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Legarda: PH Dev’t Possible Even with Low Carbon Economy

August 1, 2016

Senator Loren Legarda today said that the country’s development can still be at full speed even as it keeps its commitments under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

Legarda, UNISDR Global Champion for Resilience, said the government should consider a long-term transition to a low carbon economy but maintained that industrialized nations have greater responsibility to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

During his first State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Rodrigo Duterte said, “Addressing global warming will be our top priority, but upon a fair and equitable equation. It must not stymie our industrialization.”

Legarda agreed with the President’s statement, stressing that the Philippines has long been calling for industrialized countries, which have the historical responsibility in causing global warming, to financially and technically assist developing countries in climate adaptation and mitigation efforts while reducing their own GHG emissions.

“There is no provision in the Paris Agreement that would prevent our industrialization. The Agreement also obliges developed nations to assist us and other developing countries, through financial and technical support, in preparing for natural hazards, reducing disaster risks, addressing climate change impacts, and moving towards a low carbon economy,” Legarda stressed.

“That is why, the proposed GHG emissions we submitted to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is conditional. This means that the success of our goal to reduce our GHG emissions to 70% by the year 2030 will depend on both our efforts and the assistance that will be provided to us by industrialized nations,” she explained.

Under the Paris Agreement, emission reduction efforts should be substantially undertaken by developed countries that have the capacity to do so.

Legarda further explained that even with the absence of any international agreement, “it makes good economic and environmental sense to invest in clean energy and low carbon infrastructure. A low carbon economy may seem ideal at first but if we look at the worsening effects of conventional energy sources it should not be hard to understand the need to adopt this concept. Growth is difficult to imagine without energy; but energy that does not take into consideration the needs of future generations can only destroy and not build.”

The Philippines, as Chair of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), was among the most influential countries that helped craft the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which seeks to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, and possibly not more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The Philippines also signed the Paris Agreement in New York last April 22 but it has yet to ratify the Agreement.