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PMCJ’s statement on President Duterte’s signing of the Paris Agreement

March 6, 2017

The Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) welcomes President Duterte’s signing of the Paris Agreement as a step towards the Philippines commitment to the 1.5 degree aspirational goal laid out in the Paris Agreement.

However, signing the Paris Accord still will not ensure a world beyond the climate crisis and the Philippines climate-proofed from extreme weather events. However, the Philippine Government will once again lead the various countries in demanding the historical responsibilities of rich countries and the higher commitments in polluter countries in mitigation action. As of now, the NDCs submitted by all countries which ratified the Paris Agreement falls short of preventing catastrophic climate change.

With this, PMCJ stands firm that the Paris Agreement is not enough to enact effective and genuine climate actions. The group calls for stronger and concrete policy actions that can directly address and develop programs towards Philippine economy achieving growth not tied with increased consumption of coal.

We demand the president’s full support in implementing policies to reduce the dependence of our country to the use of dirty fossil fuels and spearhead the transition towards 100% renewable energy. Moreover, we call on the President to use its mandate to ensure that government agencies will be working hand-in-hand and will serve and protect the interest of the people who are being directly hit by the impacts of the exacerbating global climate change.

So far, the Philippines energy consumption exhibits an increasing CO2 emission due to undesirably increasing number of existing coal-fired power plants (CFPPs) in the country – counting 26 operational and 36 more CFPPs in the pipeline. In fact, President Duterte himself has inaugurated 3 CFPPs in his term.

The Philippines still remains as one of the most vulnerable countries. According to the 2016 Global Climate Risk Index our country ranked 4th globally after being visited by strong typhoons like Typhoon Yolanda for the past decade and the succeeding typhoons. As a result it exacerbated further poverty, massive inequality due to the extent of damage and dislocation. The continued burning of coal and other fossil fuels globally will be detrimental to most climate vulnerable countries like the Philippines where economic growth are being eaten up by destruction and devastation.

Typhoon Yolanda’s effects and impacts include high percentage of destruction of framed homes, total roof failure and wall collapse, isolation of residential areas due to fallen trees and power poles and power outages (NOAA, 2013c), and left the country with 6,201 dead, 1,785 missing and 28,626 injured. All of these resulted to P296 million total damages in agriculture and infrastructure which caused a 1% total decrease in gross domestic product (GDP).