THE PHILIPPINES is the latest country to sign the Paris Agreement on Climate Change restricting greenhouse emissions.
A senator said President Rodrigo Duterte signed the agreement on Wednesday, which aims to slash greenhouse gases and keep global temperature increases “well below” two degrees Celcius.
The agreement, which came into force on Nov 4 last year, is set to transform the world’s fossil-fuel-driven economy within decades.
Manila has committed to reducing its emissions by 70 percent by 2030, but it will need technical and financial support to achieve it.
“We are a step away from full ratification and it is my commitment to actively shepherd the Senate’s immediate concurrence,” said Senator Loren Legarda after receiving the agreement’s Instrument of Ratification from the presidential palace, as quoted by Reuters.
The ratification is expected to be well-supported by the Senate, which is dominated by Duterte’s allies.
It would allow Manila access to the Green Climate Fund, which channels billions of dollars to help poor nations tackle global warming.
Duterte’s signature comes more than 10 months after the agreement was signed by more than a hundred countries at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
The firebrand leader had threatened he would not honour the agreement since he believed it would hurt the country’s efforts to industrialise. But, in November he relented, citing a “Cabinet decision” to support the deal.
“I have misgivings on the climate change pact, even former President Fidel Ramos criticised me for not signing the pact. It was a Cabinet decision. I said, ‘Let’s put it to a vote,'” Duterte said earlier.
He had repeatedly lambasted the deal as lopsided in favour of rich nations like the United States.
Climate Change Commissioner Manny de Guzman was quoted as saying he is overjoyed with the president’s ratification of the Paris Agreement.
“The Philippines delegation’s hard work to lobby the 1.5-degree climate goal during the Paris negotiations has finally paid off. This is a clear articulation of his marching orders for the Climate Change Commission in the succeeding months,” he said, as quoted by ABS-CBN News.
“Not only does this affirm the president’s pronouncement during his first SONA (state of nation address) that climate change is his administration’s top priority, but also his advocacy of climate justice for the poorest of our poor.”
In December 2015, the Philippines, under then-President Benigno Aquino III, was among 200 countries to agree on the binding global deal.
It also entailed wealthy countries that collectively allocated $100 billion to assist developing countries in increasing renewable energy usage starting 2020.
De Guzman said the 1.5-degree climate goal prescribed in the deal “is our threshold of chance and hope,” ABS-CBN reported.
“I believe our president’s resolve for climate action will keep us in the right direction of attaining social justice,” he said.
Additional reporting by Reuters