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‘Be part of solution to climate change’

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star
�Be part of solution to climate change�
Malacañang Palace, as viewed from the other side of the Pasig River, leads the Philippine observance of Earth Hour yesterday. President Marcos called on the entire nation to switch off non-essential lights from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. to allow Mother Nature 60 minutes to breathe and help mitigate the devastating effects of climate change.
STAR / File

Marcos urges Pinoys to help Earth breathe, heal anew

MANILA, Philippines — President Marcos urged Filipinos yesterday to be part of the solution to climate change and to join efforts to protect the environment as the world observed Earth Hour.

In a video message, Marcos said the annual Earth Hour invites everyone to learn more about climate change, which he described as the world’s biggest environmental challenge.

The activity, which encourages individuals, communities and businesses to turn off non-essential electric lights for one hour, would benefit the planet and would help the government enforce action plans, he added.

“At this hour, let us stop, slow down and dedicate the moment to help the Earth breath and heal anew. May this shared activity remind everyone that environmental preservation is an intergenerational responsibility and that it should become our individual and collective priority in the pursuit of progress and prosperity,” the President said.

“Let us become part of the solution and embark on advocacies, programs and initiatives that will help us protect and preserve the earth – our only home,” he added.

In a video posted on Instagram, Marcos noted that the Philippines is hit with an average of 20 typhoons annually, making it one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change. He said switching off lights would give Mother Nature “60 minutes to breathe.”

“As the Earth’s temperature gets warmer, with the world’s carbon footprint reaching a new all-time high of 36.8 gigatons in 2022, the world braces for the irreversible impact of climate change,” the Chief Executive said.

“It only takes 60 minutes to do good for our future, 60 minutes to take notice and commit to saving Mother Nature, to be united and take action. Because together, nothing is impossible,” he added.

Marcos’ Instagram video showed lights in Malacañang being switched off in support of Earth Hour. The event, which was held from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. yesterday, was organized by the World Wildlife Fund.

Campaign

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga vowed that her department will continue leading the campaign to minimize the impact of climate change and fulfill the country’s climate commitments.

“The DENR will continue to do our part in leading and accelerating climate action and in enhancing the integrity of ecosystems,” Loyzaga said.

Marcos, who chairs the Climate Change Commission, had designated Loyzaga as his representative in the lead policy-making government body on climate change.

“As the designated representative of the President to the Commission, we will focus on accelerating and completing the work that has been long outstanding for us to deliver on our international commitments,” Loyzaga said.

Among these commitments are the national greenhouse gas inventory; the national adaptation plan and its financial plan; the national determined contribution implementation plan and the local climate change action plans of local government units.

“The DENR is naturally at the forefront of climate action due to our mandate of conserving, protecting, managing, restoring and regenerating our country’s environment and natural resources. The Philippines is also increasingly becoming a model in the region for our whole-of-society approach in disaster risk reduction and climate action,” the DENR secretary said.

She added that the country needs to have ecosystems-based, ridge-to-reef approaches that can enhance ecosystems, prevent disasters and mitigate the impacts of hazards.

“We must explore how nature-based solutions can address the food-water-energy security outcomes we aim to achieve,” Loyzaga said.

She said several climate plans are in place to accelerate and complete the work of delivering the country’s international commitments.

The Philippines submitted its national determined contribution to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in April 2021, pledging a projected reduction and avoidance of greenhouse gas emissions of 75 percent for the period of 2020 to 2030, of which 2.71 percent is unconditional and 72.29 percent is conditional.

The Cabinet Cluster on Climate Change Adaptation, Mitigation and Disaster Risk Reduction, chaired by the DENR, also adopted a resolution in January 2021 on the phaseout of single-use plastics.

Loyzaga said the resolution further strengthens the Philippine Action Plan for Sustainable Consumption and Production, and supports the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal No. 12 on Responsible Consumption and Production.

“Through the newly enacted Republic Act 11898 or the Extended Producer Responsibility Act of 2022 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations, the country is gradually transitioning to a circular economy where plastic waste reduction, recovery and recycling in the private sector will be scaled up,” she said.

The World Risk Index 2022, developed by the UN University Institute for Environment and Human Security, ranked the Philippines first among 193 countries in terms of exposure to natural hazards. — Bella Cariaso

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