Statement of Sec. Emmanuel M. De Guzman
Climate Change Commission, Philippines
Climate Vulnerable Forum Event
UNFCCC COP24, Katowice Poland
13 December 2018
It is our moral duty to be clear about where we stand. We are in Poland in the name of the children of tomorrow whose interests we must secure, compelled by science and duty.
We find the ambivalence of countries in these negotiations unacceptable. We are discussing here not trivial text or punctuation marks but our very survival. The success of these talks will determine countless lives and existence. The choices leaders weigh here spells the difference between annihilation and hope, that we may live far into the future with requisite happiness, peace, and security.
The IPCC Special Report on the global 1.5 degree temperature threshold is not just a scientific report. It is a warning to our generation. This is a climate emergency. We find our ship in rough waters and we need to rouse leaders in this COP from the slumber and quibbling minutiae of short-term considerations that have caused too much distraction.
People everywhere are demanding action. The youth are acting. Children are rising. Civil society is mobilising and they stand with us.
We find ourselves again in this familiar stage, brought to this precipice by indecision and indifference. How can we, the world’s most vulnerable, find the courage to act both for 2020 and for tomorrow? We contributed next to nothing and we suffer the brunt; but we are making a stand because we believe a resilient low carbon future is the only pathway that will secure inclusive, enduring development for all.
Colleagues, there is no excuse for in action among the world’s most powerful nations — countries that bear the bulk of responsibility. Indecision and weakness in the face of the greatest peril humanity has ever faced is nothing less than immoral.
If this COP is incapable of sending a clear signal for all countries to enhance their NDCs by 2020, the COP will have failed the people, the world, the vulnerable.
At this critical juncture, it’s time we call out countries that do not stand with us. The world — today’s children — will judge you for what your acts here in Poland or what you will leave undone. Instead of condemning our nations and the Earth to a future menaced by runaway climate change, we ask you to stand for the good. Stand for the people. We know the decisions you face are difficult. But now is the time for real leadership, not cowardice.