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Legarda Renews Call for PHL Ratification of Paris Climate Pact as Entry Into Force Seen Soon

October 5, 2016

Senator Loren Legarda today said that the government should expedite the process of ratification of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change for the country to benefit from the pact, which is seen to take effect within the year.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change and Global Champion for Resilience of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), made the statement following developments in the status of ratification of the Agreement.

“More and more nations are ratifying the Paris Agreement. Vulnerable small island states, such as Fiji, Marshall Islands, Palau and Maldives, took the lead and, recently, the largest emitters of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, US and China, and now India, have deposited their instruments of ratification. We see no reason for the continued delay on the Philippines’ ratification, especially that our own experience from Supertyphoon Haiyan was one of the rallying points for a more ambitious climate deal,” she explained.

India, which accounts for 4.1% of the global GHG emissions, and New Zealand are the latest Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to deposit their instruments of ratification of the Paris Agreement. To date, 63 Parties representing 52.11% of global GHG emissions have ratified the climate pact.

On October 4, the European Parliament approved the ratification of the Paris Agreement by the European Union (EU), which accounts for 12.08% of global GHG emissions. Its Council can now formally adopt the decision and EU Member States will ratify the Paris Agreement individually, in accordance with their respective domestic approval procedures.

The Paris Agreement will take effect on the 30th day after at least 55 nations representing 55% of global GHG emissions have deposited their instruments of ratification.

“We have nothing to lose, but more to gain with the Paris Agreement. We worked hard for this Agreement. The Philippines was at the forefront of the Paris climate talks, leading climate-vulnerable developing nations in pushing for the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal. Now, with the imminent entry into force of the Agreement, it is ironic that we are taking our time,” said Legarda.

“I urge the Climate Change Commission and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to work together in expediting the process so that the Executive can immediately transmit the instrument of ratification to the Senate for concurrence,” said Legarda.

The Senator reiterated that the Paris Agreement is very important for the Philippines, being one of the most vulnerable nations to the impacts of climate change.

“There is no provision in the Paris Agreement that would prevent our industrialization. In fact, it addresses the issue of climate justice. There are clear provisions in the Climate Agreement saying that industrialized nations must come up with the funding needed to help the vulnerable nations,” Legarda explained.

Under the Paris Agreement, developed nations are asked to decarbonize economy-wide. They must raise $100 Billion every year to help vulnerable nations for mitigation and adaptation, and to transfer technology.

On the other hand, the Agreement acknowledges that developing nations, like the Philippines, will take time to decarbonize and will be able to do so with external support. This means that the success of the country’s conditional target to reduce its GHG emissions to 70% by the year 2030, as stated in its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC), will depend on both its efforts and the technical and financial support that will be provided to the country.

The Philippines was among the most influential countries in the crafting of 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 Agreement in New York last April 22 and will be considered to have joined the Agreement once the President ratifies it and the Senate concurs in the ratification.