By Charissa Luci-Atienza
Occidental Mindoro Rep. Josephine “Nene” Ramirez-Sato has exhorted global leaders to “be fearless” in fighting climate change during a recent forum at the 200th Liberal International ExCom in Berlin, Germany.
During the forum dubbed “Delivering Climate Justice: Liberal responses to the Paris Agreement”, held on June 23, the woman lawmaker expressed the Philippines’ commitment to reducing its carbon emission.
“When it comes to climate change actions, we need to be fearlessly optimistic, fearlessly ambitious. We need to be fearless. Period,” Sato said in the wake of United States President Donald Trump’s rejection of the Paris Agreement.
She said government leaders should act decisively, and fearlessly, to achieve ambitious climate change goals.
“While Paris Agreement is indeed ambitious, it makes countries deviate from the “business as usual” mode and needs to make decisive actions,” she said.
The Paris Agreement aims to limit temperature rise below the 1.5 degrees mark, considered as the point of no-return that could lead to irreversible damages to the environment and spell disasters to all species in the planet.
Sato noted that there are ongoing efforts to address policy-financing and policy-action gaps by various national agencies, and local governments, private sectors, and other stakeholders.
“Achieving climate justice is really difficult, but not impossible,” she said.
“Mobilizing public and private stakeholders, domestically and internationally to delivering on the climate justice promise of the Paris Agreement is a big challenge, especially for poorer nations with limited financial capability,” Sato said.
She noted that Philippines is facing serious challenge of closing the policy-financing and policy-action gaps.
She cited, for instance, to effectively implement the Philippine Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (PBSAP), a multistakeholder action plan for biodiversity conservation, the budget allocation needs to be at P24 billion ($458 million) per year. However, current estimated spending is at P5 billion ($95 million) per year only, leaving a financing gap of about 80 percent.
“We all know that for environmental legislation to even make a dent and positively impact the people’s lives, budget appropriation and allocation must be institutionalized, predictable, and stable,” Sato said.
She laments the Philippines, continues to experience not only disasters triggered by natural calamities, but also those that can be considered a consequence of greed-driven, environmentally-destructive development projects.
“While many are natural disasters, how can we explain the disasters borne by abuse and blatant disregard for environmental laws?” she asked.