By Denis McClean
GENEVA, 13 March, 2017 - The Philippines Senate is expected to ratify the Paris Agreement on climate change tomorrow making the Philippines the 135th country to do so following a long advocacy campaign by UNISDR Global Champion for Resilience, Senator Loren Legarda.
Senator Legarda is seeking unanimous approval of the required Resolution at the third reading in the Senate tomorrow. She has been at the forefront of policy advocacy and leadership in the Philippines and has authored various laws on protecting the environment and reducing climate and disaster risk. She authored the Climate Change Act of 2009 which created the country's Climate Change Commission.
The Paris Agreement to limit global warming came into force globally on November 4, 2016. Philippines President Mr. Rodrigo Roa Duterte approved and signed the Instrument of Accession on February 28, 2017. Acceding to the Paris Agreement will let the Philippines play an active role in the negotiations on its implementation.
The Philippines led the advocacy on inclusion of the 1.5⁰C global warming limit in the Paris Agreement on behalf of more than 40 developing countries of the Climate Vulnerable Forum.
The overall aim of the Paris Agreement is to keep global warming well below 2⁰C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5⁰C.
The Philippines pledged to cut its carbon emissions by 70% in Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) in a submission to the United Nations on October 1, 2015 but this is conditional on assistance from the international community.
Aside from reducing carbon emissions, the Philippines is also committed to adaptation and disaster risk reduction measures to fight the impacts of climate change including typhoons and drought. The south-east Asian nation is vulnerable to storms, typhoons, earthquakes, floods, volcanic eruptions, droughts and other natural hazards. At least 60% of the total land area of the country is exposed to multiple hazards, and as a result 74 percent of its population is vulnerable.
Senator Legarda calls on all nations to adhere to the 1.5⁰C goal. "All countries must act fast on this. Apathy and delay in climate action translate to increasing climate vulnerability and disasters, and, therefore, to social injustice," she said.