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Duterte says he will not honor Paris climate deal

The historic Paris climate deal seeks to limit global warming “well below” two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. TOTO LOZANO/PPD
MANILA, Philippines — A historic climate agreement pushed by the previous administration will not be honored by President Rodrigo Duterte, who believes the deal is blocking the progress of developing countries like the Philippines.
 
Duterte claimed that industrialized countries are “dictating the destiny” of developing ones by requiring them to cut carbon emissions. 
 
“We have not reached the age of industrialization. We are going into it. But you are trying to (cite) agreement that will impose limitations on us. We maintain the present emission. That’s stupid,” Duterte said during the sendoff of the Philippine delegation to the Rio Olympics on Monday in Malacañan Palace.
 
“I will not honor that,” he added.
 
Last April, more than 150 countries signed the historic Paris climate deal that seeks to limit global warming “well below” two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. World leaders have also promised to continue efforts to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
 
 
The signatories are also required to step up measures that will stop the increase in greenhouse gas emissions.
 
The Philippines under then President Benigno Aquino III committed to reduce carbon emissions by 70 percent by 2030 even if it is not a major source of greenhouse gases. The Paris agreement, however, does not say what will happen to countries that will fail to meet their emission reduction goals.
 
 
The agreement was crafted during the 21st Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change held in France last December. During the conference, Aquino said the survival of island nations depends on the international community’s commitment to act on climate change and to reduce greenhouse emissions.
 
Duterte said he has expressed his refusal to honor the Paris agreement in a conversation with an ambassador whom he did not name.
 
When the ambassador reminded him that the Philippines signed the Paris deal, Duterte said: “That was not my signature. Somebody else’s, not mine.”
 
“We’ll make a new one or we do not honor (it) at all,” he added.

'Absurd'

Duterte, who vowed to honor international agreements during his inauguration, noted that developed countries harmed the environment while they were undergoing industrialization.
 
“Now that we are about to develop, you (developed countries) will set limits,” the president said.
 
“Kalokohan yan (That’s absurd). So that is how very competitive and that is how very constricted our lives now. It’s being controlled by the world. It’s being imposed upon us by the industrialized countries. They think that they can dictate the destiny of the rest of the nation,” he added.
 
Last May, Duterte said industrialized nations should help developing ones to comply with the Paris agreement by providing financial assistance.
 
“I don’t have (a) problem with that. I will cooperate with whatever it takes to cut emission but look at history,” Duterte said in a press briefing.
 
“They (developed nations) were enjoying the booming (economy) and flooding the air with contaminants. Now that they are rich because of coal and industrialization, we are being asked to cut emission and limit our activities,” he added.
 
“If you have qualms, pay us or give us time to catch up.”
 
Frequent natural calamities have been blamed on climate change, which in turn, has been attributed on greenhouse gas emissions produced by human activities.
 
Some sectors, however, doubt the connection between emissions and climate change and scored what they described as “climate alarmism” that benefits the interests of green technology and renewable energy investors.
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