‘By ratifying the Paris Agreement, we will be able to maximize our climate adaptation and mitigation efforts to protect the Filipino people,’ says Environment Secretary Gina Lopez
MANILA, Philippines (Mar 2, 2017) — Environment Secretary Gina Lopez on Wednesday, March 1, lauded President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to sign the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
“The Paris Agreement will definitely bring a silver lining of hope to our sons and daughters – the Filipinos of the next generations – that they may continue to enjoy the country filled with bountiful natural resources and beautiful environment while having enough knowledge and wisdom to utilize them and be fully prepared for the ‘new normal’ that is climate change,” Lopez said in a statement on Wednesday afternoon.
Duterte signed on Tuesday, February 28, the “Instrument of Accession” – a document signifying the Philippines’ ratification of the historic climate change agreement. Senator Loren Legarda received the signed document, and she will soon sponsor it for concurrence.
On Wednesday, Lopez said “the Philippines cannot abandon its commitment in addressing the single greatest threat facing our planet,” referring to climate change.
“By ratifying the Paris Agreement, we will be able to maximize our climate adaptation and mitigation efforts to protect the Filipino people, among which include the Enhanced National Greening Program, Coastal and Marine Ecosystems Management Program, solid waste management, pollution control management, to name a few,” she added.
The pact, she said, will help the country in “fully [transforming] communities toward climate resiliency,” and in “embracing the principle of sustainable integrated area development as the way forward to achieving a green economy.”
In July 2016, after Duterte’s controversial statement that he will not honor international agreements binding the Philippines to limit its carbon emissions, Lopez defended the President by saying she knows “he has a non-negotiable stance on the well-being of the people.”
Duterte eventually put the matter to a vote despite his misgivings, and a majority of his Cabinet officials voted to ratify the agreement.
Senate concurrence is the final step in the ratification process of a historic pact that has been hailed as the first universal, legally-binding agreement on climate change.
In December 2015, the Philippines and other nations agreed on a global climate pact which aims to keep global temperature rise this century to below 2˚C.
At least 175 countries signed the Paris climate deal months later, in April 2016, and the agreement entered into force in November 2016.
The Philippines has pledged to cut by 70% its carbon emissions by 2030 – a target conditional on assistance from the international community.
But in an interview with Rappler, Climate Change Commission Vice Chairperson Vernice Victorio said Duterte agreed to sign the Paris climate deal after being assured that the Philippines’ commitment under the deal can still be revised.