Foreign Affairs chief says PH won’t send delegation to climate change talks


Posted at Jun 05 2019 02:25 PM | Updated as of Jun 05 2019 02:42 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) - Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Wednesday said he would reject "all official participation" in climate change conferences that would require air travel. 

The top diplomat's pronouncement comes days after President Rodrigo Duterte lamented the lack of accountability for big countries contributing to pollution.

"Following Duterte's answer to UN's plea for yet another stronger stand against climate change—which he branded as more hot air—I am rejecting all official participation in climate change conferences requiring air travel," Locsin told his 647,000 Twitter followers.

"We'll just vote Yes to radical proposals. No more talk," he added. 
Manila is a party to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which aims to slash greenhouse gases and keep global temperature increases to "well below" 2 degrees Celsius.

Under the accord, the Philippines promised to cut carbon emissions by 70 percent by year 2030, even if the country is not a major emitter.

The President earlier expressed misgivings about the climate pact, saying it favored industrialized countries. 

On Friday, he also lamented the effects of climate change on developing countries like the Philippines, saying it affects the "poorest of our poor" the most. 

"Vulnerabilities are not equally shared by all nations. Developing countries that have contributed the least of global warming, like my country, the Philippines, suffers the most from this horrendous consequences,” he said in his keynote address at the 25th International Conference on the Future of Asia in Tokyo. 
“Year in, year out, we suffer double when typhoons strike. The poorest of our poor bear the brunt of damage, becoming even poorer in the aftermath. Government with limited resources and capabilities have to contend with a spiral of suffering on top of the urgent development priorities,” he said.

Locsin's statement is "consistent with the President’s pronouncement on climate change," his spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a text message. 

The Philippines is among nations most vulnerable to climate change. It constantly deals with heavy monsoon rains and is battered by an average of 20 typhoons per year.