09 June 2017
US’ withdrawal from Paris pact exposes agreement’s flaws
Statement of the March for Science Philippines on US’ withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord
The March for Science Philippines strongly condemns the United States under the leadership of President Donald Trump after it pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord. The US’ withdrawal from the pact is an act of blatant disagreement with the scientific consensus on the reality of climate change and a vehement refusal to cooperate with the world to solve the climate crisis.
The US’ withdrawal from the agreement marks Trump’s failure to take into account the negative impacts climate change can bring to communities around the globe as well as to the next generations. It also disregards the efforts of the people who clamored for evidence-based policy making in the recent March for Science global movement.
Trump’s reasoning that withdrawing from the Paris Agreement is in the economic interest of the American people, and is in line with his administration’s America First policy, is a mere cloak for the real cause of the US’ withdrawal: the influence of US big businesses that stand to suffer once the agreement is in place.
The United States is in no position to use as reasoning the possibility that taking part in the Paris Accord will enable other countries to have an ‘unfair’ advantage over the US. The US, as the largest historical emitter of greenhouse gases, has the biggest responsibility to ensure that the ill effects of climate change will be lessened, if not fully stopped.
Contrary to Trump’s claims, it is the US which has imposed “draconian” social and environmental burdens on the people of the world, especially those who inhabit climate-change vulnerable countries. Decades of unconstrained carbon emissions from big corporations in industrialized countries, with the US at the lead, has cost the environment a “fortune”.
Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord, agreed upon by 195 countries and effective since 2016, is a manifestation of the weakness of the agreement. Due to its non-binding nature, which hinges on voluntary national pledges to reach the necessary carbon emission cuts, it has failed in addressing its prime objective of curbing the adverse effects of climate change. The numerous loopholes in the watered-down agreement has failed to hold the largest historical carbon emitter accountable and has even allowed it to walk away from its responsibility to the environment and the people.
We in March for Science Philippines stand in solidarity with the whole world in efforts to lessen the ill effects of climate change. Beyond the Paris Climate Accord, the world must unite to condemn and to exact accountability from the US. We call for a stronger agreement that will hold the biggest polluters accountable — an agreement that does not depend only on voluntary national pledges but has binding provisions to ensure the accountability of big polluter countries.#
Coordinator, March for Science Philippines
Scientists, environmentalists, science workers, and students headed by AGHAM – Advocates of Science and Technology for the People gathered on Wednesday at the launching of the March for Science, Environment, and the People to call for environmental justice and greater support to science and technology that will genuinely serve the interests of the people.
The March for Science started as a call to stand for science against Trump’s repression of scientific knowledge and information blackout on climate change. It soon grew into a global movement of people to promote science as an indispensable tool for policy-making and sustainable development.
In the Philippines, AGHAM together with various organizations will lead the local satellite march titled March for Science, Environment, and the People which will express solidarity with the global movement as well as highlight how science and technology (S&T) can help craft concrete solutions for the real issues faced by Filipino people.
Marlo Asis, a Fellow of the Cornell Alliance for Science, outlined the international context of the March for Science: “It will mark its place in history as the biggest gathering of scientists from across the globe to defend science in light of Trump’s anti-science and anti-people stance. His actions such as the budget cuts on public sector research and development (R&D) is a big setback in using science to pursue evidence-based policies.”
March for Science Philippines coordinator Cleng Julve emphasized the importance of the country’s participation in the global action: “We are one with the scientists in the US who are directly affected by the various moves of President Trump’s administration. The censorship of pertinent data on climate change, food security, and medical information is a huge consequence for countries like the Phillippines where scientific information or misinformation can determine life or death especially to people living in vulnerable communities that bear the brunt of the adverse effects of climate change.”
The local leg of the #GlobalScienceMarch presents the backward state of Philippine science and technology as a major hindrance to using S&T for genuine national development. This was elaborated by a student scientist and a scientist working in a government agency.
Student scientist Ezron Cabrera of AGHAM Youth discussed the future of young scientists who are being trained under an education system that is geared towards answering foreign demands instead of domestic needs: “Science education is not separate from the general situation of education in the country. The current commercialized education system makes basic science education inaccessible to the wide masses. It also discourages young students to take up science courses which are seen as non-profitable investments.”
Krista Melgarejo of the Standards and Testing Automated Modular Platform in UP Diliman lamented the inability of scientists to fulfill their roles in helping address many problems faced by the Filipino people: “The historical neglect of S&T is reflected in the lack of support for Filipino scientists and technologists. There are very limited opportunities available for S&T workers in the country; the few that are available are laden with schemes such as contractualization where employees have no tenurial security and do not have adequate welfare and benefits.”
Environmentalists also highlighted the issue of the environment. Jordan Fronda of UP Saribuhay underscored the need to involve the youth in the discussions specifically on issues concerning the environment and the people: “President Trump’s denial of scientific facts about climate change aggravates the effects of the contributions of transnational corporations to climate change. These further exacerbate environmental destruction, making it more difficult for vulnerable communities to adapt to extreme weather events.”
Enteng Bautista of Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment criticized the current policies in research and development: “The low priority and budget given to R&D, especially environment-related R&D, is manifested in the lack of technological advancements that could have replaced the use of environmentally destructive processes in extractive industries such as mining. This neglect of R&D also results in our failure to maximize indigenous energy resources in the country.”
Feny Cosico of AGHAM posed a challenge to fellow scientists: “We enjoin all scientists to March with us this Earth day to push for a pro-people, pro-environment S&T geared towards the national development. We are enthusiastic that the March for Science will continue to raise the social consciousness of scientists beyond this event and that they will continue to advocate a science and technology that truly serves the interests of the people.”
The March for Science, Environment, and the People wil be held on April 22, 7 am at the Quezon Memorial Circle, Quezon City, Philippines.
Science and Technology serving the people since 1999.
Advocates of Science and Technology for the People or AGHAM, is an organization of patriotric, pro-people science and technology advocates, bounded together by a common interest of promoting science and technology that genuinely serve the interest of the Filipino people, especially the poor. AGHAM Youth is the youth counterpart in universities and colleges in the Philippines.
AGHAM aims to vigorously encourage S&T professionals, workers, and advocates to share their knowledge and expertise through direct community service, consultancy, campaigns and advicacy, fora, fact-finding missions and discussion groups.
KALIKASAN-People’s Network for the Environment is a network of people’s organizations (POs), nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and environmental advocates. It aims to address environmental issues but in such a way that primacy is given to the people—especially in the grassroots level—who constitute the overwhelming majority of the population. All environmental causes shall thus have the people’s interest at their core.
“Kalikasan” is the Filipino term for nature. KALIKASAN PNE was established to enable greater coordination and complementation in addressing the environmental issues which continue to worsen the lives of already marginalized people. So-called “development schemes,” in particular, have caused great environmental harm with correspondingly great human costs.
Its National Convenors—composed of sectoral representatives from organizations of peasants, fisherfolk, workers, women, indigenous peoples. urban poor, and concerned individuals—launched KALIKASAN-People’s Network for the Environment on November 25, 1997.
The Center for Environmental Concerns (CEC) is a non-government organization founded through the initiatives of organizations representing fisherfolk, farmers, indigenous peoples, women, urban poor, and professional sectors.
Currently, the Center is a service institution based in Quezon City, Metro Manila. Its area of operation and networking covers the entire Philippines and different ecological contexts.
At the grassroots level, CEC closely works with communities and organizations nationwide, supporting their initiatives to nurture their ecosystems, defend their common access to natural resources, and eventually improve their living and working conditions in the context of a balanced and healthy environment.
At the national level, CEC advocates for people-oriented, patriotic, sustainable, and scientific policies and programs for the protection of the Philippine environment.
At the global level, CEC engages in information sharing, international networking, cross-cultural exchanges, and solidarity initiatives on common environmental issues and concerns.
The Agham Youth is a student organization established in March 1999 in recognition of the need for a renewal of the advocacy for the development and utilization of science and technology that shall be of service to the broad masses of the people.
Science and technology in our country is backward, underdeveloped and stunted in growth. This is historically due to the hundred years of foreign domination and feudal bondage, which determined a pre-industrial, agrarian and semifeudal economy.
Development of science and technology is not only the interest of the members of the scientific community but it is also the interest of the broad masses of the people who are deprived of it.
CPU envisions a Philippines that is free from the domination and control of monopolist foreign interests, where its people enjoy democratic and civil rights, and where information and communications technology assists and serves the real development needs of the country’s people and economy.