A terrifying nightmare came true before their eyes. Waves of up to seven meters (23 feet), propelled by winds that reached 315 kilometers per hour (196 miles per hour), caught the inhabitants of the Philippines off guard, devouring everything in their path. Typhoon Haiyan was the most devastating of the climate shocks that frequently hit the Asian country.
“We can stop this madness.” With those words, Yeb Saño, the Philippine’s climate change commissioner, demanded “climate justice“ for his people during the inauguration of the 19th Conference of the Parties (COP19) on climate change in Warsaw, Poland. The tragedy was palpable in his eyes and voice.
The effects of climate change are unmistakable. Ocean levels and temperatures are rising, and this is provoking storms surges of such intensity that they’re impossible to ignore. No more time can be wasted in coming up with the financing needed to fight this problem. And we must set the rules for the effective use of these funds.
AIDA is pushing for this. At the COP19, we worked with other civil society organizations to encourage the governments of developing countries to draft an action plan next year designed to fulfill a vital commitment: making US$100 billion available to developing countries from 2020 for fighting climate change.
Part of these funds will be channeled through the Green Climate Fund (GCF). AIDA has assisted in putting pressure on the governments of developed countries to provide certainty about the contributions they will make to this financing mechanism.
We also have taken part in the creation of GCF by participating at meetings of its Board of Directors. Our short-term goal is to ensure that the role of civil society is effective and meaningful in the GCF decision-making process. Long term, we want the GCF to support effective actions for climate change mitigation and adaptation that will not only help reduce emissions but also benefit the most vulnerable communities that already are being affected by the phenomenon.
Our presence at the COP19 also made it possible for AIDA to form alliances with groups from different sectors – civil society, youth, indigenous peoples, among others – in order to develop and strengthen a joint position ahead of the COP20 to be held in Peru. We hope that the COP20 will set the foundation for a new and hopefully successful climate agreement at the COP21 in Paris.
We also worked with partner organizations to develop a briefing paper (in Spanish) on short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs), which we distributed in Warsaw. As SLCPs remain in the atmosphere less time than CO2, reducing these contaminants is a valuable opportunity for a short-term solution to global warming and an important element that should enter into the new climate agreement.
With your support we will continue fighting to prevent typhoons and other natural disasters from becoming a way of life.