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Opening Statement: Hearing of the Senate Committee on Climate Change

February 6, 2017

Senator Loren Legarda
Opening Statement
Hearing of the Senate Committee on Climate Change
6 February 2017

 

 

It is with great pleasure that I welcome you all to today’s hearing of the Senate Committee on Climate Change.

 

I would like to thank all our resource persons as your insights will be very valuable as we discuss the way forward, now that all key agencies have expressed their concurrence in the government’s ratification of the Paris Agreement. At this point that there is a high level of optimism that the Philippines will become a party to this climate treaty sooner than later, we must continue on previous discussions as to what strategies for mitigation and adaptation are realistic, doable, and beneficial. These strategies will eventually be embodied in our commitments or Nationally Determined Contributions in reducing the impacts of climate change around the world and in our very own communities.

 

The Philippines is rated as one of the most vulnerable countries worldwide in terms of natural hazards. Among 171 countries covered by the 2015 World Risk Index report, the Philippines ranked 3rd though it noted the country “managed to managed to slightly reduce their lack of adaptive capacities and susceptibility”. [1] The 2014 Verisk Maplecroft Climate Change Vulnerability Index (CCVI) rates the Philippines as facing “extreme risk” to climate change impacts over the next 30 years. The CCVI has also ranked the Philippines as being the 8th most at risk nation in the world by evaluating exposure to climate-related disasters and sea-level rise (SLR), human sensitivity in terms of population patterns, conficts, development, natural resources, dependence on agriculture, and adaptive capacity of infrastructure and governance to combat climate change.

 

Indeed, based on the 2014 Philippine Climate Change Assessment Report released by the Climate Change Commission, the Philippines ranks high among countries at risk of experiencing the effects of climate change, with climate projections showing a rise in annual mean.[2]

 

Given the Philippines’ vulnerabilities, it is critical that the country implements the measures needed to protect itself.

 

Addressing the climate crisis needs a whole-of-society approach. We need the government to lead, but all other sectors of society must give their wholehearted commitment as well. More insights on best practices to  building climate resilience as seen from our Yolanda experience was presented to Harvard University in a thesis which won the “Director’s Prize for Outstanding ALM Thesis”. The author, Michael Lim Ubac, joins us here today.

 

It is on this note that the Committee wishes to be informed on how we are preparing for the ratification of the Paris Agreement. We wish to be also updated on the CCC’s main programs, projects and initiatives towards promoting a low carbon economy, ensuring that we lessen climate risks, and helping communities adapt.

 

With that, I wish to open our hearing and I hope for a meaningful discussion.  Good morning to all.

 

[1] http://www.irdrinternational.org/2016/03/01/word-risk-index/

[2] 2014 Philippine Climate Change Assessment Report by the Climate Change Commission and the OML Center for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management Foundation (OML Center) https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzbudTixMEIZRFRkV2VScmdlcEpfQlFaeDFxZkNiRng4bHJB/edit