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Legarda Laments Climate Injustice: PHL Low in GHG Emission But High in Disaster Vulnerability

July 11, 2014

Senator Loren Legarda today called it an injustice that while the Philippines’ share in the global greenhouse gas (GHG) emission is among the lowest at 0.31%, it is unfortunately one of the top nations vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

“It is unfortunate that the Philippines and developing nations, including small island developing states, bear the brunt of climate change when in fact most developed countries are the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases causing extreme changes in the climate,” she said.

Legarda, the United Nations Regional Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation, made the statement following recent talks between China and the United States on reducing their carbon footprints.

China and the US are the top GHG emitters. From 1990-2010, China’s average global share on GHG emissions was 17.15%, while the US share was 14.91%. In the same time frame, the Philippines’ average global share was 0.31%.

According to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), developed countries are chiefly responsible for the current level of GHG emissions because of their industrial activity in the past 150 years.

UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction chief Margareta Wahlström said that reducing GHG emissions is a “prerequisite to reducing disaster risk efficiently” because climate change has already made extreme weather events the new normal.

Legarda said that China and US, as well as other industrialized nations, can no longer delay action because they have also been experiencing stronger and more frequent weather events.

The 2012 Annual Disaster Statistical Review of the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) showed that China, the United States, the Philippines, India and Indonesia are the top 5 countries that are most frequently hit by natural hazards over the past decade.

“Big nations who are contributing to pollution must innovate and use science to reduce emissions to prevent vulnerable nations, and even their own countries, from being victims of deadly natural hazards that are intensified by climate change,” said Legarda.

She further stated that, “it is clear injustice to witness the devastating impact of climate change being borne by the poorest groups with least responsibility for having caused it and least capacity to adapt. We hope that industrialized nations would own up to their responsibility by advancing policies on reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.”

“The Philippines has been consistent in its disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation efforts but parallel initiatives from advanced nations are needed to help address the problem and to avert a potential global catastrophe,” Legarda concluded.