Duterte presses rich countries on carbon emission financing

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Incoming president Rodrigo Duterte expressed his readiness to comply with international agreements on reducing carbon emissions but he maintained that rich nations should also provide funds to enable developing countries’ compliance.

Duterte said developed nations have mainly caused pollution during the Industrial Age and they are now asking poor countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“I don’t have problem with that. I will cooperate with whatever it takes to cut emissions, but look at history. They (rich 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 emissions and limit our activities?” he told a press briefing last Wednesday.  

“If you have qualms, pay us or give us time to catch up.”

Duterte said the emissions in the country were caused partly by hand-me-down equipment from other countries.

“They filled the atmosphere (with pollution). Now that they have advanced technology, they are constraining (our activities),” he added.

Frequent natural disasters have been attributed to climate change, which in turn has been blamed on carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions produced by human activities.

Some sectors, however, doubt the link between emissions and climate change and criticized what they called “climate alarmism” that benefits the interests of green technology and renewable energy investors.

The burning of fossil fuels like coal pollutes the atmosphere and warms the planet that triggers the greenhouse effect.

While the Philippines is vulnerable to disasters, coal makes up about 29 percent of the country’s power supply while oil cornered 23 percent, hydroelectric and natural gas constitute 18 percent and 14 percent, respectively, while geothermal accounted for 10 percent of the mix. Waste heat accounted for four percent while solar, wind and biomass only comprised two percent.

Last month, more than 150 countries signed the historic Paris climate agreement, which aims to limit global warming well below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

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