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Climate and Environment

Duterte hopes next admin will do better to address climate change

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
Duterte hopes next admin will do better to address climate change
An aerial view shows destroyed houses on a collapsed mountain side along the coastline in the village of Pilar, Abuyog town, Leyte province on April 14, 2022 day after a landslide struck the village due to heavy rains at the height of tropical Storm Megi.
AFP/Bobbie Alota

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte, whose term in the country’s top office is coming to an end, expressed hope that the next administration will do better in the fight against climate change.

“I hope that the next administration would—mas maganda ang ano nila, the preparation or whatever efforts that would contribute to, at least, remedy the situation,” Duterte said in a briefing aired late Monday.

(I hope the next administration—they have better preparations or whatever efforts that would contribute to, at least, remedy the situation.)

The Philippines is one of the most vulnerable countries to the impacts of human-induced climate change such as stronger cyclones, rising seas and flooding.

Climate campaigners have been calling on presidential candidates to present strategies to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change as the winner in the May polls will lead the country during the crucial window to address the crisis.

In 2017, Duterte signed the Paris Agreement—which seeks to limit global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels—after previously threatening that he would not honor the accord.

The Duterte administration announced in 2020 it would no longer accept proposals to build new coal power plants, but the moratorium does not include previously approved projects that are already in the pipeline.

Last year, the government committed to slash the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by 75% by 2030. Only 2.71% of the target is unconditional, which means it will be undertaken without international funding and assistance.

The Duterte administration, however, has been criticized for allowing ecologically destructive and polluting projects such as mining and land reclamation to push through.

“I leave it I said to the next administration I know they can do better than me,” Duterte said partly in Filipino.

‘Pay for climate-induced damages’

After visiting areas hit by Tropical Storm Agaton (Megi), Duterte said the top emitters of planet-warming greenhouse gases should compensate the Philippines for damages resulting from climate hazards.

The slow-moving Agaton triggered landslides and floods when it struck parts of eastern Philippines last week. It affected half a million families and left at least 172 people dead.

“Dapat ang mga mayamang [bansa] na hindi tinatamaan ng destruction caused by itong pollution, bayaran nila tayo for the damage,” the chief executive said.

(Wealthy countries that are not affected by the destruction caused by this pollution should pay us for the damages.)

In COP26 climate talks last year, developed nations blocked the establishment of a funding facility that will help vulnerable countries cope with losses and damages from climate change impacts. They opted to initiate a “dialogue” on the topic in future talks.

The Philippines is also consistent in asking rich nations to fulfill their financing commitment to help developing countries adapt to and mitigate the devastating impacts of climate change.

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