PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has changed his stance on the Paris Agreement on Climate Change adopted by the Philippines and about 200 countries in December last year.
Speaking to reporters in Davao City on Thursday, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said Duterte would likely adopt the climate deal if it took into consideration the economic needs of the country.
Andanar said the President changed his mind following his meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Malacañang last month.
“The President said in one of his interviews before that he was not in favor of this because of our economic situation in the country. But after the President spoke with Secretary of State John Kerry, the Secretary of State convinced the President to change his mind and to consider the Paris agreement, which the President answered affirmatively” Andanar said in a news conference.
“The President also said that as long as it is fair to our economic situation, then everything should be okay,” the Palace official added.
Duterte earlier said he would not acknowledge the climate pact, calling it “stupid” and “absurd.”
The President pointed out that requirements to cut carbon emissions were unfair because wealthy nations were not given such impositions when they were industrializing.
“That’s stupid. I will not honor that … We are here, we have not reached the age of industrialization. We are on our way to it,” Duterte said.
The international treaty was signed by countries that participated in the 21st Conference of Parties in France, including the Philippines.
Under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the Philippines promised to reduce its carbon emissions by 70 percent by 2030 with assistance from the international community.
This means the country can achieve its target only if developed countries or the private sector provide resources like financial aid or technology.
Though the Philippine government has signed the agreement, it still needs to be ratified by the Senate.