VARIOUS Filipino advocacy groups joined the Asia-wide protest actions against climate and debt crises ahead of the Group of 20 (G20) Summit hosted in New Delhi, India from September 9 to 10, 2023.

“We demand that the G20 governments commit to bolder measures to address the multiple crises, including mobilizing much-needed resources through inclusive debt cancellation, adoption of wealth taxes for spending on urgent economic and climate action, and the rechanneling of public funds away from fossil fuel subsidies towards renewable energy systems,” said Lidy Nacpil, coordinator of Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD).

On Friday, September 8, APMDD and allied climate groups held rallies in Makati, Jakarta, Dhaka, Kathmandu, Karachi, Lahore and Colombo.

The groups maintained that G20 countries together contribute to 75 percent of global trade and almost 85 percent of the world's gross domestic product, while they also account for 80 percent of world power sector emissions, with per capita CO2 from coal power at 1.6 tons in 2022, up from 1.5 tons in 2015 and significantly higher than a global average of 1.1 tons.

“In the face of the climate emergency, there is no more space or time to delay the fossil fuel phase out with continued subsidies and with false solutions. We reject any agreement to abate or extend the life of fossil fuels projects with carbon offsets, Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technologies, ammonia co-firing or promoting gas as transition fuel," said Nacpil.

"It would be reckless irresponsibility and utter disregard for science and the welfare of people and the planet,” she added.

Leaders of the 20 member states and delegates from 40 countries during the two-day summit are expected to discuss pressing global issues, including climate change, clean energy transition, and tackling poverty.

 "Despite a 2009 commitment to phase out and rationalize over the medium term inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, the G20’s support to produce fossil fuels and fossil fuel subsidies increased in 2021. Subsidies have continued to rise into 2022," said Nacpil.

Nacpil, along with a coalition of climate groups, reiterated the long-standing call for the G20 "to undertake a rapid, just, and equitable transition to renewable energy systems."

Ian Rivera, coordinator of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ), urged the G20 "to deliver finance not only for the energy transition, but also to cover the costs of adaptation, building resilience and addressing Loss and Damage."

 "G20 governments and all governments must mobilize financing to enable people and communities to deal with climate impacts and to ensure a just transition and system-wide changes necessary to stop climate catastrophe," he added.

Citing a report from the International Energy Agency (IEA), the groups said that tripling renewable energy capacity by 2030 is crucial to achieving the Paris Agreement’s goal of keeping below 1.5C of global warming.

But a G20 commitment to triple RE capacity by 2030 failed to get an agreement due to issues of financing, accessibility, and technology, according to APMDD.

Meanwhile, Dilena Pathragoda, executive director of the Colombo-based Center for Environmental Justice (CEJ), said the G20’s Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) "has proven grossly inadequate in matching the depth and breadth of the debt crisis."

 “It is abhorrent that the G20 promotes more debt-creating solutions to the climate crises knowing that debt service eats into already meager resources for public expenditures. The vicious cycle of debt dependence and accumulation also traps countries into continued reliance on fossil fuels," said Farooq Tariq, general secretary of Pakistan Kissan Rabita Committee (PKRC), in a statement.

"According to a new report, the pressure to repay debts is forcing poor nations to continue investing in fossil fuel projects to make their repayments," Nacpil added.

Other Filipino climate groups who joined the protest rallies were  Sanlakas, Oriang, K4K-QC, Aniban ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura, and Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino. (SunStar Philippines)