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Dismayed by Doha talks outcome, climate experts say Filipinos are on their own

SHAIRA PANELA for GMA NEWS

December 11, 2012 – The recently concluded Doha Climate Change Conference failed to meet the expectations of the countries most exposed to the consequences of climate change, an environmental activist network said Tuesday.

Aksyon Klima, a consortium of about 40 civic action groups working to promote solutions to climate change impact, conducted a press briefing in Quezon City on the outcome of the conference, which was held in Qatar from Nov. 26 to Dec. 8.

One of the issues raised during the press briefing was that the deal resulting from the conference, called the “Doha Climate Gateway,” would allow developed countries to get away without pledging to cut their emissions, or compensating developing countries for the climate change impacts as a consequence.

And less than four weeks before the end of the Kyoto Protocol’s first period of commitments, some countries—including the United States, China and Canada, the only country to reject the first protocol—walked out of discussions on the second period.

The Kyoto Protocol, adopted in 1997, is the only legally binding international agreement compelling developed countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to an average of 5 percent against 1990 levels from 2008 to 2012.

“Hindi ito ang inaasahan nating response mula sa international convention,” said Elenita Daño, program manager of Action Group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration, a member of Aksyon Klima.

“Sa Doha, hindi lang hypocrisy, ang kakapal ng mukha, sa totoo lang,” Daño also said.

Climate Change Commission Commissioner Naderev Saño, who attended

the Doha talks, said at the press conference that the Kyoto Protocol only intends to make the developed countries accountable for their contribution to current emission levels, one of the factors contributing to climate change.

The Philippines, said Saño, has only contributed less than one percent of the total greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, and yet is one of the most vulnerable to climate change impact.

“Ang usapin ng klima ay usapin ng lahat ng bansa,” Daño said.

“It’s not that we can no longer rely on international processes. It’s just that hindi tayo dapat umasa sa global process per se,” said Red Constantino, executive director of the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities.

“We should act as if we’re on our own. The sooner that we can get our act together, the better,” Constantino added.

Saño also said that at least the Philippines has been actively making moves to adapt to climate change. He cited the enactment of Climate Change Act of 2009 (Republic Act 9729) and the establishment of the Climate Change Commission.

Constantino mentioned another alternative: the People’s Survival Fund (PSF) Law or Republic Act No. 10174.

The PSF is an annual, P1-billion special fund that may come either from the General Appropriations Act or from foreign

assistance to finance climate change adaptation programs and projects based on the Philippines’ National Strategic Framework on Climate Change.

“Public fund is not the solution for everything, but it’s a step toward the right direction,” said Saño. — BM/HS, GMA News

Photo by Kairos dela Cruz/iCSC.

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