Climate and Environment

Philippines pushes for emissions avoidance in climate deal

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
Philippines pushes for emissions avoidance in climate deal
Philippine negotiator speaks during the informal stocktaking plenary during COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland on November 12, 2021.
Screengrab from UNFCCC livestream

GLASGOW, United Kingdom — As the United Nations climate summit neared its close, the Philippines demanded the concept of emissions avoidance be present in the decision that will be issued at the end of the COP26 negotiations here. 

“Avoidance is a legitimate action in the risk management continuum, which will be cost effective for all of us in the long run in this agreement,” Albert Magalang, a member of the Philippine delegation to COP26, said during a informal stocktaking plenary on Friday. 

This means actions that would prevent greenhouse gases from being released into the atmosphere should be prioritized, instead of merely reducing emissions. 

“It was there in the start of COP26 but surprisingly disappeared in the course of decision text iteration,” he said. 

Rodne Galicha, convenor of Aksyon Klima Pilipinas, said implementing programs to avoid emitting pollution is necessary to make climate finance more available to adaptation, and avert loss and damage.

“It would also weaken the position of fossil fuel corporations, who are angling for greenwash solutions including carbon capture and storage,” he said.

Magalang, who heads the environment department’s Climate Change Information and Technical Support Division, also called on wealthy nations to provide developing nations technologies to help them avoid emitting planet-warming gases. 

“The problem is we don’t have the means, especially finance, to buy these technologies and transform on our own. These technologies don’t reside in the developing world,” he said. 

During COP26, the Philippine delegation, through finance chief Carlos Dominguez, said the country is “moving ahead with urgency” in cutting its greenhouse gas emissions through localized climate change interventions and transition from coal to clean energy. But groups and observers said the measures are not enough. 

Dominguez also called for climate justice and climate finance that would help vulnerable nations bolster their defenses against climate change.  

The climate conference was aimed at keeping the goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the threshold scientists say would avert the worst impacts of global warming. 

COP26 went past its Friday deadline as diplomats worked to write a final decision. 

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