Despite his earlier reservations, President Rodrigo Duterte finally signed the landmark Paris Agreement on Climate Change last Wednesday, March 1. This agreement calls for the reduction of carbon emissions, which have been linked to the occurrence of natural disasters and extreme weather conditions.
The Paris Agreement is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. It aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping the global average temperature rise this century to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.
The Philippines, even though not a major emitter, pledged a 70-percent cut in emissions by 2030.
Upon ratification, the Philippines, among the nations’ most vulnerable to the destructive impact of climate change, will have access to the Green Climate Fund. Under this fund, wealthy, developed nations are obliged to pool together $100 million annually to support vulnerable and low-emitting nations in facing the impact of climate change.
Initially, President Duterte said he did not want to sign the agreement, fearing that it would limit the country’s industrialization, but he eventually promised to do so after the Cabinet voted in its favor.
On the other hand, Secretary Fortunato dela Peña of the Department of Science and Technology said his department would intensify research on renewable energy and energy conservation to help the Philippines meet its climate change commitments.
The Weekly Sillimanian agrees with President Duterte’s decision that by signing the Paris Agreement, his administration is asserting its leadership role in the climate negotiations and that his administration’s resolve for climate action will champion more environmental advocacies in the future as well as improve our country’s economic situation.