Government, private sector vow to act on climate change promises

Jasmin Romero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 22 2022 02:28 AM

The Philippine government and the private sector have signed a “statement of commitment” vowing to turn their “climate climate commitments into actions” during the 15th Annual Global Warming and Climate Change Consciousness Week.

“We recognize that the failure to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and strengthened adaptive capacities of our communities and industries will result in loss and damage, biodiversity loss and economic instability," Climate Change Commission Commissioner Albert De la Cruz said, reading part of the statement.

“We pledged to deploy innovative invention interventions that will have sustainable positive impacts all supply chains and value chains. We are committed to accelerate just transitions from coal and to support low carbon strategy policies and programs in parallel with Philippine government goal of attaining a climate smart and climate resilient Philippines,” he added.

THE PHILIPPINE SITUATION

With an average of 20 typhoons per year costing in billions of lost properties and loss of lives, the Philippines has ranked as the most vulnerable country to climate change based on the World Risk Index, making actions leaning towards reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and reducing global warming imperative to curtail further losses.

“World Bank launched its pioneering country climate and development report for the Philippines and it revealed the startling figures that on a business as usual scenario climate changes will cause losses equivalent to 7.6% of GDP by 2030 and 13.6% of GDP by 2040,” British Ambassador to the Philippines Laure Baufils said.

Baufils added: "Almost 15% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) could be wiped out by climate change if we do not adapt ad adapt fast”.

Financing climate change initiatives have become essential in mitigating its effects.

“UK international climate Finance Report has found that every pound of investment spent on climate-related risk reduction can save up to 50 pounds in avoided disaster impacts. Investing in adaptation now makes financial an economic sense. The UK knows this and knows now is the time to invest in addressing the climate crisis,” Baufils said.

FINANCING

In order to set climate initiatives in action, the DENR stressed the importance of financing environmental initiatives.

“In order to reduce GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions however, more investments are still needed if we are to make transformative strides to achieve climate resilient development, the choices and decisions we make today will determine the future we want. We must all recognize that we have a critical opportunity to invest in resilience which is vital not just to our country's development but to our planets very survival,” Loyzaga added.

The Department of Finance said it is “looking into different layers of insurance strategies as means for recovery”.

“We also need to invest in adaptation to minimize the risk of disasters in the long run therefore we must urgently increase the availability of adaptation and resilience finance particularly for sustainable and climate resilient infrastructure to ensure that we have the fiscal space to address these challenges,” Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno said in a recorded message.

Some business owners believe they should be “strengthened” to enable them to maintain their sustainable practices.

“It's very hard to look for financing, even if you know what to do at the end the bigger financials will always come through the banks and we go through the traditional formats,” Co-Founder of ECHOStore Sustainable Lifestyle Jeannie Javelosa said.

One of the ways the government can encourage sustainable operations of the private sector is to use incentives.

“The government can incentivize businesses and households and individuals to use clean alternatives. And then government can invest the revenue.. to support green recovery and growth,” Senior Climate Change Specialist of the World Bank Group Taisei Matsuki said.

Meanwhile, Congress is looking into legislative measures to boost the country’s efforts against climate change.

“We would like also to highlight two major legislations that we are trying to craft in Congress today: one is on the rights of nature. Nature has the rights and they should be protected both by the state and the people. And the other of course is to make sure that we are able to put in place a framework for loss and damage in the country,” House Committee on Climate Change Chairperson Rep. Robert Chatto said.

“This will need a lot of consultations from different sectors of society precisely because once passed, this will be the first in the whole world,” Chatto added.

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