plan, the centerpiece of the Obama administration’s fight to limit carbon emissions while lawsuits against the federal government by 29 states are adjudicated by lower courts. The decision is considered to be ominous because the top court usually allows such plans to stay in force until their own decision is made. The ruling, by a deeply conservative court, means it is almost certain that the fight over the plan will go on after Obama leaves office – and if a Republican is elected President in December, it would doom it. After Paris, everyone went home more hopeful about the …

Dear PNoy, Coal is not cheap — it costs us our lives

Dear President Aquino, I was there when you made a speech at the UNFCCC negotiations in Paris, proudly saying that the Philippines is cutting its emissions by 70%. I was in the same room as you when you made a statement at the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) and said that the government is working hard to diversify our energy resources and increasingly tapping into renewables. I was cheering with the crowd when the Philippines, representing the CVF, got the “Ray of the Day” award for its declaration to achieve full decarbonization and run our countries on 100% renewables by 2050. I was there when the Paris agreement was signed and Climate Change Commissioner Emmanuel de Guzman made a statement saying how much we have fought for a more ambitious target of 1.5 degrees celsius — a goal that will encourage countries to mitigate carbon emissions —  and that we will deliver on this goal. I have been following climate issues for quite some time and I know about the government’s approval of new coal power …

So we made a deal with the planet, now what?

It was already December 12, a day after the Conference of Parties (COP) 21 was supposed to have closed in Le Bourget, France, and hundreds were anxiously waiting inside the plenary halls for a climate agreement. The Twitterverse was exploding. What was taking it so long, what was happening? Many theories emerged. Was it China again? Or was it Saudi Arabia? A country must be unhappy about the agreement and holding up the plenary. It turned out to be the United States. At the last minute, the US called for closed-door meeting with other countries over the use of “shall” (legally binding) instead of “should” (less  binding). Will the US be the reason of another failed attempt at a climate agreement? After a long wait, US Secretary of State John Kerry, together with Fabius and UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueras entered the plenary hall. “It may be a small gavel but it can do big things,” Fabius said before he put his gavel down. And with that, everyone in the room stood up, clapped and …

Why climate change is a matter of human rights

One year after Haiyan, Teresita, with no money but with a handful of prayers, dared to travel from Samar to Manila in search of a job. Her house is a few kilometers away from San Juanico bridge, the bridge connecting Samar and Leyte, where Haiyan made landfall. Her house, along with her family’s small coconut plantation, was wiped away when the water drowned the city. In Olkaria, Naivasha, Kenya, the Maasai indigenous people have been evicted to make way for a geothermal power plant, a clean energy project. Similarly, in western Kenya, forest-dependent Sengwer indigenous peoples have been accused of deforestation and wer also evicted from the Embobut Forest. Ties between land and womb “Whenua”, the Maori word for land, also means placenta. There is a tradition in Tuvalu where women who give birth bury the whenua and the “pito (umbilical cord) of the baby and plant a tree on top, signifying the close relationship between the child and the land of their birth. This is why the people of Tuvalu, unlike their neighbors in …

Youth Are Finding Solutions to Climate Change

The fourth day of the Conference of Parties (COP) 21 in Paris was dubbed “Youth and Future Generations.” Speaking at a press conference on December 3, Ahmad Alhendawi, youth envoy for the United Nations secretary general, said that the youth send an urgency in the negotiations over climate change. “We have seen young people coming together to send a strong call to action to save our planet. What’s at stake today is the future. We need to reach this agreement, and we need it to be ambitious,” Alhendawi said. Youth in Action Right before COP21, the 11th Conference of Youth (COY) was held, bringing together 1,500 young people from all over the world sharing their experiences in finding solutions to climate change and engaging in different activities in their countries related to climate action. Siamak Loni of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network believes that young people have a big role to play in finding solutions to climate change. “The biggest revolutions in history happened because of young people,” Loni notes. “Young people have certain qualities like creativity, …