MANILA - Filipinos will be more prone to the devastating effects of typhoons if President Rodrigo Duterte continues to refuse ratifying the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, former president Fidel V. Ramos insisted.
In his Manila Bulletin column entitled, "Climate change: Attention P Digong, Cabinet and Congress," Ramos on Saturday hurled strong criticism against Duterte, who earlier threatened that he will not honor the international pact to lower climate-warming emissions.
"In his consistently frequent insulting diatribes against the US (United States), EU (European Union), and the UN (United Nations), in which President Du30 also keeps complaining against the December, 2015, Paris Agreement on Climate Change (crafted by 195 nations, the Philippines included), he is unwittingly shooting himself in the mouth, and also all of us, 101.5 million Filipinos," went the opinion column's opening salvo.
"He may claim that to be more 'insulting than friendly' to our long-established allies is part of his God-given 'destiny.' But, this is obviously wrong, and full of S…. T !!!"
Ramos then cited billions of pesos in destruction left by typhoons ''Karen" and "Lawin," which ravaged northern Philippines this month.
"Is he allowing his countrymen/women to continue suffering from the devastating effects of typhoons 'Karen' and 'Lawin' – which are the forerunners of serial catastrophe 'La Niña' (twin of destructive drought 'El Niño'), about which Earth’s people were warned more than 20 years ago, and which must now be mitigated by more intense international cooperation and collective positive action?" he asked.
In Paris last December, nearly 200 countries -- including the Philippines under then president Benigno Aquino III -- agreed on a binding global compact to slash greenhouse gases and keep global temperature increases to "well below" 2 degrees Celsius.
Manila promised to cut carbon emissions by 70 percent by year 2030, even if the country is not a major emitter.
Wealthy countries were also asked to set aside at least $100 billion yearly as financial assistance to developing countries to enable all countries to actualize renewable energy sources starting 2020.
Duterte has repeatedly expressed disdain for the pact, saying cutting carbon emissions at a point when the Philippines' economic rise is just starting will be unfair since industrialized countries have been giving off such emissions for decades.
He also vowed to develop the Philippines based on the needs of the public, not according to international demands.
Ramos, however, emphasized that the principle of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR), on which the Paris Agreement is based, allows developing countries with relatively smaller carbon footprints to continue to grow their economies, especially if done in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication.
"It is clear enough (and should be readily understood by leaders) that the Paris agreement does not impose emission reduction on the Philippines. Should any country decide to eventually become a party to the agreement, it will only be asked to submit its nationally determined contributions, which are essentially successive 5-year climate plans that we can determine on our own, according to our national circumstances, development goals, and domestic capacity," he underscored.
"The Paris agreement also does not have to counter or reduce our country’s industrialization plans. It, in fact, recognizes that developing countries can peak their emissions at a later time, as they pursue sustainable development and poverty eradication according to their respective national plans."
Ramos also argued that ratifying the deal will "advance the interests" of Filipinos.
"It will also enable us to secure more investments towards our climate goals and gain access to the financial, technological, and capacity-building support to be provided to parties of the Agreement," he said.
By contrast, if the Philippines does not ratify the deal, it will be forced "to continue on our own without having to consider or report on our contributions to the global response to climate change."
To date, 85 parties accounting for at least 55% of global emissions have already ratified the Paris Agreement.
The deal will enter into force on Tuesday and the first meeting of its parties is set in Marrakech, Morocco on Saturday. The Philippines, having yet to ratify the pact, will only sit as an observer at the Marrakech meeting.
Ramos, in a previous opinion piece, had criticized the performance of the Duterte administration for its first 100 days, but also called for Filipinos to rally behind the firebrand leader in another column.