Elected officials show no urgency to protect environment — climate group

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 26) — Elected officials are not showing signs of urgency in protecting the environment, a climate group said on Monday after Typhoon Karding wreaked havoc on local communities.

Nazrin Castro, manager of the Climate Reality Project Philippines, called for people in power to strictly implement existing policies and laws on climate action.

“Climate change is very urgent but we are not seeing urgency in terms of the way we implement climate change adaptation and climate resilience to our most vulnerable communities,” Castro told CNN Philippines’ The Final Word.

When asked why policies are not implemented properly, Castro said “it’s the will of our elected officials.”

“The laws are there but the will to really implement them, hindi natin nakikita ‘yun sa ating mga (we don't see it in our) elected officials. We should band together, collectively call out — our government leaders, our decision makers — to implement these laws,” Castro said.

Castro said she was hopeful after hearing Marcos talk about climate change at the 77th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), but she said she became confused after his recent statement on Typhoon Karding.

“When I heard his speech in the United Nations General Assembly, I was really hopeful. He said the right words, calling out developed countries to drastically cut their emissions. But during the emergency meeting earlier, I was confused because he was just seeing climate change as a mere trend,” she said.

Marcos’ statement during a briefing with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) referred to Typhoon Karding’s strength and effects as a “trend,” which caught the attention of several netizens on social media.

“Is that the trend, 'yan na 'yung climate change? Wala naman tayong ganyan noon. Matagal na tayo nagbabantay ng bagyo, it's not that...Hindi ganyan” Marcos said in the NDRRMC briefing.

[Translation: Is that the trend, is that climate change? We did not have these before. We have long been keeping watch on typhoons, it’s not that…it’s not like that.]

During his UNGA speech, the chief executive pushed for concrete steps to address climate change, which he described as the "greatest threat" to countries.

"There is no other problem so global in nature that it requires a united effort, one led by the United Nations," Marcos said.

RELATED: Marcos, UN chief tackle climate action, global issues 

Castro said Typhoon Karding is not an isolated case of an intensified weather disturbance due to climate change, citing other destructive storms such as Ondoy and Yolanda. 

“This will continue to happen because of the warming temperature and the warming planet, because we are so dependent on fossil fuel,” Castro said.

Environmental group Greenpeace Philippines earlier called on Marcos to direct his administration in reflecting his climate change demands to actual policies.