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Palace vows to fulfill COP21 commitments

An activist holds a poster during a demonstration near the Eiffel Tower in Paris on Saturday during the 21st Conference of Parties, the United Nations Climate Change Conference. As organizers of the Paris climate talks presented what they hope is a final draft of the accord, protesters from environmental and human-rights groups gather to call attention to populations threatened by rising seas and increasing droughts and floods.


Malacanañg on Sunday vowed to carry out Philippine commitments forged with other countries in the recent 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris meant to avert a disastrous spike in global warming.

“The Philippines will fulfill its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution [INDC], committing to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions conditionally by 70 percent by 2030, in solidarity with other nations that will provide support in terms of finance, technology and capacity building,” Communications Operations
Secretary Herminio B. Coloma Jr. said.

Reading a Palace statement on the conclusion of the COP21 Paris agreement over state-run radio, Coloma also reaffirmed the Aquino administration’s determination to “continually engage our people in the spirit of bayanihan to work together in building disaster-resilient communities.”

According to Coloma, the Philippines welcomed the Paris agreement as it responds to Mr.  Aquino’s call at the start of COP21, where he chaired the Climate Vulnerable Forum.

At the international conference, Coloma recalled President Aquino airing a plea “for all people to act and come to an agreement that allows all voices to be heard and takes into consideration the particular situations of all the nations that have taken this historic step to end decades of deadlock and take decisive climate-change action.”

The Palace official said this broad-based agreement, as reported by the Philippine delegation, was reached by 195 countries, after almost two weeks of painstaking consensus building and convergence around five major points, namely, a global temperature goal of 1.5 degrees; the inclusion of human rights as its bedrock principle; the emphasis on ecosystem integrity; the commitment of support in finance, technology and capacity building for all adaptation and mitigation efforts; and the inclusion of a loss and damage article that would ensure the recovery, restoration and resilience of communities, livelihoods and ecosystems.

Coloma added that the Paris agreement also addresses the situation of climate vulnerable countries like the Philippines that “bear the heaviest albeit a most disproportionate share of the burden of climate change in terms of assuring the conveyance of resources that will fully support adaptation and mitigation efforts.”

Targets outlined in the agreement on Saturday, involving 195 countries, will require $16.5 trillion of spending on renewables and efficiency through 2030, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). To accomplish that, governments will have to offer incentives for clean energy production, scale back support for fossil fuels like oil, make emissions more costly and reduce deforestation. The changes will touch industries from transport to construction, and encourage people to change their behavior.

“The strength of the agreement is that it allows a thousand policy flowers to bloom,” Paul Bledsoe, a climate aide during US President Bill Clinton’s administration, said in an interview in Paris, where the deal was sealed.

“This sends a powerful economic signal that fossil fuels will be saddled with financial and legal premiums to remain part of the energy mix, and clean energy will enjoy subsidies.”

The deal aims to limit the global temperature increase since the Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), while calling on nations to “pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees.” That more ambitious goal implies vast cuts to emissions from burning fossil fuels.

“Politically as well as technologically, this is no walk in the park,” said Ottmar Edenhofer, chief economist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research Institute near Berlin, and a lead author of the UN’s most rigorous assessment of climate economics. The target may trigger “a fundamental shift of investments toward renewables, energy efficiency, and carbon capture and storage,” he said.


Tree planting

Policies such as carbon pricing through markets or taxes, and planting trees while burning biomass rather than fossil fuels, will also be needed, and in a 1.5-degree scenario, they’ll need to be stepped up,
Edenhofer said.

Pledges to limit carbon from 187 nations aren’t yet enough to hold to a 2-degree pathway, let alone 1.5 degrees, according to researchers at the Climate Action Tracker, a group of four European institutions, who estimate the measures will cap the rise at 2.7 degrees.

While those changes would be small for a single day, applied to the world they mark a shift in the climate that’s quicker than the one that ended the last ice age.

That would mean “high risks by climate extremes, commitment to multimeter sea-level rise and detrimental impacts for global agriculture and food security,” said Bill Hare, chief executive officer of Climate Analytics, a Berlin-based research group. “It would also lead to complete loss of coral reefs and serious impacts on water resources in many regions.”

With a report from Bloomberg News


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