Privilege Speech: On the Outcomes of the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

November 23, 2021

On the Outcomes of the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

November 23, 2021


Mr. Speaker and distinguished colleagues:

The 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) concluded on November 13 in Glasgow, following two weeks of negotiations among world leaders to decide on global policies and actions that would save humanity and the planet from the climate crisis.

I wish to report in detail on the outcomes of this conference and the country’s position that our Philippine delegation advanced and fought for during these talks.

Let me first express my appreciation to our Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, who is the concurrent designated chairperson of the Climate Change Commission, for spearheading our Philippine delegation to COP26 composed of representatives from the Departments of Finance, Foreign Affairs, Energy, and Environment and Natural Resources.

Thank you for representing our country in this crucial event, as well as for providing this representation a report about its key outcomes.

I also thank our friends in civil society—from the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC), Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines (YACAP), Aksyon Klima, and Youth Strike 4 Climate Philippines—who were also in Glasgow to help push for the needed decisions and actions from all countries and stakeholders.

Mr. Speaker; colleagues:

To recall, COP26 was originally scheduled in 2020 but was postponed to this year due to the pandemic. The previous COP25 took place in December 2019 in Madrid, Spain where I headed the Philippine delegation.

There was a significant gap in between these annual climate negotiations, and so there was tremendous expectation for COP26 to make up for the lost time and accelerate action towards the achievement of the goals set in the global climate treaty, the Paris Agreement.

A successful COP26, especially for the Philippines and fellow vulnerable developing countries, meant delivering on three major work streams—which are climate ambition, adaptation, and finance.

Mr. Speaker; colleagues:

Unfortunately, COP26 was not the COP that we had needed it to be.

It did not give us enough reason to heave a big sigh of relief just yet, in light of the latest climate warnings issued in August that signaled “code red” for humanity.

Many considered that the Glasgow Climate Pact—the main output containing the decisions adopted by 197 countries in COP26—was a disappointment. Even UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the approved texts as a “compromise,” and that “we are still knocking on the door of climate catastrophe.”

On climate ambition, countries’ pledges to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions or what we call as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), taken together,  are still not enough to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

1.5 is our climate threshold for our survival, but after COP26, experts are saying that global warming would still increase to 2.4 degrees Celsius or higher.[1]

The Glasgow Climate Pact also noted the developed countries’ failure to deliver support in jointly mobilizing 100 billion US dollars of climate finance per year from 2020 until 2025, as well as noting that the provision for adaptation remains insufficient to respond to the worsening climate change impacts in developing countries.

These three aspects—ambition, adaptation, and finance—are the very foundations of our fight for climate justice. And without the clear, adequate, and predictable provisions for such, we cannot truly consider ourselves safe and resilient in the years to come.

Mr. Speaker; colleagues:

While COP26 did not meet our expectations, it still gave us some “wins” and more reasons to look forward and continue marching on.

First is the unprecedented inclusion of language against coal and other fossil fuels in the Pact—even with COP26 having  coal, oil, and gas industry executives present.

In the decision, countries are called upon “to accelerate the… transition towards low-emission energy systems, including… accelerating efforts towards the phasedown of unabated coal power and phase-out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.

It also invited countries “to consider further actions to reduce by 2030 non-carbon dioxide greenhouse gas emissions, including methane.” The explicit mention of methane is also a first in the history of COP.


Mr. Speaker and distinguished colleagues, I think it’s clear: This is a death sentence on coal and fossil fuels.

Another win is the inclusion of a special section on loss and damage in the Pact. It acknowledged that “climate change has already caused and will increasingly cause loss and damage and that, as temperatures rise, impacts from climate and weather extremes, as well as slow onset events, will pose an ever-greater social, economic and environmental threat.”

The Pact was not at all clear on whether developing countries will be compensated on loss and damage, but it builds the momentum for clearer and stronger provisions in future climate talks.

This is on top of the mobilization of 100 billion US dollars of climate finance from 2020 to 2025 for developing countries, and the dedicated support for adaptation that we continue to call for.

Mr. Speaker; colleagues:

The Philippines was steadfast in advancing our country’s positions and interests during COP26.

In our national statement delivered by Secretary Dominguez before world leaders, we have called for a framework on climate justice where developed countries must accept the responsibility of financing the needs of developing countries in the form of grants, investments, and subsidies.

This is to improve the capacity of the local community, pursue bankable adaptation and mitigation projects, and support initiatives to help the transition towards a climate-resilient economy.

In the Pact, multilateral banks, financial institutions, and the private sector were called to enhance the mobilization of finance for these resources and to further scale up investments on climate action.

Mr. Speaker and colleagues:

COP26 reaffirmed the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2100, noting that climate impacts will continue to worsen with every additional increment of rising temperatures.

But doing so would require rapid, deep and sustained reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions.

It also reaffirmed that developing countries must have the adequate support of finance, technologies, and capacity development to be able to adapt to climate impacts, while also being able to transition towards low carbon development.

Mr. Speaker; colleagues:

Allow me to end with a statement from parliamentarian Alok Sharma of the United Kingdom, who served as COP26 President, as he closed the two-week negotiations both emotional and apologetic.

He said:

“We can now say with credibility that we have kept 1.5 degrees alive. But, its pulse is weak and it will only survive if we keep our promises and translate commitments into rapid action.”

Mr. Speaker and colleagues, our nation must remain vigilant in the next crucial months and years that would decide the fate of humanity and our planet.

Within our country, we must also do all that we can to keep the 1.5 call alive. We need to enjoin all our stakeholders in enabling the just and accelerated transformation of all our communities and sectors towards resilience and sustainability.

Thank you very much.


[1] Climate Action Tracker, 2021. Glasgow’s one degree 2030 credibility gap: net zero’s lip service to climate action,