MANILA –Sen. Loren Legarda on Wednesday sought for the approval of a resolution concurring the accession to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change a week after it was signed by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte.
Legarda, chair of the Senate Committees on Climate Change and Finance, sponsored Senate Resolution No. 320, titled “Resolution Concurring in the Accession To The Paris Agreement” prepared and submitted by the Committee on Foreign Relations per its Committee Report No. 51.
In her sponsorship speech, she said that it was not an easy journey during the Paris Agreement negotiations but noted that the Philippines is only “a step away from fully ratifying the accord.”
The senator, an environmental advocate, noted that the Philippines bears the brunt of climate change even if it is among those who contributed the least to the crisis.
She described the Paris Agreement as a “vehicle” that compels developed nations that have polluted the world and caused this climate crisis to finance the Green Climate Fund and provide developing and vulnerable nations, like the Philippines, needed support on capacity building and technology transfer for adaptation and mitigation efforts.
“This means that our vulnerability presents opportunities for green, sustainable and resilient growth,” Legarda said.
She further noted that the Philippines’ ratification of the Agreement would send a strong signal of continuing commitment to work with the world in ensuring the survival of this generation and the generations to come.
“As Party to the Agreement, we can influence the decisions on how the accord will be implemented and we maintain our leadership role in the international climate talks and advocacy,” she said.
“Ratifying the Paris Agreement is a vital step towards dealing with climate risks and delivering our commitments for sustainable growth,” she added.
Legarda, meanwhile, noted that the Philippines is already moving forward in efforts to combat climate change impacts even without the concurrence of the treaty.
The senator opened the V20 Asia-Pacific Regional Meeting, which gathered finance ministers and senior officials from 15 developing economies across Asia and the Pacific at the Asian Development Bank (ADB) headquarters in Manila to discuss enhanced economic and financial responses to climate change.
ADB sees that infrastructure needs in developing Asia and the Pacific will exceed USD 22.6 trillion through 2030, or USD 1.5 trillion per year, if the region is to maintain growth momentum.
But the estimates rise to over USD 26 trillion or USD 1.7 trillion per year, when climate change mitigation and adaptation costs are incorporated.
“We know if the V20 does not remain ahead of the curve, pulling the world along with us, we will have no chance of seeing our 1.5 vision realized, especially in the current geopolitical climate,” Legarda said.
“We need not only survive but also thrive, and keeping within the 1.5 degrees Celsius global temperature limit is critical,” she added.
She also underscored the important role climate finance institutions play in building low-carbon and sustainable infrastructure that will support the climate change mitigation targets of climate vulnerable nations such as the Philippines.
“Due to the increasingly dire threat posed by climate change, we need to upgrade everything including infrastructure, supply chains, urban services, logistics, food supply, and more,” she said.
The senator called for more investment in green technology.
Once the treaty is fully ratified, Legarda said that the Philippines would become part of the succeeding meetings about the Paris Agreement.
The Paris Agreement on climate change is a treaty that seeks to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius.
To recall, Pres. Duterte initially opposed the ratification of the agreement, saying it would prevent the Philippines from achieving economic and industrial growth target.
He changed his mind about the treaty after most of his Cabinet members voted in favor of what has been described as a landmark global deal to cut harmful carbon emissions that are causing climate change.