Immediate adherence to Paris climate pact urged following Senate vote

Originally published in GMA News Online

Various environmental groups lauded the Philippine Senate's unanimous concurrence to ratify the Paris Climate Agreement on Tuesday, March 14, but urged the government to immediately bring the country in line with the deal's terms.

"We urge the Duterte administration to sustain its leadership and partnership with the 48-member Climate Vulnerable Forum," said Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities executive director Renato Redentor Constantino in a press statement.

"Together, vulnerable countries will (not only) learn faster but (will) also exert a far stronger voice calling on high-emitting countries to do their fair share of climate action," he added.

The stand was echoed by the local arm of the Climate Reality Project, an international initiative founded by Nobel Laureate and former US vice president Al Gore.

"The Paris Agreement is incredibly important... as deadly typhoons become more frequent and dangerous sea level rise continues to threaten Filipino families and their abilities to live happy, healthy, and comfortable lives. The government must do all it can to protect this most basic right," said  Rodne Galicha, the Climate Reality Project's branch manager for the Philippines, in a separate statement.

"The Philippines now has a chance to show the world that although our carbon emissions may seem insignificant, we, along with other vulnerable and developing countries, are ready to lead the way to curb climate change," enjoined Dakila Philippines' Climate Director, Renée Karunungan.

"We expect the (Philippine) government to ensure the country's transition from dirty energy such as coal to clean and renewable energy... We also expect that climate change adaptation will be one of its priorities," she underscored.

Senate Resolution No. 320 was passed unanimously with a 22-0 vote on Tuesday, the last hurdle to the Philippines' complete accession to the Paris Agreement, according to Sen. Loren Legarda.

Legarda said that acceding to the Paris agreement will enable the Philippines to access international climate finance mechanisms and to receive support from developed countries.

"The industrialized countries—those that have contributed the most to global warming—must lead and shoulder the far greater burden of acting faster, sooner, and with far greater accountability to our environment," she said.

As chair of the Climate Vulnerable Forum in Paris in December 2015, the Philippines played a key role in drafting the Paris Agreement.

The agreement seeks to limit the global temperature increase to no more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. — GMA News