Climate justice now! System change, not climate change!

Climate change is a matter that’s getting out of hand. It is not just an isolated environmental issue but a worldwide crisis that is clamped with the economic system. Mainly caused by industrialization, rampant depletion of natural resources, and exploitation of corporate power, this cataclysm gives rise to adverse consequences that threaten the most vulnerable. At this point, socioeconomic transformations are crucial in every sector to rebuild the global system towards a sustainable future. In light of this, the Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines (YACAP) shows strong solidarity with environmental leaders and movements around the world who demand for accountability and justice for those who are responsible for human-induced climate change.

The Philippines is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change. Evidence of climate change includes rise in global surface temperature. In the Philippines, it is expected that temperatures will rise by 0.9 – 1.1°C this 2020, and then by 1.8 – 2.2°C in 2050 [1]. Other evidence of climate change that manifest in the Philippines include sea level rise, changes in rainfall patterns, and more frequent extreme weather events such as supertyphoons [1-4]. The highest increase in sea level has been observed in the Western Equatorial Pacific, and as sea levels continue to rise in the Philippines, around 7 million Filipinos will be below the high tide line by 2050 [5].

These natural implications add to a huge amount of ecological imbalances: decreased agricultural production, loss of livestock and fish stocks, and species extinction, as well as socioeconomic inequalities; exploitation of ancestral lands, uneven control and ownership of resources, deforestation, destructive mining and dams, which endanger the sustenance of the people of the world, especially the impoverished, indigenous people, and other vulnerable groups.

Recognized through the establishment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), global warming is mainly due to the increase in carbon dioxide concentrations from heavy greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, where 71% are from only 100 companies and half of global industrial emissions traced to just 25 corporate and state producers, generating 635 billion tons of GHGs emitted since 1988. Public investor-owned multinational companies, state-owned entities and fossil fuel operations are major key players in creating legacy emissions which accounts for one-fifth of the world’s industrial GHG emissions today, releasing more emissions in the last 28 years than in the 237 years prior to 1988 [6].

Competition among global corporations and rich nations for resources and greater market shares, trade agreements and treaties, as well as increasing the privatization and commodification of public resources, national budget cuts for climate change mitigation and adaptation programs [7], and increased plunder of natural resources of underdeveloped countries that have led to a suppression of human rights, denying people rightful ownership and control of their resources, and even death for the country’s environmental defenders [8]: These actions of the privileged elite and willfully ignorant authority in reckless profit-driven production and grossly excessive squandering cause major environmental degradation, promoting a crisis where the majority of humanity is stuck in poverty with mere survival-and-subsistence consumption.

Today, we raise our voices to appeal for rational actions to avoid even more disastrous effects of climate change by changing our current profit-driven economic system to a more sustainable one that caters the needs of the people and the environment. We demand keeping fossil fuel on the ground, accountability and compensations for climate crimes, justice and support for environment defenders, a global ban on large-scale industrialized methods and intemperate land-grabbing, reduction of carbon emissions, strict surveillance and control for transnational companies’ actions, and complete support and funding for climate change mitigation and adaptation programs.

We call for a sustainable environment and economy to be inherited by the future generation. We demand system change, not climate change!


[1] Department of Science and Technology. PAGASA. (n.d.). Climate Change in the Philippines. In PAGASA online. Retrieved from
[2] NASA. Global Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet. Retrieved from
[3] R. S. Nerem et al. (2018). Climate-change–driven accelerated sea-level rise detected in the altimeter era. PNAS. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1717312115.
[4] Data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, Retrieved from
[5] Kulp, S. A. & Strauss, B. H. (2019). New elevation data triple estimates of global vulnerability to sea-level rise and coastal flooding. Nature Communications.
[6] Griffin, P. (2017). CDP Carbon Majors Report 2017. The Carbon Majors Database.
[7]. Gregorio, Xave. (2019, September 19). In face of climate emergency, the Philippines’ funding for its response remains paltry. Article from CNN Philippines. Retrieved from
[8] The Guardian. (2019). Philippines is deadliest country for defenders of environment. Retrieved from

Research by Johanna Kelly Seras
Statement by Korrine Balais
Pub by Allen Joseph Pintang