FORMER President Fidel V. Ramos on Sunday urged President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration to approve and ratify the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, saying that any further delays would make Filipinos more vulnerable to the effects of typhoons.
“With the Philippines not having yet ratified the Paris Agreement, we can only be observers in the Marrakech Meeting. Therefore, President [Duterte] should forthwith approve the Paris Agreement and certify it for Senate ratification to promote our country’s interests and fight for climate justice,” Ramos said.
“Any further delay will increase Filipinos’ vulnerability to super-typhoons that are forecast to come soon…,” Ramos said in a column for a national newspaper.
Ramos warned Duterte that he was “shooting himself in the mouth” when he insulted the United States, the European Union and the United Nations and complained against the December 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which was drafted by 195 nations, including the Philippines.
Ramos noted that under the agreement, wealth countries are supposed to set aside at least $100 billion yearly as financial assistance to developing countries starting 2020 to enable all countries to develop and use renewable energy sources. This allocation is expected to increase with time, he added.
But since assuming the presidency on June 30, Dutere has done little to move the Paris Agreement forward, Ramos said.
Ramos said the President is correct in saying that developed countries that are responsible for most of the carbon emissions should carry the heavier burden of limiting such emissions, but it is clear enough that the Paris Agreement does not impose emission reductions on the Philippines.
Should any country decide to become a party to the agreement, it will only be asked to submit its nationally determined contributions, which are essentially successive five-year climate plans that can be determined by the Philippines, according to its national circumstances, development goals, and domestic capacity, said Ramos.
The Paris Agreement also does not have to counter or reduce the Philippines’ industrialization plans. It, in fact, recognizes that developing countries can peak their emissions at a later time, as they pursue sustainable development and poverty eradication according to their respective national plans, Ramos said.
“Ratifying the Paris Agreement will allow the Philippines to participate in the global effort to address climate change and advance the interests of our country and our people, as one of the most vulnerable to climate change. It will also enable us to secure more investments towards our climate goals and gain access to the financial, technological, and capacity-building support to be provided to parties of the Agreement,” said Ramos.
“Not ratifying the Paris Agreement, on the other hand, will force us to continue on our own without having to consider or report on our contributions to the global response to climate change. Note, however, that our country has spent an average of 0.5 percent of its GDP per year for the past 25 years for ‘losses and damages;’ so we are, in effect, already paying for the impact of climate change to which we have contributed very little,” Ramos added.
To date, 85 (out of 197) parties accounting for at least 55 percent of global emissions have already ratified the Paris Agreement, which will enter into force on Nov. 4.