Greenpeace urged presidential candidates to go beyond disaster response and to push for policies that will address long-term climate impacts

The environmental organization Greenpeace Philippines renewed its call for the inclusion of climate action and climate justice in the presidential candidates’ electoral agenda.

The organization urged presidential candidates to go beyond disaster response and to push for policies that will address long-term climate impacts by ensuring climate is the next administration’s priority focus. These policies should include holding big polluting countries and companies accountable for their contributions to the climate crisis and lobbying for enhanced climate financing as well as compensation for loss and damage–aside from transitioning the economy away from fossil fuel dependence.

“While disaster recovery plans are needed especially as the country reels from the impacts of Typhoon Odette, presidential candidates must realize that this will not improve economic resilience to the climate crisis in the long run. Climate policies centered on the rights of the people must be placed alongside ensuring job security and green and just COVID19 recovery, in order to ensure economic stability,” Greenpeace Country Director Lea Guerrero said.

The call came following a USwitch report that revealed that disasters linked to global warming have cost the Philippines $42.929 billion or $360.75 million annually between 1902 and 2021.

However, the USwitch analysis is not the first to look at the country’s economic losses due to climate risks. Previous studies by the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank estimate that climate change accounts for GDP losses of around 1% (from natural hazards and typhoons)[1] to as much as 6-11% (from collective impacts across agriculture, health, ecosystems and other sectors)[2] per year.

Other slow-onset impacts can also severely affect the economy. In 2021, a Greenpeace report[3] estimated that sea-level rise and flooding in the City of Manila within the next 8 years can impact around 87% of the city’s GDP. While the study was focused on just the capital, earlier Greenpeace research shows that only one of the 16 regions of the Philippines is not vulnerable to a one-meter rise in sea level, and the regions and provinces most susceptible to sea-level rise, extreme weather events, and landslides are also among those with the highest poverty incidence.

“The next administration will not be able to address poverty reduction, food, energy and water security, and will not be able to secure the health and lives of Filipinos successfully without addressing the climate crisis. A climate lense on policymaking and implementation, as well as a coherent plan of action that looks at both mitigation and adaptation and harmonizes plans across government agencies, is imperative,” said Guerrero.

Candidates for executive and legislative positions must advocate urgent climate action at home, such as following through with the Climate Emergency Declaration and ensuring the country’s rapid transition to renewable energy. Greenpeace said that because of the Philippines’ extreme vulnerability to climate impacts, the country must also lead the call for climate justice.

“The climate crisis is the defining issue for the next administration. It is only fitting that aspirants prioritize it as early as now,” Guerrero said./Maverick Russel Flores/Greenpeace

Featured photo by Akil Mazumder from Pexels