Legarda on Warming Limit of 1.5°C: It’s a Matter of Survival

April 26, 2016

Senator Loren Legarda called on nations to immediately ratify the Paris Agreement on climate change and stressed on the need to target the more ambitious but safer 1.5 degrees Celsius warming limit.

Legarda, Global Champion for Resilience of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), made the statement during the press conference with Ministers of the High Ambition Coalition (HAC), following the signing of the Paris Agreement at the UN Headquarters in New York on April 22.

Legarda was joined by US Special Envoy for Climate Change Jonathan Pershing, Costa Rica Minister for Foreign Affairs Manuel González Sanz, EU Commissioner for Climate Action & Energy Miguel Arias Cañete, and Marshall Islands Ambassador for Climate Change Tony de Brum, who served as the moderator for the press briefing.

“In the Agreement, our commitment is to keep global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius and that 1.5 degrees is an aspiration. But the 1.5 degrees Celsius warming limit should not just be an aspiration; we must do everything not to go beyond that, because the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal is a matter of survival. We have already breached the 1 degree Celsius mark and look at what has happened to vulnerable nations like the Philippines,” she said.

The Senator explained how the Philippines, one of the most climate-vulnerable countries, has been affected by extreme weather events caused by the warming climate.

Typhoon Ketsana in 2009 ate up 2.7 percent of the country’s GDP; while the country has yet to fully recover from the damage and effects of the November 2013 Supertyphoon Haiyan.

Moreover, at present, farmers and farming communities have been suffering from the drought caused by the extended El Niño affecting the Philippines.

Legarda also explained the importance of urgent climate action in achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and added that the mobilization of the US$100 Billion Fund is necessary to support vulnerable nations who happen to be low-emitting, developing economies.

“The US$100 Billion Fund is just a fraction of actual resources needed to deliver current and more ambitious programs consistent with the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal,” she said, stressing that additional funding in the form of independent official development assistance (ODA) commitments is also vital.

Legarda added that it is important to maintain a balance in adaptation and mitigation in climate finance.

“A 50:50 balance in international climate finance between adaptation and mitigation needs to be achieved by 2020 as a humanitarian priority. We must all do our share to ensure that our governments keep the promises they delivered in Paris,” Legarda concluded.