Philippines' climate body presses state agencies on Paris Accord pledges

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 20 2019 04:18 PM | Updated as of Nov 20 2019 05:36 PM

Climate protesters led by students attempt to set a world record for the human earth formation at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City on Sept. 20, 2019. Joining the students are indigenous people groups, coal-affected communities, coastal villagers and other activists from different parts of the country. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA -- The agency tasked to ensure the Philippines' resilience to climate change on Wednesday prodded state agencies to meet the year-end deadline to submit their pledges in compliance with a global accord to address global warming.

So far, only the Department of Transportation has submitted its pledge to the 2015 Paris Accord, Secretary Emmanuel de Guzman, vice chairman of the Climate Change Commission.

The Paris Accord sought to limit the long-term rise in the average temperature of the Earth to 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels, and if possible, to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

"Naiinip na ang Climate Change Commission dahil nga ang tagal mag-submit ng ahensya," De Guzman said, adding the pledges would be consolidated.

The pledges will identify areas for investment in "greening our economic sectors," he said. Aside from the Department of Transportation, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Department of Agriculture are also required to participate in the Nationally Determined Contributions or NDC.

(The Climate Change Commission is running out of patience because agencies are taking too long.)

Climate protests were staged worldwide last October, as countries grappled with the realities of strong typhoons and sea level rise. Last week, much of Venice was underwater after the highest tide in half a century ripped through the historic Italian city.

De Guzman said he sought the help of Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles to follow up on the agencies for their pledges.

He said the delay could be due to climate modeling required for agriculture, waste, industries, transport, forestry and energy.

"It takes some time. We also updated the premises for the modeling. We updated the projection for population growth and we set it to the highest desired economic growth," he said.

The Philippines in 2015 pledged to reduce emissions by 70 percent by 2030, dependent on conditional financial support from developed countries.

The Philippines has been criticized in the past for climate measures that supposedly lack urgency and for its continued reliance on coal for power, which will most likely be phased out after 2060, two decades later than the target for Southeast Asia.

De Guzman said he was hoping that the Philippines' pledges would be ready in time for the climate negotiations this December in Madrid.

The Philippine delegation to Madrid could include a Climate Change Commissioner and legislators, he said.

In September, the Philippine government was unable to send a high-level delegation to the United Nations Climate Action Summit following pronouncements by President Rodrigo Duterte and Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. to stop unnecessary official travels.