Signing of global climate pact a victory for PH

ramon paje
CLIMATE DEAL.In this file photo, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje delivers a statement at the COP21 UN climate change summit in Le Bourget, France, December 2015. Rappler file photo

Environment Secretary Ramon Paje will sign the Paris Agreement at the UN headquarters on behalf of the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines (Apr. 21, 2016) — The signing of the Paris Agreement on climate change this Friday, April 22, is a “victory” for the Philippines, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje said.

The formal signing of the historic pact, adopted by 195 nations in France last December 12, will be held on Earth Day at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

At the high-level signing ceremony, Paje will deliver a statement on behalf of the Philippines about the country’s plan post-COP21, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources said in a statement Tuesday, April 19.

The Philippines plan includes the goal of reducing carbon emissions by 70% by 2030.

“Priority mitigation measures will cover 40 of the 70% total emission reduction which will include greater use of cleaner and renewable energy, improved mass transport services, more efficient waste management, reforestation and forest protection, and co-firing biomass,” Paje was quoted in the DENR release as saying.

The Philippines has been an active player in the global discussion on a climate agreement for years now. Paje said the signing of countries is a “victory” for the country’s efforts.

“The irony of being among the countries most extremely vulnerable to climate change despite having one of the smallest carbon footprints impelled us to be highly articulate and assertive on the global stage on the need for urgent action against climate change” he added.

The environment chief will sign for and on behalf of the Philippines, based on a special authority issued by President Benigno Aquino III.

World leaders at UN event

A total of 163 nations will gather in New York Friday for the high-level signing ceremony hosted by UN chief Ban Ki-moon.

The Paris Agreement defines the goal of limiting global warming to “well below” 2ºC (3.6ºF) – 1.5ºC if possible.

It does not prescribe deadlines or targets for curbing planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions: these are described in further detail in non-binding pledges countries filed to shore up the pact.

About 60 heads of state and government will put pen to paper – including France’s Francois Hollande and Canada’s Justin Trudeau.

The United States and China – jointly responsible for 40% of greenhouse gases – will not be represented at the highest level, but are sending Secretary of State John Kerry and Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli.

Countries which do not sign the document on Friday can do so until April 17, 2017.

The next, and final, procedural phase will be ratification by individual governments. Only when 55 countries responsible for 55% of global greenhouse gases have done so can the agreement enter into force.

  by KD Suarez, AFP |