Legarda Meets COP26 President Claire O’Neill, Discusses PH and Asia Priorities in 2020 Climate Talks

December 12, 2019 Thursday

MADRID, Spain 13 December 2019 – Deputy Speaker and Lone District of Antique Representative Loren Legarda had a bilateral meeting with Ms. Claire O’Neill, President-designate to the 26th Session of the Conference of Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), to discuss Philippine expectations and priorities for next year’s climate talks. 

Legarda, Head of the Philippine Delegation to COP25, congratulated and expressed support to O’Neill and the Government of the United Kingdom as they prepare to host the “critical” COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, in partnership with the Government of Italy. 

Legarda conveyed to O’Neill the importance of meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement by urging developed nations to make drastic cuts in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and to scale up ambition in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). 

“The Philippines, as a victim country in this climate crisis, expects the UK COP26 Presidency to urge developed nations to make more drastic cuts in their emissions to meet the 1.5-degree climate goal of the Paris Agreement. Otherwise, global warming will reach three degrees Celsius and that is unacceptable for us highly vulnerable countries,” Legarda said. 

“This means that the top emitters must have the largest cuts, but also provide the means for climate finance, technologies, and capacity building in order for us to build resilience against climate impacts. The UK should help champion all of these, Legarda added

Legarda welcomed the UK Government’s doubling of its climate financing to 12 billion pounds and in making all their official development assistance (ODA) compliant with the Paris Agreement, but also stressed that it is equally important to double the cuts in GHG emissions.

Noting that the top banks have not declared any explicit support for climate finance, Legarda said that the UK could play a role in pressuring financial institutions to make coal an unattractive proposition.  

O’Neill said that the slogan they use in UK is “Let’s make coal history.” She also mentioned the “Powering Past Coal Alliance” whose 96 members, composed of national and local governments, companies, and organizations, have taken a pledge to phase out coal. The Provincial Government of Negros Oriental government joined the alliance last year. 

O’Neill expressed that moving past coal will not be easy and will require large amounts of transitional funding and assurance of energy security, but also acknowledged that coal will become a huge stranded asset. 

Legarda also sought support for the UK COP26 Presidency to amplify the voice of the alliance of highly vulnerable countries called the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) and the Vulnerable Twenty (V20) Group. She also suggested working with the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA) to help the UK make adaptation the centerpiece of COP26. 

Legarda expressed that the Philippines must take a more active role in the UK COP26 Presidency, noting the country’s climate leadership in Southeast Asia and the Asia-Pacific and its expertise in adaptation and disaster risk resiliency. Both Legarda and O’Neill resolved to form the “Sisters in Climate” group in next year’s COP.

Legarda is a UNEP Laureate, UNISDR Global Champion for Resilience, UNFCCC National Adaptation Plan Champion, and Member of the Governing Board of the Green Climate Fund.


The public is invited to monitor events of COP25 and of Deputy Speaker Legarda through the following channels: