Just weeks after the global climate talks concluded, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said the pandemic should serve as a moment of reflection to "re-focus" and "re-think" climate change mitigation efforts, especially to limit changes driven by human activities.

"With the recent developments during the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference or Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, it is also time to make more and more people aware of our commitments on climate change."

"This pandemic enables the people to reflect and think about their lives in the future. Therefore, this is also the best time to educate them about how their consumption behaviors affect climate change," Cimatu said.

For her part, DENR Undersecretary for Finance, Information Systems and Climate Change Atty. Analiza Rebuelta-Teh said the COVID lockdown is the "time to limit climate change as we also face the challenges of urgently addressing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic."

"The conclusions in the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change or IPCC’s 6th report demand collective action to transform our economy, our behavior, and our lifestyle at all levels: individuals, communities, businesses, institutions, and governments," Teh said in her opening message during the public webinar, "Code Red: The State of Climate and Humanity," conducted on November 23.

According to the report, climate change will be "bringing multiple different changes in the different regions which will all increase with further warming."

"This means we must work beyond current action plans, and very swiftly because otherwise, the 1.5°C target by the end of the century will be beyond our reach," she added.

At least 160 participants and representatives from various environmental and climate change youth groups and organizations, and academic science clubs attended the webinar, which was held via Zoom platform and streamed live via Facebook.

John Leo Algo, member of the Interim Secretariat and deputy executive director for programs and campaigns of Aksyon Klima Pilipinas, presented the "IPCC Sixth Assessment Report: The Physical Science Basis," which was the highlight of the webinar.

DENR representatives from various sectors also presented the implications of climate change to the country’s environment and natural resources, including biodiversity, forestry, air, water, waste and water resources.

Civil society representatives also reiterated calls for upscaling of climate actions.

The webinar was aimed at widening the perspectives of identifying relevant entry points, opportunities, and prospects on how the youth sector can actively participate and significantly contribute to the cause of addressing climate change.

It also hoped to expel and identify practical recommendations for the youth sector to help strengthen national policies and programs to ensure climate-resilient and sustainable development in the country. ###