Loren: PH can progress under Paris pact

August 2, 2016

THE PHILIPPINES does not have to turn its back on the Paris Agreement on Climate Change in order to pursue development if it considers a transition to a low carbon economy through the use of clean energy sources, Sen. Loren Legarda said on Monday.

Legarda, a staunch advocate for the environment, was reacting to President Duterte’s assertion he would not honor the pact as it would inhibit the country’s development.

He later clarified the remark in his State of the Nation Address on July 25 where he explained that addressing global warming was a top priority of his administration but international efforts must be based “upon a fair and equitable equation.”

Legarda, a member of the Philippine delegation to Paris, had vowed to push for the treaty’s ratification by the government—a treaty the previous administration had vigorously campaigned for because the Philippines is one of the nations’ most vulnerable to climate change.

“There is no provision in the Paris agreement that would prevent our industrialization,” Legarda said in a statement.

“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 risk, addressing climate change impact and moving toward a low carbon economy,” Legarda said, noting the pact dovetailed with President Duterte’s call for an equitable formula.

Greater responsibility

She said industrialized nations—for so long the world’s major carbon producers—“should have greater responsibility to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.”

Under the Paris Agreement hammered out last December, 195 UN member states pledged to cut down on their carbon emissions in order to contain global warming by under 2 degrees Celsius, the point beyond which the rise in the earth’s temperature would be irreversible.

Legarda said that despite this carbon cap, the Philippines could still pursue development efforts through a “long-term transition to a low carbon economy” which would entail shifting to clean energy sources like wind and solar, and a gradual weaning away from coal.

At a climate forum in March, Legarda noted the Philippines’ heavy reliance on coal, with consumption rising 27 percent between 2012 and 2014.

Source: Inquirer