December 12, 2023
The latest Global Stocktake text positions itself as an enemy of biodiversity. No inclusion of phaseout implies its blatant support for fossil fuel expansion and destruction of vital biodiversity areas affected by gas developments, such as the Verde Island Passage (VIP).
Despite the numerous calls by representatives of critically important biodiverse communities and areas worldwide to demand the urgency of fossil fuel phaseout at COP28, the latest GST text only concluded ‘reducing both consumption and production of fossil fuels.’ No fossil fuel phaseout exposes our biodiverse areas to proliferation of ecologically harmful gas projects.
As the Batangas province in the Philippines becomes the epicenter of fossil gas developments in the country, the recent GST text implies that its coasts and communities are in absolute danger. At present, 8 proposed and 8 more in the pipeline surround the VIP. Liquefied natural gas, a major pollutant that is up to 95% methane, will subject the VIP to several threats it brings from its production to shipping. What will the Amazon of the oceans be in a future that discards its 1.5C goal?
Fossil fuel does not have a place in our worsening climate. The retention of fossil fuels as a transitional fuel towards cleaner energy is clearly a counterintuitive solution to address our climate crisis. Refusing to abolish fossil fuel is not just a deviation from the 1.5°C pathway; it stands as a stark betrayal to our shared commitment to be stewards of the environment and safeguarding key biodiverse areas around the world including the Verde Island Passage.
Fr. Edwin Gariguez
Lead convenor, Protect VIP