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Legarda, UNFCCC Senior Director Martin Frick Explore Ways to Scale Up Global Ambition in NDCs

December 11, 2019

MADRID, Spain – Deputy Speaker and Lone District of Antique Representative Loren Legarda had a bilateral meeting with Dr. Martin Frick, Senior Director of Policy and Programme Coordination of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat, which focused on how to urge developed countries to enhance their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) towards meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement.

The meeting took place on December 10, at the sidelines of the UNFCCC’s 25th Session of the Conference of Parties (COP25) in Madrid, Spain, where Legarda serves as Head of the Philippine Delegation.

“What can we do to put pressure on the high-emitting countries to scale up their ambition in their NDCs? Current country commitments lead to a world that is over three degrees Celsius. That is not acceptable. Perhaps, the developed countries must double their commitments in order to limit global warming below 1.5-degrees, as prescribed in the Paris Agreement,” Legarda said.

Legarda, who is a UNFCCC National Adaptation Plan Champion, noted that the Philippines is such a small contributor to the total global emissions and that high-emitting countries or those that contribute the most to global warming and climate change must present more ambitious targets in their NDCs.

Dr. Frick said that developing countries, such as the Philippines, must continue speaking up and leading by example by presenting meaningful NDCs that are supported by the people and can offer better alternatives and pathways towards low carbon development. He added that the voices of the youth, especially of those holding climate strikes outside the conference and elsewhere across the world, must be amplified to reach world leaders and officials.

Legarda learned that New Zealand, Canada, and Costa Rica are some countries that are most aggressive in setting ambitious targets in their NDCs. For the European Union (EU), Dr. Frick said it is a challenge because there are countries, such as Poland and Czech Republic that are still heavily reliant on coal, while there are other EU states, such as Belgium and Germany that wish to push harder for higher NDCs.

Dr. Frick also mentioned that European Commission President-elect Ursula Von der Leyen (Germany) is eyeing the imposition of a carbon border tax for imported goods that are not produced in a climate-friendly way. Legarda expressed that this could also be adopted in the Asia-Pacific region.

Legarda recalled her time in the Philippine Senate, specifically, her authorship of the Climate Change Act, the Renewable Energy Act, and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act; as well as her term as Chair of the Senate Committee Finance that allowed her to integrate climate change initiatives within the budgets of national agencies—all of which helped broaden the climate advocacy.

On the topic of the Carbon Credits Trading System under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, Legarda offered to connect the UNFCCC with Dr. Arturo Bris, Legarda’s former professor at the IMD World Competitiveness Center, who is a blockchain technology expert.

She also suggested that the Philippine Embassy in Berlin take lead in the establishment of a “Friends of UNFCCC,” a network for periodic briefing on UNFCCC updates, which Dr. Frick earlier proposed to Philippine Ambassador to Berlin Tess de Vega during her courtesy call on him.

Legarda, a UNEP Laureate, UNISDR Global Champion for Resilience, and a Member of the GCF Board, expressed that this network will further strengthen Philippine ties with the UNFCCC.