Senator Loren Legarda on Thursday renewed calls for the government to ratify the Paris Agreement on Climate Change as a group warned that the country will lose its moral ascendancy if it rejects the global pact that came into force early this month.
Only 10 out of 33 the government agencies have submitted their certificate of concurrence (COC) to the pact, a requirement for the country to ratify the agreement.
The Philippines is one of the 175 countries that signed the pact that aims to keep global temperature rise this century well below two degrees Celsius and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
The agreement, which was signed in April this year, takes effect on November 4, 2016 after 55 parties, representing at least 55 percent of global emissions, ratified the agreement.
The Philippines’ failure to ratify the agreement before it came into effect made the country appear “not serious” in addressing its vulnerability to natural disasters, said Ian Rivera, national coordinator of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ).
“We will lose our moral ascendancy [in its]leadership in the climate-vulnerable forum. Many countries will see us as if we’re not serious that we are very vulnerable,” he told reporters.
Rivera said the government should make clear its stand.
“We would like to know what’s the reason why it didn’t ratify the agreement,” he said.
He said the failure to ratify the agreement has also reduced the Philippine delegation to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), of which the agreement is a part, to the role of observers instead of participants.
Legarda, who chairs the Senate Committee on Climate Change, called on the pertinent government agencies, led by the Climate Change Commission (CCC) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), to work for the immediate ratification of the treaty.
The senator said the Philippines needs to ratify the agreement to gain access to funds that will help the country adapt to climate change impacts.
“We understand that government is in transition, but we expect that the CCC and DFA have already met with the agencies and have explained the importance of this Agreement in our pursuit of sustainable development and climate and disaster resilience,” she said.
“We need to ratify the Agreement so that we can access the Green Climate Fund. This is what we have been waiting for—for developed countries that are the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases (GHG) to aid vulnerable, low-emitting nations like the Philippines,” she said.
Under the agreement. industrialized and developed nations are required to provide technical and financial assistance to climate-vulnerable countries like the Philippines for being the cause of climate change, she said.
Developed countries must also raise $100 billion annually for a Green Climate fund to be given to developing countries, including the Philippines.
In August, President Rodrigo Duterte admitted to having some misgivings about the Paris Agreement because of its supposed “unfairness” to developing countries.
He said developing countries were being asked to reduce their carbon emissions at a time when they are expanding their economies while the same was not being demanded of the developed nations.
But the President on Wednesday expressed willingness to approve the agreement if his advisers believe that it is beneficial for the country.
Legarda said that so far only the education, health, interior and local governments, national defense, agriculture, agrarian reform, and social welfare departments, with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, National Security Council, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, and the National Economic and Development Authority have submitted their COCs.