To highlight the issue of climate change, the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) held Climate Disruption: The Defining Issue of Our Generation, a Mabini Dialogue held at the Institute’s Special Envoy Carlos Chan Room, Department of Foreign Affairs, on 14 August 2015.
Mr. Naderev “Yeb” Madla Saño, former Climate Change Commissioner and chief negotiator for the Philippines to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), was the guest speaker. He is currently the Pilgrim Leader of The People’s Pilgrimage, an international multi-faith campaign that seeks to unite communities around the world to help address the threats of climate change.
In his talk, Mr. Saño asserted the reality of climate change by presenting highlights from the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC):carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere has gone up in unprecedented levels; sea levels are rising faster than ever; glaciers in most parts of Greenland and Antarctica have been melting fastest in the last two decades. He also made reference to observations on the general deterioration of nature,such as loss of vast forest areas, fish stocks depletion and frequency of super storms bearing the “fingerprint” of climate change.
Mr. Saño emphasized that climate change is a symptom of a planetary system in crisis and has thus become one of the most pressing issues facing the present generation. The problem is a complicated one and involves a broad spectrum of other related issues. This explains why despite previous attempts by the international community, no effective agreement on climate change has been reached. He expressed dissatisfaction with pledges of carbon emissions reduction made by developed countries – the pledges are not enough and were made too late. Scientists predict that without deep emission cuts, it is likely that by 2050, the earth will cross the two degree target for limiting global warming, the target set by international policy. This rise in temperature will cause more intense heatwaves, stronger typhoons, and dramatic rise in sea levels
At the end of the forum, Mr. Saño stressed that the issue of climate change cannot be discussed in isolation from the issue of social justice, and that climate change is not just an environmental or an economic issue, but also a moral issue. He urged the audience to help fight climate change by reducing their carbon footprint in their daily activities and getting more involved in climate change discussions.
The Mabini Dialogue was attended by officers and staff of the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Armed Forces of the Philippines, representatives from the academe, and staff of Philippine foreign service posts via live webcast.