MANILA, 6 February 2017-– The policy group Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC) lauded the Senate’s leadership in the ratification of the Paris Agreement, backing President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision for the Senate to better oversee the government’s climate policy.
“Now is not the time for cowardice. Political and policy timidity in the face of threats and opportunities arising from the climate crisis is shameful. We hope the Senate can provide a sense of purpose – and the calcium currently lacking in some offices of the executive – by taking seriously the request of President Duterte to inject better leadership in the Climate Change Commission,” said Renato Redentor Constantino, ICSC executive director, in a position paper  he read in today’s Senate hearing on the ratification of the global climate deal.
“The ratification is a done deal. It will be transmitted by the [Office of the President] to the Senate,” assured Senator Loren Legarda, chair of the climate change committee.
The Paris Agreement was adopted in December 2015 and entered into force last November. As of this writing, 128 countries have ratified the historic climate deal to limit global warming to up to 1.5 degrees Celsius, a target which was successfully incorporated in the text through a broad campaign championed by the then-Philippine-led CVF. Yet Constantino said that the Climate Change Commission seems to have abandoned not only the 1.5 limit but also the national energy policy review.
“Vulnerable countries such as ours see the 1.5°C target as a development opportunity rather than a threat. A report co-published by the United Nations Development Programme clearly shows that striving to keep within this limit actually triggers economic growth, creates jobs, improves energy access and public health and helps minimize critical climate risks,” he added.
Constantino also encouraged the government to assert its climate change leadership as chair of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean). The President himself has identified resilience as one of Asean’s priorities this year, yet of the ten Asean country members, only the Philippines, Cambodia and Myanmar have yet to ratify the deal.
“With his entire cabinet now fully behind the Paris Agreement, President Duterte must not waste any more time in signing it and sending it to the Senate for concurrence. And the Senate must also be ready to shepherd the climate deal fast enough to give our country the platform it needs to lead Southeast Asia’s climate action agenda when Asean finally convenes,” he further remarked.
NOTES TO THE EDITOR
The Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities is a policy group in the Philippines promoting low-carbon development strategies, sustainable energy solutions and fair climate policy in vulnerable countries.
- Denise Fontanilla, Climate Policy Coordinator, +63 917 851 4890, firstname.lastname@example.org