Senate OKs Paris climate pact

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 14 2017 04:39 PM

The Senate on Tuesday approved on third reading its concurrence to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

Voting unanimously 22-0, lawmakers adopted Senate Resolution 320 agreeing to the climate pact, which aims to slash greenhouse gases and keep global temperature to “well below” 2-degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The ratification of the agreement would send a strong signal of the country’s commitment to work with the rest of the world in ensuring mankind’s survival, said Senator Loren Legarda, chair of the Senate Subcommittee on the Paris Agreement, in a statement.

“The Paris Agreement is a vehicle towards achieving climate justice as it compels developed nations…to finance the Green Climate Fund and provide developing and vulnerable nations, like the Philippines, needed support on capacity building and technology transfer,” Legarda said.

She also stressed that programs for the reduction of emissions would be “nationally determined and voluntary.”

President Rodrigo Duterte signed the climate pact 2 weeks ago, after last year expressing misgivings that it favors industrialized nations while hindering the economic development of smaller countries such as the Philippines.

Duterte said he changed his mind last year, after consulting his Cabinet.

"Ako naman, it's a Cabinet decision. I will go along with it, I will sign it," he said at a Palace press conference.

In December 2015, during then-President Benigno Aquino III's term, the Philippines along with nearly 200 countries promised to cut carbon emissions by 70 percent by 2030, even if it is not a major source of greenhouse gas.

Industrialized countries were asked to set aside at least $100 billion annually as financial assistance to developing countries, to enable all nations to be able to leverage renewable energy by 2020.

In a statement, Climate Change Commissioner Manny de Guzman expressed joy at the president’s ratification of the agreement.

"The Philippine delegation’s hard work to lobby the 1.5-degree climate goal during the Paris negotiations has finally paid off. This is a clear articulation of his marching orders for the Climate Change Commission in the succeeding months," he said.

"Not only does this affirm the President’s pronouncement during his first SONA [State of the Nation Address] that climate change is a top priority of this administration, but also his advocacy of championing climate justice for the poorest of our poor."

The signed agreement was submitted to the Senate on March 1.