Privilege Speech: 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change

December 14, 2015

Privilege Speech of Senator Loren Legarda
2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change
14 December 2015 | Senate Session Hall

Mr. President,


On December 12, 195 nations, including the Philippines, adopted the Paris Agreement following 13 days of climate change negotiations.


Foremost, I commend the Philippine delegation and the negotiating team headed by the Climate Change Commission for their hard work, for being the voice of reason, and for asserting the rights of vulnerable nations.


According to our delegation, “The Paris Agreement may not be as perfect as we want it to be, but it is essentially an acceptable accord.”[1]


The most important aspect of the negotiations and of this accord is that all nations have accepted the reality of climate change and the need for urgent climate action with the aim of limiting global temperature rise to “well below 2 degrees Celsius and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.”[2]


Keeping global warming to only 1.5 degrees Celsius is crucial for the Philippines and for the rest of the vulnerable countries of the world, 43 of which have joined hands to form the Climate Vulnerability Forum representing a billion people.


I wish to put on record key points in the Paris Agreement as reported by our Philippine delegation:


  • The Agreement acknowledges the need to respect human rights when taking action to address climate change, and this encompasses the rights of indigenous peoples, women, young people, and migrants, among others.


This is in line with our call for climate justice to be at the core of the Agreement.


  • The Agreement ensures ecosystem integrity in climate actions.


  • It ensures support in finance, technology, and capacity building for all adaptation and mitigation efforts.


  • Inclusion of a Loss and Damage Article separate from Adaptation. This secures the permanence of the Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage, which would ensure the recovery, restoration and resilience of communities, livelihoods and ecosystems adversely affected by slow onset events, extreme weather events and other climate change impacts.


Our Philippine delegation expressed concern in some aspects of the Agreement and will study its implications, particularly paragraph 52 of the Decision adopted together with the Agreement, which states that “Article 8 (which is on Loss and Damage) does not involve or provide a basis for any liability or compensation.”


Mr. President, although the Agreement is not 100% the way we would have wanted it to be, we are optimistic that all nations will be committed to doing their fair share of the deal.The Agreement has been hailed by many sectors as signaling the end of the fossil fuel era and ushering in sustainable economic growth fueled by clean energy.


This Agreement is just the beginning, because the greater challenge ahead is to implement what is on paper, to turn talk into urgent action, and to achieve meaningful results before it is too late.


Thank you.***


[1] Philippine Statement – COP21 Closing Plenary, 12 December 2015

[2] Paris Agreement – United Nations FCCC/CP/2015/L.9/Rev.1 12 December 2015