Climate action

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EDITORIAL

The Climate Change Commission made the call for cooperation and action on the finalization of the country’s climate action plan – a process hampered by the coronavirus pandemic – following President Duterte’s statement at the United Nations General Assembly urging countries to honor their climate commitments and fight the climate crisis with the same urgency as COVID-19.

“We call for greater cooperation and action on the finalization of the country’s first Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC),” said the CCC, the government’s lead policymaking body tasked to coordinate and evaluate programs and action plans on climate change.

NDCs are climate action plans of countries that are parties to the 2015 Paris Agreement, which calls for limiting global warming at well below 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels while pursuing efforts for a tougher ceiling of 1.5 degrees C. It reflects the ambitions of nations for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and are submitted every five years to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change secretariat.

The Philippine submission in 2015 committed to cut by 70 percent its carbon emissions by 2030. The emission reduction target was conditional on assistance from the international community.

The pandemic has made the painstaking process of NDC formulation more difficult but the sooner we submit, the sooner we can unlock new sources of climate finance that will enable us to advance rapidly the implementation of climate change adaptation and mitigation programs in our country, Climate commissioner Rachel Anne Herrera said.

In his first speech at the UN General Assembly, President Duterte called on world leaders “especially those who have not made good their commitment to fight climate change to honor the same.” However, environmental groups like Greenpeace Philippines are not impressed until
Duterte follows up on his declaration with concrete actions such as the declaration of a climate emergency and make climate action a government priority.

Since our government is resigned to waiting for a vaccine as its ultimate solution to the coronavirus pandemic, the bright side is there may actually be time and resources to fulfill our obligations to climate action, especially if our government’s best and brightest give it their attention.

If our president and his team can follow up on the declarations he made at the UN General Assembly and not make COVID-19 an excuse, our country can still achieve many other important matters that affect the nation’s future whilst waiting for a vaccine.*

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