The Daily Manila Shimbun


Duterte finally signs Paris climate change agreement

March 1, 2017

President Rodrigo Duterte has finally signed the instrument of the Philippine accession to the Paris Agreement that aims to temper the effect of climate change.

Duterte signed the instrument of accession on February 28 after months of criticizing the deal, which his predecessor, former President Benigno Aquino III, approved, a Palace document released on Wednesday revealed.

Duterte had been vocal about his opposition against the Paris Agreement due to absence of sanctions, particularly for huge economies, which would fail to honor the deal. He only agreed to approve the pact after most of his Cabinet officials expressed their support on the agreement.

After signing, Duterte endorsed the document on the same date to the Senate for its ratification.

"I have the honor to submit, for Senate's consideration, the Paris Agreement, which was signed on 22 April 2016 in New York," he said in a letter dated February 28 to Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III.

"After examining the text thereof, I find it advisable to accede to the Paris Agreement and seek the Senate's concurrence thereto," he said.

In a statement, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources said: “By ratifying the Paris Agreement, we will be able to maximize our climate-adaptation and mitigation efforts to protect the Filipino people, among which include the Enhanced National Greening Program, Coastal and Marine Ecosystems Management Program, solid waste management, pollution control management, to name a few.”

The agreement aims to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

It also provides that developed countries continue their obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to provide financial assistance to developing countries with respect to both climate change mitigation and adaptation.

The Agreement also pledges the submission of a nationally-determined contribution on programs committed to emissions reduction or programs for adaptation of the thrust of the Agreement.

Nationally-determined contributions are not mitigation-centric but also covers adaptation and requirements for finance, technology, and capacity-building, Duterte said in a letter to the Senate.

This will provide an opportunity to communicate to investors what the country needs in order to implement adaptation and mitigation projects, he added.

Under the 1987 Philippine Constitution, a treaty or international agreement shall be valid and effective with the concurrence by at least two-thirds of all the members of the Senate.
Celerina Monte/DMS