March 8, 2017
Opening Statement of Senator Loren Legarda
Good afternoon and welcome to this hearing of the Committee on Foreign Relations - Subcommittee on the Paris Agreement. I would like to express my gratitude for your presence.
On December 12, 2015, 196 parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change adopted the Paris Agreement. The Agreement primarily aims to limit global temperature rise to "well below 2 degrees Celsius and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels."
On April 22, 2016, at least 175 countries, the Philippines included, formally signed the Agreement at the United Nations Headquarters.
To enter into force, the Agreement required ratification by at least 55 nations representing 55 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. This threshold was reached on October 5, 2016, and one month later, the Agreement took effect. As of today, 133 nations have ratified.
While the 1.5 degrees global warming limit is an aspirational goal, climate vulnerable countries like the Philippines have set it as a minimum deliverable--it is a matter of survival.
The uncertainty of our future due to climate change impacts--on rising frequency of natural hazards, on increased vulnerability to disasters, on losses to agricultural production, on the threat to food security, on health--is the very reason why we have been actively participating in the climate negotiations. The Philippines, as chair of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) during the Paris climate talks last December 2015, was among the most influential in the crafting of the Paris Agreement as it led the call to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius to be able to survive.
The Paris Agreement establishes the obligation of all Parties to contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation. The Paris Agreement does not dictate specific emissions targets upon any country. Instead, the Agreement is governed by voluntary mitigation contributions and transparent processes that will ensure continued collective progress towards meeting the ambitious global goal.
This also means that the implementation of the Paris Agreement, as well as compliance with the obligations, will take into consideration the different capacities, circumstances, and responsibilities of countries.
The Paris Agreement is a vehicle towards achieving climate justice as it compels developed nations that have contributed most to cause global warming to finance the Green Climate Fund and provide support to developing and vulnerable nations through capacity building and technology transfer.
Bearing in mind the Senate's Constitutional duty to review all treaties and international agreements, I urge our agencies and stakeholders to work together. Let us align our efforts as we advance our collective climate agenda so that the Philippines can be true to its commitment in the Paris Agreement. Let us work with the global community to help the Earth survive and provide life for the future generations.
Thank you very much.
Thursday, March 23
Wednesday, March 22