Legarda: Honor the 1.5°C Climate Goal of the Paris Agreement

December 12, 2020

Five years since nations across the world adopted the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, House Deputy Speaker and Antique Congresswoman Loren Legarda today called on the developed countries to honor their commitments to the landmark climate treaty, which primarily aims to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and urges to mobilize climate finance, technologies, and capacity development for developing countries.

The Paris Agreement was formally adopted on December 12, 2015 at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It entered into force or became operational on November 4, 2016, thirty days after at least 55 countries accounting for at least 55% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions had ratified the Agreement. There are 189 countries that have ratified the Agreement.

As senator, Legarda sponsored the Senate Resolution to concur in President Duterte’s signing of the Paris Agreement on February 28, 2017. The Senate unanimously approved the resolution on March 14. The Paris Agreement took effect in the Philippines on April 22, Earth Day, a month after the instruments of accession were submitted to the UN.

“The Paris Agreement establishes the obligations of all nations to contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation. It is a vehicle towards achieving climate justice as it compels developed nations that have contributed the most to cause global warming and climate change to take deep and significant cuts to their greenhouse gas emissions,” Legarda said.

“Developed countries are also expected to mobilize climate finance and channel them through the Green Climate Fund, as well as provide support to developing and vulnerable nations through capacity building and technology transfer. The Agreement is governed by transparency and compliance mechanisms that will ensure continued collective progress towards meeting these ambitious global goals,” Legarda added.

In 2015, months ahead of the gathering of world leaders in COP21, Legarda delivered the Manila Call to Action on Climate Change, which was launched during the state visit of French President Francois Hollande in the Philippines.

Legarda, who authored the Climate Change Act and previously chaired the Senate Committees on Climate Change, Foreign Relations, and Finance, worked behind the scenes in pushing for the Philippines’ ratification, explaining the Agreement to Cabinet members, and coordinating with various climate organizations.

Legarda also stated that the Philippines, as chair of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) during the negotiations in December 2015, was successful in championing the more ambitious climate goal of 1.5°C, compared to 2°C, in the final text of the Paris Agreement.

She noted that the 1.5°C goal, which was backed up by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is the threshold for survival for developing countries, as well as an opportunity for all countries to transition towards a low carbon and climate-resilient development path.

“We need bold climate action in terms of transformational planning and financing in all sectors, and we need the involvement of all actors in the community, most especially to spur locally led action. For all these, industrialized nations must lead towards the low carbon pathway. Only if the 1.5-degrees Celsius limit is met can we bring about sustainable industrial development and eradicate poverty,” Legarda concluded.***