Climate body calls for action on finalization of Philippines' climate plans
In this file photo, motorists wade through a flooded highway, caused by heavy rains due to typhoon Phanfone, in Ormoc City, Leyte province in central Philippines on December 25, 2019.
AFP/Ronald Frank Dejon
Climate body calls for action on finalization of Philippines' climate plans
Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) - September 24, 2020 - 4:26pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Climate Change Commission called for cooperation and action on the finalization of the country’s climate action plan—a process hampered by the coronavirus pandemic.

The CCC made the call Thursday following President Rodrigo 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 policy making 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°C above pre-industrial levels while pursuing efforts for a tougher ceiling of 1.5°C.

NDCs reflect 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.

In 2015, the Philippines, in its submission under the Paris accord, had committed to cut by 70% its carbon emissions by 2030. The emission reduction target was conditional on assistance from the international community.

Studies, however, found that emission reduction targets submitted by countries put the world on track for warming of 2.7 to 3.7°C, far above the Paris climate goals. 

Climate commissioner Rachel Anne Herrera earlier told Philstar.com that the “pandemic has certainly made this painstaking process of NDC formulation more difficult to do.” 

“The sooner we submit our NDC, 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,” the CCC said.

‘Heed science’

In his first speech at the UN General Assembly, Duterte called on world leaders “especially those who have not made good their commitment to fight climate change to honor the same.”

But for environmental group Greenpeace Philippines, the president must follow up on this declaration with concrete actions: declare a climate emergency and make climate action a government priority. 

The climate commission said honoring the 1.5°C temperature goals would enable better support to build resilience for developing countries that bear the brunt of the climate crisis such as the Philippines and bring climate justice to the fore.

“We call on our leaders to heed science and let it inform the country’s national and local development plans to ensure strong risk governance and sustainable development at all levels. This must go hand-in-hand with the full implementation of our environmental and climate change laws,” the CCC said.

“We urged our policymakers to create an enabling environment that would decouple economic growth from the endless extraction and misuse of natural resources, including the development of policies that will drive innovations in energy, transportation and manufacturing systems,” it added.

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