Filipino church officials in COP28 have called for decisive action against fossil fuels as the climate summit in Dubai enters its final hours.
The plea comes in response to the release of a new text for the Global Stocktake (GST) on the eve of the conference’s last day.
The church leaders lamented the “far weakened language” used in the revised text than the earlier drafts. They criticized the removal of the call to phase out fossil fuels, which are the main driver of the climate crisis.
Bishop Gerry Alminaza, who heads the National Laudato Si’ Program of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, expressed disappointment at the weakened language and stressed the moral duty of global leaders to take action compatible with limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C.
“Thousands of us came to COP28 with hope that it will deliver the climate action we all so desperately seek. Our young people and vulnerable communities spoke up, fueled by this hope,” he said.
The prelate stressed that global leaders have the “moral duty to use the remaining hours of this climate conference to deliver action compatible with 1.5°C and herald a full and equitable phaseout of all fossil fuels”.
The new text’s impact on the GST, a crucial element of the conference, is particularly significant as it involves parties taking stock of climate action and addressing gaps to meet the Paris Agreement goal of limiting temperature rise to 1.5°C.
Fr. Edwin Gariguez, lead convenor of the Protect Verde Island Passage (Protect VIP) network in the Philippines, emphasized the importance of keeping the best interests of people and nature in mind when making final decisions.
“The earlier we phase out fossil fuels, the earlier our communities will be free from their deadly impacts, and our waters and seas can recuperate from pollution,” he said.
The priest said the phaseout of all fossil fuels will “help ensure that generations to come can have a fighting chance and to ensure the survival and sustainability of all Creation”.
Other Filipino climate activists also expressed disappointment with the revised text for the GST, which aimed at climate action post-Paris Agreement.
Krishna Ariola, founding convenor of Youth for Climate Hope (Y4CH) said the Global Stocktake shows “the failure of state parties to its commitments to the Paris Agreement and their continued commitment to that failure”.
Ariola emphasized the lack of leadership in addressing the climate crisis, describing the text as robbing hope for achieving the 1.5°C goal and compromising the livable future of the youth.
Despite this setback, Ariola remains optimistic about the resilience of global movements and their commitment to intensify the fight for survival.
Gerry Arances, convenor of the Power for People Coalition, warned that if COP28 concludes with the text in its current state, it would be deemed a failure.
He urged the Philippine delegation “to exhaust all means to push back and hold the line,” adding that the country “has bravely battled and emerged victorious in the past in fighting for the 1.5°C goal and asserting the rights of vulnerable peoples”.
“Its failure to assert greater ambition in the outcome of the GST is a regression on that, falling short of the climate leadership exhibited by the Philippine climate movement, and is an abandonment of 1.5°C,” he added.