August 09, 2023 Wednesday
Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda delivers a privilege speech on the urgency of addressing climate change.
MANILA, 8 August 2023 – In a privilege speech today, Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda rallied fellow lawmakers and the entire Filipino nation to unite and take bold action against the global governance challenge of our generation—climate change.
Drawing attention to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report, Legarda stressed that the time for procrastination is over, and immediate and drastic action is required to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
The IPCC report confirmed that climate change is already adversely affecting global weather patterns and ecosystems, disproportionately impacting vulnerable communities despite progress in adaptation efforts, and current policies and financial support are insufficient to meet climate goals across sectors and regions, notably hindering implementation in developing nations.
Legarda cited alarming figures of losses and damage borne by the Philippines from climate-induced disasters, particularly the Php673.3 billion worth of damage due to tropical cyclones alone between 2011 and 2021, and the 12,097 deaths recorded due to extreme weather events and disasters from 2010 to 2019.
“The latest reports on climate science tell us that we are running out of time to secure a livable and sustainable future for all. Enabling rapid and far-reaching transitions across all sectors and systems in this crucial decade will determine impacts and climate realities now and for the next thousands of years. These are not only accelerating, but they are also exhibiting feedback loops that increase that acceleration,” Legarda stressed.
The Senator emphasized that climate change is an issue of climate justice, where the most vulnerable populations suffer the most despite contributing the least to climate change.
“We need to make sure that the commitments of developed countries are delivered and mobilized. We need to ensure that the establishment of a loss and damage funding facility will materialize at the soonest possible time,” she added.
Legarda proposed several practical approaches moving forward, such as adopting a transformative mindset in governance, accelerating decarbonization efforts, revisiting environmental laws, optimizing convergence between agencies and stakeholders, and greening the national and local budgets to ensure allocation for sustainable and climate-smart programs.
With the Philippines standing as the ground zero for climate change, Legarda called for collective action in transforming the nation into a center of resilience and strength— a “Philippines that is not a lesson learned but a best practice for the rest of the world in combating climate change.”
“Patuloy tayong magbayanihan para sa klima; para sa buhay, kabuhayan, at kinabukasan ng ating kapwa Pilipino. Para sa Pilipinas, sikapin nating iangat ang katatagan ng bawat isa laban sa nagbabagong klima,” Legarda concluded.
As the lead policy-making body of the government on climate change, the Climate Change Commission (CCC) echoed the Senator's call for a robust and ambitious climate agenda to further enhance the resilience of Filipino communities against the impacts of climate change.
“We laud Senator Loren Legarda for her tireless efforts in championing climate action, and we look forward to continue working closely with her, other lawmakers, and all government agencies in advancing transformative climate policies and strategies that will benefit all Filipinos,” CCC Vice Chairperson and Executive Director Robert E.A. Borje said.
“Enabling a development pathway towards a more sustainable and resilient Philippines requires urgent action and political will. We look up to the leadership of Senator Legarda and our lawmakers in Congress to support this transformation that ensure that we thrive amid the climate crisis,” he concluded.