Climate Vulnerable Forum Statement by Philippines on Vanuatu and Cyclone Pam:
We need to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius to prevent unmanageable suffering and devastation inflicted by climate related disasters
20 March 2015
The Climate Change Commission of the Office of the President of the Philippines released the text of the following statement as Chair of the Climate Vulnerable Forum in conjunction with the Vanuatu Cyclone Pam disaster.
Philippines, as Climate Vulnerable Forum Chair, calls for solidarity with fellow Forum member Vanuatu as it grapples with nation-wide suffering and devastation inflicted by Cyclone Pam. This call is extended to Kiribati and Tuvalu, also members of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, and other nations affected by this lethal storm.
Cyclone Pam is a consequence of climate change since all weather is affected by the planet’s now considerably warmer climate. The spate of extreme storms over the past decade–of which Pam is the latest–is entirely consistent in science with the hottest ever decade on record. Recurring storms of this magnitude are the new norm and reflect today’s reality of a hotter planet that can no longer be ignored.
In light of the extent of the material damage caused by Pam, it is extraordinary that greater loss of life was averted, highlighting Vanuatu’s success in building resilience. A regional event of the Climate Vulnerable Forum just last month, supported by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme and the United Nations Development Programme, pointed to scope to strengthen the resilience of Pacific island nations still further.
But no matter how much is done to increase the resilience of communities of any country on any continent nobody is safe anymore from climate change. There will be damages, including irreplaceable loss of life, which cannot possibly be tolerated.
That is why the Climate Vulnerable Forum call for a strengthening of the international goal to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius*, the most stringent of the scientifically feasibleobjectives for managing climate change.
Cyclone Pam, typhoons Haiyan (2013) and Hagupit (2014) that struck Philippines, and hurricanes Katrina (2005) and Sandy (2012) that hit the United States and several Caribbean nations, in addition to many other catastrophes, are a clear alarm warning for all to hear.
Pam should awaken the world to the fact that human interference with the climate has reached dangerous proportions. The current international climate goal of 2 degrees, which is double today’s warming, would fall far short of a safeguard.
1.5 degrees is achievable through urgent and scaled-up efforts of nations to lessen warming pressures on the climate in particular through deeper cuts of greenhouse gas emissions.
Support for vulnerable nations whose capacity to cope with the impacts of current and committed changes to the climate is clearly exceeded constitutes both a humanitarian priority and an essential element to progress in reducing poverty globally.
On the road to a new international climate change agreement that culminates in Paris this December, the Philippines looks forward as Chair of this Forum to work with governments, institutions and civil groups around the world to rise to the global challenge of climate change.