Legarda on New Climate Leaders: We Will Overcome This Climate Crisis

March 17, 2016

Senator Loren Legarda today said she is confident that the Philippines can lead the fight to address the climate crisis as new climate leaders emerged from the three-day training organized by The Climate Reality Project, led by its founder former US Vice President Al Gore, from March 14-16, 2016 in Manila.


“Ten years ago, climate change was considered an issue that was best left for scientists to discuss. Today, I am happy and very optimistic because we have at least 700 new climate warriors, mostly Filipinos, who will help organize action to address the climate crisis,” said Legarda, UNISDR Global Champion for Resilience and Chair of the Senate Committees on Climate Change and Finance.


“I am thankful to former Vice President Gore and his team for bringing the Climate Reality Leadership Corps training to Philippines. He has inspired Filipinos to join the global fight on the climate crisis,” she added.


In one of the training sessions, Mr. Gore lauded the Philippines for its leadership of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), which led the call to limit warming to 1.5°C during the climate negotiations in Paris last December. He said that the rest of the world listens when the Philippines speaks.


“We must use our influence to effect positive change. As I have always said, we may be vulnerable but we are not incapable. We showed that when the Philippine delegation ably led the CVF in the Paris climate negotiations. We must continue with this kind of leadership,” said Legarda.


Earth Hour


“I enjoin all Climate Reality leaders to spread the advocacy to their communities and engage everyone to take meaningful action. A good start will be during the Earth Hour. Oftentimes, people are overwhelmed with the gargantuan task of protecting the environment, without realizing that the small acts ignite greater action and result in significant achievements,” she explained.


Earth Hour will be observed on Saturday, March 19, from 8:30 to 9:30 PM. In previous years, the Philippines was regarded as an Earth Hour Hero Country for registering a high number of participating towns and cities and for its staunch support to the campaign.


Legarda said, “Even the smallest acts—ecological waste segregation, tree-growing, saving on electricity, using low carbon technologies—are important. Small acts, when put together, create big change.”


Towards Green Growth


The Senator also renewed her commitment to ensuring that the country will move towards green development.


“In our Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC), the Philippines committed to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 70% by 2030. It would certainly be difficult to reduce GHG emissions if we will continue to approve the construction of coal-fired power plants. Government should instead encourage the business sector to invest in renewable energy,” said Legarda, stressing that she will push for the immediate ratification of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change when Senate resumes its session in May.


She added that the Senate will also look into establishing carbon pricing mechanisms in the country. “To encourage and promote investments in renewable energy and bring down GHG emissions, there is a growing clamor worldwide for the implementation of carbon pricing legislation, such as emissions trading systems of carbon taxes, with producers of carbon emissions forced to pay for their activities. But we have to study these mechanisms well.”


In her proposed Senate Resolution 1732, Legarda said that in light of the developing country status of the Philippines and the pursuit of energy security, there is a need to ensure that the introduction of carbon pricing legislation is part of a wholistic approach that takes into account the impact and cost-effectiveness of other policy instruments that discourage the emission of GHG as well as policies which may inadvertently encourage emissions.


DRR as a Tool for Climate Adaptation


Legarda also reminded the government of its commitments under the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction as it turns one year on March 18.


In March 2015, nations agreed to the Sendai Framework for DRR, which gives primary importance to understanding disaster risk.


“Understanding the risk will help us know how we can effectively address it—for governments to develop the necessary programs, for legislators to create the appropriate enabling policies, for local governments to develop multi-hazard early warning systems based on the specific risk present in their communities, for the private sector to invest in risk-reduction measures, and for citizens to be proactive in helping reduce the risks,” she said.


“As a nation greatly affected by natural hazards, many of which are climate-related, we must make disaster risk reduction part of our climate change adaptation efforts.  We have a lot of work to do to build resilience, to adapt to and mitigate climate change, to promote green growth, but as more people are inspired to be climate leaders, I know we will win this fight. We will overcome this climate crisis,” Legarda concluded.