Green group hits Obama’s ‘cheap talk’ on climate change at Apec forum

Protest at the Apec Climate Change symposium on Nov. 4. (Contributed photo/Bulatlat.com)
Protest at the Apec Climate Change symposium on Nov. 4. (Contributed photo/Bulatlat.com)

“The US is the number one polluter historically, while China is the current top polluter. Both have not committed to cut their annual carbon pollution to significant levels.”

By DEE AYROSO
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – An environmental alliance criticized US President Barack Obama for his Nov. 18 speech at a CEO forum of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec), saying he veered away from the main issues of climate crisis: cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, holding big polluters accountable, and climate vulnerability.

“Obama and the other Apec economic leaders are so narrowly focused on the question of energy and climate mitigation. What about the proliferation of large-scale mining, agri-industrial plantations, and other big projects that are plundering natural resources, exacerbating environmental destruction, and eroding the adaptive capacities of the poor and vulnerable?” said Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment.

The group said Apec leaders mouth “empty rhetoric” on solving climate change, while pushing globalization policies that lead to higher production of energy for private profit, without being accountable for accompanying rise in GHG emissions. Bautista said what is needed is “the reversal of these anti-people and anti-environment policies.”

At the CEO forum, Obama praised Filipina Engineer Aisa Mijeno of Batangas, who invented a lamp that runs on salt water. Mijeno was branded more as an entrepreneur, and the forum discussed about kickstarting the production and marketing of the lamps, that harness renewable energy.

“Obama’s climate pep talk to big business magnates in the Apec summit does not change the fact that the pledged GHG emissions cuts of the top 20 polluter countries by 2030 will actually result in an increase in emissions,” Bautista said.

Bautista cited US-based author and political activist Jonathan Neale, who made computations showing 20 countries that will be increasing GHG emissions in 2030. Apec-member countries such as the US, Canada, Japan and Australia are among those which committed to reduce GHG emissions, but only by one percent in 2030. Other Apec countries such as China, India, Russia, Korea, Mexico, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam will be increasing their GHG emissions by 2030.

The European Union, Brazil and Argentina also committed to a one percent cut in their GHG emission. Also among the top 20 countries that will increase GHG emissions are: South Africa, Turkey, Kazakhstan, and the United Arab Emirates.

Apec-member countries comprise 60 percent of global energy demand.

“The US is the number one polluter historically, while China is the current top polluter. Both have not committed to cut their annual carbon pollution to significant levels,” Bautista said. “This reckless emission pathway of these polluters is leading our world to more natural catastrophes and intensifying people’s vulnerability to climate change.”

Bautista said Apec-prescribed neoliberal policies have led to a surge in energy projects, including “dirty energy,” such as coal, which accounts for the bulk of GHG emissions. “In the Philippines, the energy privatization policy has led to a 348-percent increase in the power generating capacity of coal projects from 2001 to 2014,” Bautista said.()

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