Legarda Lauds Dutch Court Ruling on Carbon Emission Targets

July 6, 2015

Senator Loren Legarda lauded the recent triumph of climate advocates as the Dutch court ordered its government to reduce carbon emissions by 25 percent within five years to help protect its citizens from climate change.

“Nations have made pledges to cut their carbon emissions in international treaties but it is easy to make promises. This development shows that governments around the world have a legal obligation to their people when it comes to climate change mitigation.”

Reports stated that a court in The Hague has ordered that the Dutch government slash carbon emissions by a minimum of 25 percent within the next five years. The ruling said that the Dutch government’s plans to cut carbon emissions by just 14 to 17 percent compared to 1990 levels by 2020 was unlawful given the urgent threat of climate change.

Legarda stressed that climate change, along with the extreme weather events it causes, knows no boundaries and the only way forward is a united global action towards mitigation, adaptation and resilience.

In line with this, the Senator said that the Philippines as third highest in the world in terms of vulnerability to weather-related extreme events based on a 2013 World Bank study, and following its acceptance of the presidency this year of the Climate Vulnerability Forum (CVF), must lead by example among developing countries and submit to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat its intended nationally determined contribution (INDC) that highlights its commitment to pursue climate justice and equitable growth for all.

“One of our responsibilities is making sure we adhere to the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act or Republic Act 9003. I am against incineration such as waste-to-energy technologies that employ burning to recover energy. We should also start gradually decreasing our dependence on coal,” said Legarda, noting that in the past five years alone, at least 21 coal-fired power plant projects, which are either operational, non-operational or under construction, were granted an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC).

Last year, Legarda filed Senate Resolution No. 1030 calling on the President of the Republic of the Philippines and the Secretary of Foreign Affairs to take the lead in passing a resolution in the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in 2015, urging the International Court of Justice for an Advisory Opinion on the question: “Under International Law, what are the legal duties of States to protect humankind of today and the future from the climate crisis?”

The Senator explained that “Under this legal procedure, all governments of the world will be asked to submit their comment. This exercise will force them to seriously think about the climate crisis. This move will also compel governments to take action to enable the human species to address or face the ever-worsening impacts of the climate crisis.”

“We must all work together now because as we continue to delay actions to mitigate climate change and address its effects, we will never be free from the cycle of poverty and disasters that threatens not only the vulnerable sectors and nations, but now even the powerful nations,” Legarda concluded.