MANILA — A conservation group on Tuesday urged the Philippine government to take "urgent, concrete" steps to fulfill its commitments and pledges made at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) summit in Glasgow that ended more than a week ago.
The World Wide Fund for Nature Philippines, in a statement, said that COP26 may have ended "on a disappointing note" for falling short of what experts believe is needed to contain dangerous temperature rises, but the Philippines is "moving in the right direction."
The country was among more than 40 countries at COP26 that committed to shift away from the world’s dirtiest fossil fuel as part of efforts to put the "end of coal in sight."
“What is essential to watch for now are the concrete steps Philippine government officials will take,” said Angela Ibay, head of WWF-Philippines Climate and Energy.
The WWF called on Filipino officials to take the following steps to fulfill the country's commitments in COP26:
- Accelerate clean and just energy transition through more renewable energy sources and energy efficiency use
- Undertake enhanced implementation of the Philippine Nationally Determined Contribution and ensure the national budget supports climate actions
- Implement executive measures and policies that integrate sustainability in systems that provide basic needs
- Strictly enforce actions to stop nature loss, scale-up restoration, and integrate the value of nature in national plans
- Use effective leadership to get LGUs, private sector, and all stakeholders to apply solutions towards climate resilience, environmental protection, and sustainable development
"Most Filipinos are already suffering from the climate crisis, but that doesn't mean the situation is hopeless. This is the fight for our survival and for the planet. And we need to win. Whatever it takes,” Ibay said.
Climate groups Greenpeace Philippines and Aksyon Klima Pilipinas earlier slammed Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, who signed on behalf of the Philippines, for only endorsing two clauses of the COP26 to phase out coal power, specifically rapidly scaling up deployment of clean power generation; and making a just transition away from coal power in a way that benefits workers and communities.
Cusi did not sign the two other goals, which are phasing out coal power in economies in the 2030s for major economies and 2040s for the rest of the world; and ending all investment in new coal power generation domestically and internationally.
WWF called on the Philippines to address global warming to "make it clear now what direction the country is heading to protect nature and people from the worst effects of climate change."
“With the elections and a change of administration coming next year, our leaders should not put off addressing the climate crisis for later anymore," Ibay said.
President Rodrigo Duterte, who is stepping down in 2022 after his six-year term, has urged major economies to help developing countries like the Philippines to address the consequences of climate change.
During the virtual 2021 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Advisory Council Dialogue with Economic Leaders, he said emergent nations need to pull all stops in fighting global warming, such as climate finance, technology transfer and development, and capacity-building.
He also urged rich countries to fulfill their pledges to climate efforts.