DURBAN—Despite progress in implementing climate-change adaptation and mitigation measures in the Philippines, Climate Change Commission Vice Chairman Lucille Sering made a strong argument for the need for countries to make progress on climate financing and to commit to a new treaty.
“We are already bearing the brunt of the changing climate and we need to see progress here as a global deal covering all major economies is a necessity,” Sering, who also heads the Philippine delegation to the Durban climate talks, told the BUSINESSMIRROR. “So for us, the issue needs to be confronted now.”
This year’s climate summit meeting is important for all countries to discuss the future of the Kyoto Protocol, the only international treaty limiting greenhouse-gas emissions which expires in 2012. They also hope to reach agreement on activating the Green Climate Fund (GCF) that would, by 2020, disburse $100 billion a year to help poorer countries.
Earlier, Sering presented before the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change the Philippines’s National Climate Change Action Plan, which was overwhelmingly praised by other nations for being “well-structured.”
“The failure of the climate talks means resources will be reduced. But it doesn’t mean that we will not move forward. We have to make sure that we can make our country resilient to climate change,” she said.
According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, the country will likely experience fiercer typhoons, floods and drought and sea-level rise in the coming years.
While optimistic that countries will make progress in the climate talks, Presidential Adviser for Environmental Protection Neric Acosta, who is also part of the Philippine delegation, believes there will be an advancement on the part of developing countries to deal with the changing climate at the local levels.
“It’s going to be an uphill battle to get a climate deal. But we are still hopeful to have a reconfigured agreement, where developing countries will refocus on local climate actions and initiatives in order to strengthen their resources and the capacity to respond to the threats caused by climate change,” Acosta said.
At the high-level negotiations this week, at least 12 heads of state and about 130 ministers will participate in the negotiations. Common ground at this point, however, has been elusive for countries at the negotiations struggling to overcome self-interest and different views on the urgency of addressing the problem.
Developed nations are no longer willing to accept carbon-emission reduction targets unless emerging economies like China, India, Brazil and South Africa also accept carbon-emission cuts. The US never ratified the Kyoto protocol, however. The European Union, on the other hand, wants the binding agreement to be decided by 2015.
On the issue of financing, developing countries called for greater transparency of the fast-start funding from 2010-12, supposed to be $30 billion across adaptation, mitigation and deforestation activities. Similarly, there is about $100 billion a year, starting 2020, to be channeled into the GCF.
“ Climate finance is not development assistance. Mutual accountability is important here. We need to ensure that resources flow freely and strongly push for global and national fund,” said Climate Change Commissioner Naderev Sano. “We are praying for the best as we can see we do not know what will happen on the green climate fund.”
At the local level, Albay Gov. Joey Salceda, dubbed as a United Nations Senior Global Champion on Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate-Change Adaptation, said the Durban climate talks “must send a clear signal that the GCF will fast-track the implementation of climate- adaptation standard agreement at the local level.” This, Salceda said would attract more public, private partnership resource allocation for deployment at global, national and local levels.
Recently, Albay inaugurated the Climate Change Academy to assist local governments to include climate adaptation in their development planning processes.
About 7,000 climate activists, including, members of the civil-society groups, farmers, waste pickers and youth organizations, marched through the streets of Durban on Saturday demanding world leaders to take urgent action to combat climate change. Dubbed as the “Global Action Day,” the protesters lashed out at government failure to agree to a new framework of the climate deal. Filipino activists, led by the International League of Peoples Struggle-Philippines, joined the protest.
The Durban talks are a premeditated failure as the US has already positioned itself alongside Japan, Canada and the EU that there would be no binding climate agreement, said Leon Dulce, campaign coordinator of Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment. “Deep and drastic cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions of the world’s top emitters and the dismantling of false climate solutions, such as nuclear plants, are in order to avert the climate crisis,” said Giovanni Tapang of Advocates of Science and Technology for the People.
Imelda V. Abaño
December 05, 2011