ICSC calls for unified cabinet action on climate change

Manila, 4 Nov 2016 – The Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC) today called on members of the Duterte Cabinet to present a unified front in climate action as the Philippine delegation prepares to join the UN climate negotiations in Morocco on Monday. The Paris Climate Agreement comes into force today after being ratified by more that 90 countries already.

The Department of Foreign Affairs endorsed the ratification of the Climate Agreement after a day-long cabinet meeting yesterday, joining a large majority among cabinet members key to climate action. National Economic and Development Authority Secretary Ernesto Pernia earlier assured President Duterte that ratification will not impede economic development. Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Mike Sueño, Department of National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. have also given their nod.

The Philippines is one of the most influential voices in global climate negotiations but has yet to ratify the Climate Pact. The Philippines led a group of over 40 climate-vulnerable countries in successfully demanding that high-emitting countries like China and the US agree to limit warming to below 1.5C at the Paris climate negotiations last year.

“The government should present a unified front and join the global fight for climate justice. By ratifying the Paris Climate Agreement, the Philippines will maintain its voice of leadership and use the upcoming negotiations as a platform to seek far more urgent climate action,” said Renato Redentor Constantino, Executive Director of ICSC.

The Climate Change Commission has warned that sea level rise in the Philippines is projected to be three times that of the global average if global warming continues unabated. Developing countries face up to 10% loss in annual GDP as warming temperatures drastically reduce productivity of labor by mid-century, according to the International Labor Organization.

“Climate action will spur economy-wide job creation as urban services, food supply, roads and highways, sea ports and coastal infrastructure are upgraded to make them more resilient to expected climate change impacts. Climate change is more than just one sector, though a managed transition to a low carbon energy strategy also means clean power is able to generate more employment even as it re-tools and absorbs thermal sector workers who might be displaced,” Constantino said.

As the Philippines takes on ASEAN chairmanship next year, the government should collaborate with other Southeast Asian countries in calling for stronger climate action. Vietnam, for example, is still suffering from its worst drought in more than 100 years that has ravaged rice and cashew production in the Mekong Delta.

“The Philippines and ASEAN can also partner with Japan and China to scale up investments towards a modern green economy. Both have the technological and financial prowess to help transform the economies of Southeast Asia,” Constantino said.

The Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities is a policy group in the Philippines promoting low-carbon development initiatives, sustainable energy solutions and fair climate policy in vulnerable countries.

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