Palace: Gina Lopez to attend Morocco climate talks

environment secretary gina lopez
NOT YET FINAL. Environment Secretary Gina Lopez says plans for her to join the Philippine delegation in Morocco climate talks are not yet final. Screenshot from Rappler

Environment Secretary Gina Lopez says she still has to ‘clarify things’ and ‘get more clarity on what the President wants’

MANILA, Philippines (Nov. 5, 2016) — Malacañang announced on Friday, November 4, that Environment Secretary Gina Lopez will attend the next world climate conference, COP 22, which opens November 7 in Marrakech, Morocco. 

“[Secretary] Gina Lopez will attend the Climate Change Meet in Marrakech and will report back to the President in order for him to have a better informed view regarding the Agreement,” Palace Communications Secretary Martin Andanar told reporters in a text message on Friday.

Andanar is referring to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the landmark international climate pact that came into force Friday. The Philippines has yet to ratify the agreement.

Climate Change Commission Secretary Emmanuel de Guzman also confirmed to Rappler that Lopez will be part of the country’s official delegation in Morocco.

But in a text message to Rappler, Lopez said plans are not yet final on her going to Marrakech.

“[I] still have to clarify things and have to get more clarity on what the President wants. He feels there [are] a lot of holes in the Paris Agreement, that’s why there is a reluctance to sign, but things are positive,” she added.

In July, President Rodrigo Duterte said he “will not honor” international agreements binding the Philippines to limit its carbon emissions.

Lopez then defended him, saying that she knows the President has a “non-negotiable stance on the well-being of the people.”

Duterte has insisted time and again that the Philippines must develop through industrialization, but he also gave his word that addressing global warming is among his administration’s top priorities.

He had already expressed his willingness to talk about the Paris Agreement if it takes into consideration the economic plans of the country.

PH as observer

Since the country has not yet ratified the Paris Agreement, it will sit only as an observer during the ceremonial first meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement in Morocco.

But the country has a “participating party” status in other United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change sessions and committee meetings.

De Guzman earlier told Rappler that the country is expected to lead negotiations in behalf of the Group of 77 and China “on the matter of finance, a most important issue for climate vulnerable developing countries.”

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

Four months later in April 2016, 175 countries including the Philippines signed the Paris climate deal.

The climate deal has been hailed as the first universal, legally-binding agreement on climate change, and countries pledged to reduce the amount of carbon they emit and to ensure their citizens are prepared for the effects of global warming.

The Philippines has pledged to cut by 70% its carbon emissions by 2030 – a target conditional on assistance from the international community.

  by Jee Y. Geronimo |