Duterte lauded for ‘articulating what’s wrong with climate talks’
An environmental group on Tuesday lauded the stand of President Rodrigo Duterte on the historic Paris agreement on climate change, saying it pointed out “what’s wrong” in climate change talks.
The Center for Environment Concerns-Philippines (CEC) noted that the international treaty had been criticized for “watering down principles of common but differentiated responsibility, as a result putting big pressures on developing countries.”
“Spoken like the child in the tale, ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes,’ President Duterte articulated, albeit so strongly, what is wrong with the climate change talks, Paris Agreement included,” said CEC executive director Frances Quimpo.
“After years and years of diplomatic negotiations, the whole world has yet to see a legally binding agreement that matches the ambition that science, the planet and the people have been demanding in order to effectively address the climate crisis,” he added.
Quimpo noted that Duterte was the first Philippine president to assert the country’s right to “emission space” in pursuit of its right to develop.
Duterte on Monday said the government would not honor the Paris climate pact as it would only limit the country’s industrial growth, calling it “stupid” and “absurd.” The international treaty was signed by countries that participated in the 21st Conference of Parties in France, including the Philippines.
During the send-off ceremonies for Filipino athletes in Malacañang, the President recalled how a foreign ambassador reminded him of the Philippines’ commitment to limit its carbon emissions.
“I said, ‘No. I cannot tell … You don’t do it that way, Mr. Ambassador. [Your country] has reached the apex [of industrialization] and along the way put a lot of contaminants and emissions, and went ahead in destroying the climate,’” Duterte recalled saying.
“We have not reached the age of industrialization. We’re now going into it. But you are trying to stymie [our growth] with an agreement that says you can only go up to here … That’s stupid. I will not honor that,” he added.
CEC welcomed Duterte’s plan for national industrialization, saying it would maximize human and natural resources for national development “instead of just feeding the international market.” But Quimpo said industrialization should be done without using coal and other dirty energy sources.
“We call on President Duterte to lead the country to building national industries but we also call for concrete mechanisms on addressing climate change, especially establishing genuine disaster risk reduction and management mechanisms, climate change adaptation and mitigation that would increase resiliency of the people and their communities,” Quimpo added.
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