Sponsorship Speech: Paris Agreement on Climate Change

March 9, 2017

Sponsorship Speech of Senator Loren Legarda
Paris Agreement on Climate Change
8 March 2017 | Senate Session Hall

Mr. President, distinguished colleagues:

I have the honor to seek approval of proposed Senate Resolution No. 320, titled “Resolution Concurring In The Accession To The Paris Agreement” prepared and submitted by the Committee on Foreign Relations per its Committee Report No. 51.

We may be vulnerable, but we are not incapable of action.

We have proven this many times—when we enacted the Climate Change Law, which is a model legislation for many countries; when we started climate-tagging our expenditures under the national budget; and when we led the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) and spearheaded the creation of the Vulnerable Twenty group of Ministers of Finance or V20, which works to address climate change more assertively through innovative financing and technology, among many other initiatives.

In 2015, the sister initiatives of the CVF and the V20 led the successful push to enshrine the tougher warming limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius in the Paris Agreement, and today I laud President Rodrigo Duterte for recognizing the value of this landmark deal for vulnerable countries.

Our nation bears the brunt of climate change even if we are among those who contributed the least to the crisis.

The Paris Agreement is a vehicle towards achieving climate justice as it compels developed nations that have polluted the world and caused this climate crisis to finance the Green Climate Fund and provide developing and vulnerable nations, like the Philippines, needed support on capacity building and technology transfer for adaptation and mitigation efforts. This means that our vulnerability presents opportunities for green, sustainable and resilient growth.

The Philippines’ ratification of the Agreement will send a strong signal of our continuing commitment to work with the rest of the world in ensuring the survival of this generation and the generations to come, and the ability of the Earth to sustain life.

As Party to the Agreement, we can influence the decisions on how the accord will be implemented and we maintain our leadership role in the international climate talks and advocacy.

It was not an easy journey during the Paris Agreement negotiations. But now, we are a step away from fully ratifying the accord.

Even as we complete the process, we are already moving forward in our efforts to combat climate change impacts.

This morning, I opened the V20 Asia-Pacific Regional Meeting, which gathered finance ministers and senior officials from 15 developing economies across Asia and the Pacific at the Asian Development Bank (ADB) headquarters in Manila to discuss enhanced economic and financial responses to climate change.

We know if the V20 does not remain ahead of the curve, pulling the world along with us, we will have no chance of seeing our 1.5 vision realized, especially in the current geopolitical climate. We need not only survive but also thrive, and keeping within the 1.5 degrees Celsius global temperature limit is critical.

Pursuing a development path consistent with 1.5 degrees will not only protect our people and the environment, it will also spur economic growth.

We now enter a new era of development pursuits which challenges us to do more, to do better, and to be more innovative. Ratifying the Paris Agreement is a vital step towards dealing with climate risks and delivering our commitments for sustainable growth.

I therefore urge my colleagues to approve proposed Senate Resolution No. 320, titled “Resolution Concurring In The Accession To The Paris Agreement”.

Thank you, Mr. President.