Loren pushes quick OK of climate pact
CITING the urgency of action, Sen. Loren Legarda has pledged to push the Philippines and other vulnerable nations to ratify immediately the recently signed Paris agreement on climate change, assuring that the country is on track toward fulfilling its commitment to cut carbon emissions and ease global warming.
Addressing a high-level meeting at UN Headquarters in New York, Legarda, an environmental warrior in and out of the Senate, said she would “rally” the Philippine government to affirm the climate pact with dispatch, because the world could no longer afford a delay.
“We will muster all the energy and resources within our means, sustain advocacy at the grassroots level, and rally the executive and legislative branches of the government, as well as local government units… so the Philippines would be true to its commitment in Paris,” Legarda said in her remarks on Friday (Saturday in Manila).
World leaders signed the climate pact at the United Nations on Earth Day on Friday, with Environment Secretary Ramon Paje signing on behalf of the Philippines.
Legarda, cohead of the Philippine delegation, said at least 15 countries had ratified, or affirmed their consent to, the pact in their parliaments.
“On my return to the Philippines, I will rally my colleagues in the Senate to act on our ratification of the agreement,” Legarda said at the UN meeting.
Fiji, Palau and the Marshall Islands in the Pacific, and Maldives in the Indian Ocean, were among the first nations to ratify the climate pact.
“We cannot afford delays in carrying out our commitments because the more we stall, the faster we will reach the dangerous 2 degrees Celsius mark,” she said.
The temperature rise would cause a 20-percent decline in water availability; a 15- to 20-percent decrease in crop yield; sea-level rise of 70 centimeters; increased acidification of the oceans, and reduced fish farm yield by 90 percent, among other disasters.
After negotiations failed in previous years, the Paris agreement was finally signed in December. It binds 195 UN member nations to cut down on their carbon emissions and contain global warming to under 2 degrees Celsius, a critical point past which the rise in the earth’s temperature would become irreversible.
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