Climate justice

Fringes and Frontiers
Rhoderick Abellanosa
Rhoderick Abellanosa

During the 2022 election campaign period, the nine presidential candidates were made to answer questions on climate change: different aspects of climate change policy, including renewable energy, water security, and nutrition. 

Since then, it is obvious that for all the noise that was produced and generated during the campaign period, the Philippines remains slow in addressing a problem that can wipe out countless lives.

The current administration has not paid enough attention to climate justice which “insists on a shift from a discourse on greenhouse gases and melting ice caps into a civil rights movement with the people and communities most vulnerable to climate impacts at its heart.”

It is not enough to talk about the science behind climate change, we must take concrete steps towards letting those who should take greater responsibility, take and carry the responsibility to mitigate its effects.

Between the rich and the poor, the poor will carry more burdens; between women and men, women will have to suffer more on a global scale.

Between the old and the younger generations, the future (younger) generations will have to suffer more because of the effects of the choices and the activities of the current (older) generation.  This can be said in simpler terms: even in suffering people are not equal, but unfortunately, those who are more responsible suffer less than those who are less responsible.

Businesses keep on highlighting the three Ps of their industry: people, planet, and profit. The important question is, can the three Ps be ordered in any way we want them to? Is there no logical sequence that should reflect the “ethical order” of our priorities?

For a long time, it has been the belief that businesses may, to a larger extent, be insulated from people (ethics) and should be less concerned with the environment/ecology (planet).

There can be a long explanation for this, but I think this is largely due to those economic theories that espouse the autonomy of the market. Then came the notion of “progress” understood mostly in economic terms.

What I am saying at this point is this: it is not enough for companies to promote “consciousness or awareness towards climate change” – like a one-hour Earth Hour.  If indeed they’d like to save this planet, they must be environmentally compliant. 

And if the government is true in its advocacy for climate change, then it must make systemic changes in the institutional landscape.

The government ought to provide policies that are friendly to businesses but also mindful of the call to climate justice.  This means that while politicians must take good care of the business sector because of the “revenues” that are needed for the expenses of the public sector, however, this must be reframed taking into consideration climate change and climate justice as new variables.

If we assume that the government’s main role is to take care of all people (businessmen included) – and I think that this is a “very reasonable” assumption, then it must not allow businesses to just go ahead to the point of putting in danger or risk those persons and areas who are already vulnerable. 

Making people’s lives more vulnerable is expensive as this would mean additional costs for healthcare, food and water, and transportation.*


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