By Ellalyn de Vera Ruiz
Climate Change Commission (CCC) Secretary Emmanuel De Guzman highlighted the need to curb air pollution and improve public health that would be essential to drive broader climate action among governments and private sector.
He lauded the action program of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), calling for “enhanced ambition to rapidly reduce short-lived climate pollutants and to ensure that mitigation efforts are integrated in order to address air pollution and climate change.”
The program also recognizes that action taken in the next decade would be crucial if the world is to achieve the Paris Agreement’s 1.5 degrees Celsius temperature goal.
CCAC is a partnership of 61 governments, 17 intergovernmental organizations, 54 non-government organizations including businesses and scientific institutions.
Short-lived climate pollutants such as methane, black carbon, hydrofluorocarbons and tropospheric ozone, have powerful effect on global temperatures.
“We join the Coalition on these climate actions that could avoid an estimated 2.4 million premature deaths from outdoor air pollution annually by 2030, prevent annual crop losses by as much as 52 million tons, avoid global warming by as much as 0.6°C by 2050,” De Guzman said.
Citing the newly-released report of the World Health Organization (WHO), De Guzman said two short-lived climate pollutants have the greatest impact on climate change and health. These are black carbon and methane.
He said that climate change should be seen as “an urgent public health issue” as it pose a major health threat to people due to worsening air pollution and illnesses indicated in the WHO report.
De Guzman added that the action program could prevent climate tipping points that exacerbate long-term climate impacts and make climate change adaptation harder and sustainable development more elusive, especially for the poor and vulnerable nations like the Philippines.
“Philippines stands strongly committed to reduce short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs),” De Guzman said, adding that the Philippines supports the CCAC and the collective global actions that could reduce methane emissions by 25 percent and black carbon by 75 percent, as well as to eliminate hydrofluorocarbons in the next 25 years.
He added that the Philippines has included reducing SLCPs in the national planning process as well as in our system for measurement, reporting and validation for carbon emissions.
The Philippines, he said, will continue to strive to improve air quality with the full implementation of the Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999 with a goal to achieve and maintain air quality that meets the national air quality guidelines for criteria pollutants and their emissions standards.
He further said the country has stepped up efforts in adopting the Euro 6 fuel and vehicle standards and the rapid deployment of electric vehicles; maximizing energy efficiency as countries phase down HFCs, as well as a systems approach to cooling and heating; enhancing mitigation measures for emissions from agriculture; shifting to renewable energy to meet the demands and contribution to the global effort of limiting global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius.
“We shall scale up our climate actions in all sectors, through a whole-of-society-and-government approach. This we shall pursue with a robust strategy for climate financing, technology development and transfer, and capacity building. We shall fast-track these climate actions through the support of our development partners,” De Guzman said.