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Salceda: Countries like PH have ‘moral ascendancy’ to push for loss and damage compensation ahead of COP 27, as Typhoon Paeng kills 45; House tax chair pushes for “global calamity fund” sustained by big polluters

October 31st, 2022

House Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district) says that countries like the Philippines must continue to push for acknowledgment and compensation for “loss and damage” as the House tax panel chair noted that “Typhoon Paeng wasn’t supposed to be that strong, and yet killed several dozens of people due to stronger than expected floods.”

“Climate change kills. There is loss and damage. And countries like the Philippines that are the most at-risk due to its impacts have a moral responsibility and the moral ascendancy to fight for the principle of loss and damage,” Salceda said.

Loss and damage, in international climate law, refers to the permanent loss or reparable damage caused by climate change, including extreme weather events like typhoons,as well as slow-onset events such as sea-level rise.

Salceda, who was formerly the Co-Chair of the United Nations Green Climate Fund, will be part of the Philippine delegation to the Conference of Parties (COP) 27, or the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference, set in Egypt this year.

“International aid and green financing are not enough. There has to be some form of compensation to the most vulnerable and affected countries.”

“Due to climate risks, we are now the most at-risk country in the world according to the 2022 Global Risk Report. Arguably, nobody is more affected by climate change than we are. If we are soft on this position, we throw other climate-vulnerable countries under the bus. So, we have to be strong on loss and damage,” Salceda added.

“Paeng isn’t even that strong, as far as typhoons in the October-November season go. Some 45 people dead during a ‘normal’ storm is no small matter. It’s the climate problem manifesting itself in the death toll.”

“It didn’t even hit Mindanao, as far as landfalls go. But most of the dead is from Mindanao. More communities are becoming vulnerable to the effects of stronger weather events.”

Salceda says he hopes that vulnerable countries will band together in COP 27 to demand more from major polluters like the United States and the European Union, as well as from the world’s oil-rich countries, which tend to be the highest per-capital polluters.

Global calamity fund

Salceda says that apart from demanding more support for the country’s clean energy transition, countries like the Philippines should also ask for more direct compensation mechanisms and funds that can be activated as soon as climate-related disasters take place.

“If the world won’t achieve consensus on loss and damage, we at least need a global “quick response fund” similar to our Calamity Fund but funded to by countries according to their pollution contributions, and accessed by countries as soon as climate-related disasters affect them.”

Salceda says that the fund can be administered by a committee where both developed and developing countries are represented.

“Mitigation and adaptation measures are not enough. They’re good, but not enough. And coming from a disaster like Paeng, we have the moral duty and moral ascendancy to make demands to the world’s biggest polluters.”

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