French President François Hollande and President of the Philippines Benigno S. Aquino III issued the Manila call to action on climate change on 26 February 2015. They urged governments to reach a solid and binding agreement at the United Nations Convention on Climate Change 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to be held in Paris this December.
This Manila statement can be seen as the latest example of the head of a major developed economy urging worldwide peers to resolve the critical issue of rising global CO2 emission levels and pave the way for further practical action to stem climate change.
The Manila call follows the much more significant joint announcement made last November by US President Obama and President Xi Jinping of China on climate change and clean energy cooperation.
President Obama announced a new target to cut net greenhouse gas emissions to 26%-28% below 2005 levels by 2025, saying “we are the first generation to feel the effect of climate change and the last generation who can do something about it.”
At the same time, President Xi Jinping of China announced that the country would aim to cap its CO2 emissions by 2030 or earlier and increase the non-fossil fuel share of its total energy usage to around 20% by 2030.
It’s difficult to say whether these declarations were the direct consequence of the severe droughts that badly hit California and Northeast China’s economies last year, threatening drinking water supplies and food harvests in these, the world’s first and third most populated countries.
What is clear is that climate change is already affecting the quality of human living conditions and the health of economies, which makes the need all the greater and more urgent for the world’s governments to reach a binding and lasting agreement on climate change at COP 21 in Paris at the end of this year.