WITH only a few days left before the Paris climate talks end, Manila has expressed serious concern over the absence of crucial adaptation finance in the current draft of the Paris agreement.
“The Philippine delegation is seriously concerned about the fact that there is not enough provision in the draft Paris agreement that provides adaptation finance for the developing countries most vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change,” Environment Secretary Ramon Paje said in a statement.
More than 190 countries have embarked on two weeks of negotiations to hammer out a new universal climate pact that will specify tracks of finance, mitigation and adaptation actions from 2020 and beyond.
As the first week of the talks closed on December 5, there remains no clear language capturing the mobilization of adaptation funds for countries most vulnerable to climate change.
During a high-level meeting held in Le Bourget on December 8, Paje pointed out that there was no reference to the amount of finance needed for adaptation in Article 6, which covers the element of finance in the new climate deal.
“My delegation hereby further intervenes to ensure clear reference to a collective target for adaptation,” Paje told the assembly.
The Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) chief said there should be a collective target for adaptation with a “solid quantitative goal,” or a particular amount for adaptation finance that should be reviewed every five years.
According to Paje, predictable financing sources are critical for the implementation of initiatives like technology transfer and capacity-building innovations to enable the country to adapt effectively to climate change impact.
At the same time, Paje said actions that will limit global warming to below 1.5 degrees Celsius, which now enjoy the support of 112 nations, must be fast-tracked and sustained despite the setback caused by the failure of countries to agree on the review of the 2-degrees Celsius goal.
“Such review would have provided scientific evidence for the necessity of increasing mitigation targets,” he said.
The Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), an advocacy coalition of 43 middle income and developing small-island nations led by the Philippines, has pushed for the continued adoption of the 2-degrees Celsius goal even after the setback.
Paje also emphasized that the climate crisis does not spare anyone and will impact all countries whether developed, developing or least developed.
Thus, he said, it is important for the 195 territories participating in the negotiations to work in solidarity in establishing the loss and damage mechanism, increasing national mitigation actions and accelerating capacity development for adaptation.
The Philippine delegation, through its lead negotiator Climate Change Commissioner Vice-Chair Emmanuel de Guzman, ensures that the initiatives of the Philippines, on behalf of the highly vulnerable countries comprising the CVF, are strongly reflected in the Paris agreement
Call for decarbonization
For his part, CCC Commissioner Heherson Alvarez, who was a former DENR secretary, has called for Philippine decarbonization in support of President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s call for carbon pricing in Bonn, Germany last October 2015.
Speaking at a Philippines side event on Climate Smart Development in a Vulnerable and Emerging Economy in the ongoing climate change conference, or 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) in Le Bourget, Alvarez stressed that all over the world, there is a cry now to price carbon appropriately, apply corresponding taxes, and remove subsidy that makes carbon artificially cheap.
“And not too far from that is the well-accepted physical and economic reality that carbon is the triggering force behind destructive impacts of climate change. Carbon should not only have its common market price but must carry the additional cost of the global environmental ruin that it brings about,” he explained.
Aquino had earlier joined German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and other world leaders who compose the Carbon Pricing Panel, in calling all countries around the world to put a price on carbon “to steer the global economy toward a low-carbon, productive, competitive future without the dangerous levels of carbon pollution driving warming.”
According to Alvarez, externalities are never captured in carbon pricing in Asia.
“When carbon is priced correctly, the alternative fuels would be competitive in the energy system. The gradual displacement of fossil energy within the timeframe indicated by science could be achieved,” he said
“If your alternatives will be cheap, it will displace carbon in the marketplace within the indicated timeframe calculated scientifically by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC),” he added.
In order to decarbonize the country’s economy, the official said that decision-making should not be left to government alone but should be done with private business stakeholders alongside government policies that make alternative energy competitive.