WWF Calls for Increased Investments at UN Climate Summit

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Wind Power by Gregg YanPress Update:

World leaders are currently meeting in New York City for a UN Summit on climate change. Government, business, finance and civil society leaders – including US President Barack Obama and UK Prime Minister David Cameron – hope to craft concrete plans to reduce global deforestation, minimize industrial carbon emissions and increase international funding to help the world’s most vulnerable countries adapt to climate change.

In an impassioned four-minute speech, Philippine President Noynoy Aquino highlighted the resiliency of Filipinos against climate disasters like Typhoon Haiyan, the most powerful storm on record. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-Philippines) lauds Aquino’s message but calls on both local and global leaders to do their part in addressing climate change through meaningful emission reductions and mobilizing much-needed climate finance to protect vulnerable people and communities across the globe.

“We are doing our part – proving that we can rise above the strongest storms,” says WWF-Philippines Climate Change and Energy Programme Head Atty. Gia Ibay, “However, this is not enough.” Assailed by stronger typhoons, floods and droughts, the Philippines is the third most vulnerable country to climate change, a low-lying tropical archipelago besieged by no less than 20 storms yearly.

“We call on governments and business leaders to disinvest from carbon-intensive fossil fuels and to shift to renewable sources of clean energy today,” says Ibay. WWF believes in a two-pronged solution to address climate change. Climate mitigation looks at the reduction of global carbon emissions by shifting to renewable energy (RE) sources plus energy efficient practices and technologies, while climate adaptation considers the management of risk.

For the past four years, WWF and the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) have been spearheading a study to prepare 16 of the largest Philippine cities to adapt to climate change. In 2014, spurred on by Typhoon Haiyan, WWF developed an ongoing program to help storm-wracked coastal communities build their own fibreglass boats.

Yet, despite the Philippines’ wealth of indigenous RE sources, the government has approved the construction of no less than 20 new coal-plants. Most are expected to begin operating before 2020. WWF strongly urges the DOE and investors to maximize untapped RE sources in the country.

WWF’s International Seize Your Power campaign calls on governments and financial institutions to increase RE investments to at least USD40 billion (approximately PHP1.68 trillion) by 2015. For its part though, the Philippine government is taking steps to mitigate emissions – with the DOE pledging to triple the nation’s RE capacity from 5400 to over 15,000 megawatts. This switch requires investments of $12.4 billion over the next 16 years.

“In the face of difficulty, the Philippines plus many other developing nations are doing their part. The Philippine government has only allotted PHP500 million in unprogrammed funds this year for a People’s Survival Fund to help the adaptation efforts of local governments and communities. It’s time for world leaders – especially from countries which emit the most carbon –  to seriously commit to reducing emissions and scale up financial support for vulnerable countries to show that they truly mean business,” says Ibay.

Commitments from the UN climate summit will set the stage for more ambitious international discussions. Global leaders shall again convene this December 2014 in Peru for the next round of UN climate talks.

WWF-US Board Member and actor Leonardo DiCaprio adds that, “The economy itself will die if our ecosystems collapse. The good news is that RE is not only achievable but good economic policy. New research shows that by 2050, clean renewable sources of energy could supply 100% of the world’s energy needs using existing technologies, and it would create millions of jobs.”

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10 Things You Can Do To Keep Our Seas Trash-Free

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дP:ress Release:

In fully-furnished homes, you’ll usually find television sets, tables, chairs, coffee tables, desk lamps, sofa sets, refrigerators, rugs, plus curtains. These same items – even the proverbial kitchen sink – have all been retrieved from the sea. Because of improper waste disposal, untold amounts of garbage end up in our oceans to harm marine life.

SAM_3786In celebration of International Coastal Cleanup Day 2014, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-Philippines) and the Network of Underwater Digital Imagers (NUDI), together with Canon Marketing Philippines, Inc. plus Ayala Malls, have teamed up to raise awareness about the immense wealth of our seas and the dangers posed by unchecked marine pollution.

Entitled Beauty Beneath the Blue, the photo exhibit runs from 18 to 24 September at the EDSA Cupola of Glorietta 1 in Makati City.

International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) Day, spearheaded by the Ocean Conservancy in 1985, is the world’s largest voluntary movement for our seas. In last year’s ICC activities, nearly 650,000 volunteers from 92 countries collected over 12.3 million pounds of trash.

SAM_3728“The health of our seas hangs in the balance not just because of unsustainable fishing practices or climate change impacts like rising sea temperatures and ocean acidification. Marine pollution also poses threats that we can minimize by managing our waste properly. From plastic bags to fertilizer run-off, most of the waste we produce on land eventually reaches the oceans, either from deliberate marine dumping or from inland sources like canals and rivers,” says WWF-Philippines Vice-president for Conservation Programmes Joel Palma.

SAM_3770“Photography is a powerful tool to tell stories which can compel people to change their way of living before it is too late,” explains NUDI photographer and co-founder Boogs Rosales. “Though it is important to showcase the beauty of the marine environment to remind people why it is worth preserving, we also have a responsibility – to show people how much damage we are causing by not acknowledging the impacts of our dependence on plastic and other forms of waste, which end up in our oceans.”

SAM_3765WWF-Philippines and NUDI invite the public to visit the photo exhibit, while following these ten simple steps for trash-free seas.

1. Watch what you throw.

Over 80% of marine pollution comes from land-based activities. Most waste thrown inland eventually make their way out to sea.

2. Minimize use of plastic bags.

Plastic bags do not biodegrade. Instead, they photo-degrade and break down into smaller and more toxic particles to contaminate both water and soil. The danger is real and alarming: in a planet where everything is connected, these chemicals enter the food system to eventually poison humans. Curbing our over-reliance on plastic bags minimizes this threat.

SAM_37903. Bring your own water tumbler instead of relying on bottled water for hydration.

High concentrations of plastic bottles may block the breathing passages and stomachs of many large marine species like sharks and whales.

4. Dispose of cigarette butts properly.

Did you know that cigarette butts are the top items collected at International Coastal Cleanup drives globally? They are followed by food wrappers and plastic water bottles. Last year, more than two million cigarette butts, 1.6 million food wrappers, plus about a million plastic water bottles were gathered. These numbers do not yet account for the millions of tonnes of uncollected garbage.

SAM_37815. Reuse disposable food containers.

Taking out leftover food from the restaurant? It is likely that you will bring home your food with a disposable plastic container, which you can use to store other food and household items.

6. Pay attention to what you dispose of.

Interesting items collected at International Coastal Cleanup Drives include enough items to furnish an apartment: kitchen sinks, refrigerators, air conditioning units, rugs, tables and chairs, curtains, desks, mattresses, pillows and pillow cases, toilet bowls, among many others.

SAM_37587. Be creative!

Take part in upcycling activities that reinvent or redecorate once-useless products into new, useful materials.

8. Support products that have less packaging.

Buy in bulk. Buying lots of smaller packs generates more waste. Bulk purchasing saves money, too.

Opt for brands that have less packaging.

9. Influence change in your community.

Learn about the waste management policies of your local public officials before voting them. You can also write your Mayor or local representative to ask for tougher action against garbage, which end up polluting our seas or accumulating in landfills.

10. Take action!

Even if it’s not International Coastal Cleanup Day, make sure to pick up marine debris whenever you chance upon trash at the beach.

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