Legarda: Paris Agreement is Our Gift to Mother Earth, Legacy to Our Children

April 21, 2016

As world leaders converge at the United Nations Headquarters in New York to sign the Paris Agreement on Earth Day (April 22), Senator Loren Legarda, Co-Head of the Philippine Delegation, stressed the importance of the accord to both humanity and the planet.

“The most important thing we can bequeath to our children is a livable planet; and if there is one gift of gratitude we can give to Mother Earth, it should be to heal the planet,” said Legarda.

“Our generation has been given the golden opportunity to leave a legacy that will benefit our children and a multitude of generations. In the Paris Agreement, we said we must not go beyond 2 degrees Celsius global temperature rise this century and we must do everything we can to even limit it to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. We must deliver on our promises,” she added.

Legarda, UNISDR Global Champion for Resilience, said that this year’s Earth Day celebration could be the most meaningful because of the Paris Agreement signing, but maintained that the treaty’s early entry into force must be ensured.

The Agreement will come into effect and be legally binding once 55 parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) representing at least 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions sign and ratify the treaty.

“This Agreement is vital because national actions will be driven by the countries’ ambitions and plans for carbon reduction, which should include energy efficiency, renewable energy deployment, and forest protection,” said Legarda.

2016 Earth Day Theme: Trees for the Earth

Moreover, the Senator said that protecting the planet does not only rely in the hands of global and national leaders, but also in the collective effort of individuals and communities.

This year’s Earth Day celebration also encourages individuals to do their share in protecting the planet through tree growing activities.

“We need to look at tree planting as serious business. We need trees not just for production but also as a way to mitigate climate change, to offset the carbon we emit on a daily basis,” said Legarda.

With the theme Trees for the Earth, the UN sets the goal of planting 7.8 billion trees over the next five years. It highlights the importance of trees in combatting climate change and achieving long-term economic and environmental sustainability, among others.

In conclusion, Legarda said, “It does not need a superhero to save the world. The Earth only needs all of humanity to do their fair share to keep the planet healthy and livable.”