President Benigno Aquino 3rd has urged global leaders to stop debating and start doing “everything they can” to address climate change.
In his speech at the United Nations Climate Change Summit in New York on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila), Aquino said debates on whether climate change is real are over.
He added that the world leaders should also stop wrangling over individual commitments of countries in the battle against climate change.
“Instead, everyone here has to do everything they can to address climate change, without first waiting for their neighbors to engage in action. Doing anything less leaves the problem unattended to thereby increasing the problem we all face,” Aquino said.
He called for a global coordinated action, saying climate change does not recognize national boundaries or political or economic affiliations.
“The choice before us, then, is clear: Together we must face these challenges and surmount them, or together we will suffer the consequences of inaction,” the President said.
He ticked off measures that the Philippines took to combat climate change despite its limited resources such as the enactment of a Renewable Energy Act and a legislation that will lessen the impact of disasters by adopting a comprehensive approach to disaster response, multi-hazard and geo-hazard mapping for effective assessment risk, a massive re-greening program and an anti-illegal logging campaign.
At the same time, the Philippine government also started tagging public expenditure on climate change to ensure that the appropriate prioritization and allocation of funds is achieved, he said.
To reduce the impact of disasters on the poorest and most vulnerable Filipinos, the government, the President added, engaged other stakeholders in developing a disaster risk financing and insurance policy framework.
“Perhaps the international community may see the value of such an instrument, and look at it as a model to increase the financial resiliency of other nations in a situation similar to ours,” he said.
The Philippines, Aquino noted, will also continue taking steps to maintain and even improve the country’s low-emission development strategy and the trajectory of its energy mix.
“And we are hopeful that our fellow developing nations, especially those who have been gaining the economic wherewithal to pursue similar strategies, will tread a path akin to ours,” he said.
Although less industrialized, the Philippines never lacked the resolve with regard to transitioning toward less traditional sources of energy, according to the President.
“It would not be an exaggeration to say that Filipinos bear a disproportionate amount of the burden when it comes to climate change. Being less industrialized, we are not a major emitter. Still, even while the fulfillment of our full development potential remains on the horizon, we see the opportunities borne of more environmentally progressive policies,” he said.