The central Philippine diocese of San Carlos has committed to creating a ‘climate emergency plan’ in the coming months, the first diocese in the country to do so.
Bishop Gerardo Alminaza said the gravity of the situation calls for a collective and meaningful action to mitigate the negative impacts of the climate crisis.
“The Diocese of San Carlos is committed to taking immediate and significant steps to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to the deceleration of global warming,” Alminaza said.
“We shall develop a ‘climate emergency plan’ within the next months to set our intentions to reduce carbon emissions in all of our operations and activities in order to reduce our carbon footprint not later than 2030,” he said.
The statement was contained in a pastoral letter declaring a “climate emergency” in the diocese, which covers the province of Negros Occidental.
The letter calls for, among others, the creation of ecology ministry in parishes, mission stations, and all Catholic and diocesan schools to step up campaigns “for a balanced and healthy ecology for us and future generations”.
The bishop also called on the national government “to make the same commitments” and “provide a mainstream pro-environment and pro-people approach to climate change adaptation and mitigation”.
“Hence, we call on the government to declare a national state of climate emergency and get our governmental institutions to act accordingly,” Alminaza added.
“We also urge our duty bearers to go beyond the minimum of climate talks and monitoring targets, and urgently uphold climate justice by halting profit-driven, ecologically-destructive projects, and empowering our communities the self- determination for climate change adaptation,” he said.