PH likely to accept Paris agreement on climate change
PARIS — “it doesn’t have everything (we want) but it has everything we need to move forward in dealing with climate change.” That was how the Philippine delegation to the climate negotiations summed up the latest draft of the Paris agreement.
Tony La Viña, delegation spokesperson, said the country, during a G77 meeting, recommended to adopt the agreement, which is set to be approved on Saturday evening (Paris time) without any changes in the text.
“Overall it’s a good package. It deals with all of our concerns,” he said just minutes before entering the venue of the 7th meeting of the Comite de Paris.
He said the delegation studied the text closely. “You know there are many provisions there that we find inadequate. There are provisions there we think are advance. But overall our negotiators say this gives us the tools to advance it further because this is a work in progress,” he said.
La Viña said the negotiating process was difficult but they were thankful for the transparency and fairness of COP21 President Laurent Fabius.
“I have never seen a COP president as fair as this one. Really went out of the way to listen to all the voices. So the French really did a good job,” La Viña said.
Among the big “wins” considered by the Philippine delegation are the provisions on human rights and the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal.
“It’s 1.5 even if it’s kinda diluted. That’s a big win, first time also that the UNFCCC recognized that this is a limit,” La Viña said.
Article 2 of the draft agreement states that Parties should hold “the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.”
As president of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, the Philippines has been pushing for the 1.5 degrees Celsius target.
La Viña said the loss and damage section of the agreement was also based on the formulation of the Philippine delegation.
“So we’re kind of proud,” he said.
As for adaptation finance, La Viña said Philippine negotiators were disappointed that adaptation finance was not thoroughly discussed in the draft agreement.
“I think every group and every country has a problem with this text. That’s a given,” he said. “But see that fight is not over. We can fight that again in June. We can fight it in every COP. Climate finance is a working project. It doesn’t stop with a single agreement.”
La Viña said despite being a work-in-progress, the outcome is “a historic, a landmark agreement.”
“It has climate justice, it has human rights, it’s a big big thing,” he said.
“And so for the first time in 20 years that I’ve been working in climate change I feel that we are turning the corner on the problem,” he said. “This is still not enough but there’s more positive things than negative things. That’s a big difference.”
La Viña’s sentiment was echoed by civil society and activists groups who criticised the agreement but at the same time recognized it as a “turning point” in history.
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