President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said he will sign the Paris Agreement, a global pact that aims to curb the effects of climate change.
Duterte said he made the decision after consulting members of his Cabinet, who were mostly in favor of the pact’s ratification.
“After so much debate, ‘yung climate change pipirmahan ko [I will sign the climate change agreement],” the President said. “It’s a Cabinet decision, I’ll go along with it and sign it.”
However, Duterte warned that industrialized nations may violate the agreement.
“Whatever it is, the industrial countries have been known not to honor financial obligation, especially America. It has not paid its dues to the United Nations,” he added.
Under the Paris agreement, 197 countries committed to significantly reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to keep global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius.
The Philippines, under then President Benigno Aquino 3rd, pledged a 70 percent cut in emissions by 2030.
Duterte had expressed misgivings about the pact, threatening at one point that he would not honor it because it was unfair that the country’s economic progress will be impeded by cutting its carbon emissions even if it is not a major contributor to global warming.
But Duterte explained that he was only expressing his opinion when he first talked about the agreement.
“When I said that I was not into it, I was only expressing my opinion. I do not lose the freedom of expression just because I am the President. I am not barred from giving my own opinion just because I am the President,” he said.