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Keynote Speech: 2019 Global Warming and Climate Change Consciousness Week

November 19, 2019

Keynote Address of Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda

2019 Global Warming and Climate Change Consciousness Week

19 November 2019 | One Esplanade, Pasay City

 

 

A pleasant morning to you all.

 

Today, as we mark the 12th year of our country’s observance of Global Warming and Climate Change Consciousness Week, the call to accelerate and enhance our actions in addressing the impacts of climate change has never been more critical. The latest climate science has repeatedly articulated the worst case and best case scenarios for communities, for governments, for citizens as we confront the adverse impacts of climate change. We have reached the point of no return. It is either we decide to act to survive, or we stagnate and perish. As we look at disasters happening around the world, we can conclude—the planet has truly reached a tipping point.

 

What can we do together to win this battle for our people? And how much time is left?

 

In 2009, I authored Republic Act No. 9729, or the Climate Change Act, so that every Filipino becomes more informed about climate change and its impacts on our lives, livelihoods, and environment; and more importantly, on how we could better adapt to a warming planet.

 

But a decade since the law was passed, how much have we really achieved in terms of making our communities more resilient, safe from danger and able to prepare and respond to the intensifying impacts of climate change?

 

The challenges have become more demanding, not only for the government, but for all our sectors and citizens.

 

How can we better communicate climate science into information that our communities can easily appreciate and understand? How can we ensure that our policies and programs can really enhance the resilience of our most vulnerable communities? How can we initiate or support adaptation and mitigation efforts?

 

These are questions that we should all reflect on as we go through the week’s events. And I hope we can find answers and solutions as we exchange knowledge, experiences, and insights on driving ambitious climate action in our country and the world.

In 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the Special Report on the Global Warming of 1.5 Degrees Celsius, warning us that a further half-degree warming can bring unprecedented hazards to the world, especially for vulnerable developing countries like ours.

 

The world’s leading scientific body assessing the science on climate change released two more reports, one on Climate Change and Land and another on Oceans and the Cryosphere, both of which support the urgent call to limit global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

For the Philippines, the IPCC projects up to 20 percent more intense rains and tropical cyclones, which will result in higher storm surges and greater risk of coastal disasters.

 

After Super Typhoon Yolanda in 2013, we were never the same. The intense typhoons that have followed constantly reminded us of our vulnerability and our need to increasingly build resilience against these climate-induced hazards.

 

But we are gaining ground. Last week, our country’s participation in the 24th Meeting of the Green Climate Fund Board, where I sit as an Alternate Member, was a historic moment for all of us.

 

The GCF, as you may already know, is the largest global climate finance mechanism, dedicated to the needs of developing countries. Our very first funding proposal for a grant of 10-million US dollars was approved by the Board.

 

The grant will fund a people-centered multi-hazard impact-based forecasting and early warning system (MH-IBF-EWS), which aims to translate climate information into timely, relevant, and easily-understandable advisories for our communities.

 

The project was borne out of the convergence of the Climate Change Commission (CCC), DOST-PAGASA, and Land Bank of the Philippines, with support from DILG; DENR-Mines and Geosciences Bureau; Office of Civil Defense; World Food Programme; and the local government units of Tuguegarao City, Legazpi City, Palo, Leyte, and New Bataan, Davao del Note, which are also the project’s target sites.

 

The PAGASA Modernization Act, which I principally authored when I was in the Senate, provided the foundation for the co-financing component from the Philippine government, giving assurance that we will sustain this project using our own resources.

 

This is a clear indication of progress in our efforts to access climate finance. But as I have challenged the CCC, this is only the start. Ten million dollars is nothing compared to the total amount of climate finance we need for our whole country for the next several years and decades.

 

In this era of climate crisis, we are called to do more and act much faster than what we already exhibit. Let us all do what we can to help ensure a safer and more resilient future for all Filipinos.

 

Thank you very much.