In an article entitled The obligation of rich nations (2009), a critical reaction to the raised eyebrows of newspaper headlines on President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo saying that the rich nations should fund the rehabilitation of the Philippines, Atty. Rita Linda V. Jimeno declared that “Indeed our nation is a climate change victim. And the offenders or tortfeasors are the developed and rich nations which, for centuries, have been wreaking havoc on the environment.”
Jimeno first explained that PGMA correctly pointed out that developed nations are the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases which have gravely affected the Earth’s temperature, causing climate disturbances. She described the cycle of Greenhouse gases [GHG] generation citing scientific data from various studies then focused on China, Europe and the United States as responsible for most of the global growth in emissions for the period 2000 to the present. “President Arroyo was therefore correct in saying that we are not climate change makers but are climate change takers.”
Basing her legal arguments on the universal concept of an offense called tort: an unlawful violation of a right—not created by contract—that gives rise to an action for damages; and highlighted provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations on Dec. 10, 1948 to plead her case:
Moreover, Jimeno cautioned that while the Philippines is a victim of climate change, under the legal principle of torts, we are also liable, or more to the point: guilty of contributory negligence; thus our right to compensation may be mitigated or reduced.
Ever since my beloved Bicol Region was devastated by a typhoon sometime last year, I have wanted to write about climate change for sometime. Moreover, Jimeno’s arguments, being a lawyer, are more compelling than mine. I have not thought of the UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights but rather proposed for filing a class action suit against those notorious GHG emitters. I have done some cursory research and already gathered studies on the Kyoto Protocol and its economic repercussions, as well as read on the procedures on filling class action suit but had not had the opportunity to write about it.
British top economist and climate-change expert Lord Nicholas Stern had warned that the economic impact of global warming has been grossly underestimated. Lord Stern’s 2006 report on the social and economic costs of global warming acted as a wake-up call to the world. Al Gore’s Academy Award-winning The 11th Hour only came in later, after his decisive defeat for the US presidency against George W. Bush.
In October 2007, the Business Leaders of the UN Global Compact (2007) issued a statement:
Last 05 June 2009, the theme for 2009 World Environment Day was “Your Planet Needs You-UNite to Combat Climate Change.” It reflects the urgency for nations to agree on a new deal at the crucial climate convention meeting in Copenhagen in December. World Environment Day has been celebrated since 1972. World governments were in Bonn, Germany, beginning 01 June until 12 June, and tackled the details of a new UN treaty, a probable successor to the Kyoto Protocol, that is to take effect after 2012 to combat global warming. The Business Mirror Perspective (2009) states:
Several news reports anticipate that Barack Obama might deliver what leading US politicians have been saying for years: the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol on global warming. Yet, Obama administration is aiming to negotiate a new treaty along the lines of delegating the “authority over huge areas of important public policy to international authorities” (Rabkin, 2009).
Rabkin, Jeremy (2009). The Constitution and American Sovereignty, “First Principles on First Fridays” lecture series sponsored by Hillsdale College’s Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship. Reprinted by permission from Imprimis 38: 7/8, a publication of Hillsdale College, July/August 2009. p. 4. back to text.
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