DENR: Gov’t programs, initiatives leaning toward declaration of climate emergency

Published October 11, 2020, 2:32 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu has assured that programs and initiatives prepared by the government are leaning toward the declaration of a climate emergency.

Cimatu, who chairs the Cabinet Cluster on Climate Change Adaptation, Mitigation, and Disaster Risk Reduction (CCAM-DRR), pointed out that as early as February this year, the Cabinet cluster has approved a resolution supporting House Resolution No. 535 or “Declaring a Disaster and Climate Change Emergency” filed by Albay Rep. Joey Salceda in November 2019.

He believes that the declaration of climate emergency would help deepen the country’s commitment to protect its economy, environment, and communities from climate change.

“The Philippines has already suffered billions of losses, damages, and disruptions due to the impacts of hydrometeorological hazards, so there’s an urgent need to address more projected adverse impacts to ensure climate justice for the current and future generations of Filipinos,” Cimatu pointed out.

Also in February, the Cabinet Cluster on CCAM-DRR approved another resolution underscoring the urgent need to consolidate government data in order to generate a nationwide climate risk assessment.

Cimatu said it is high time for the government to maintain a reliable climate risk profile that could inform and support development and investment planning and climate finance.

“With the consolidated government data, which is very important in articulation of climate rationale for project proposal development, the local government units could be enabled to have easier access to the People’s Survival Fund for their climate change-related development projects,” he added.

The two resolutions issued by the Cabinet Cluster on CCAM-DRR support strategies to enable the country achieve its goals under the Paris Agreement, in which world leaders committed to keep the planet’s temperature below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The agreement, which is the culmination of decades of international efforts to combat climate change, establishes a framework of global climate action, support for developing nations, and transparent reporting and strengthening of climate goals.

In 2017, President Duterte signed the Paris Agreement, which came into force in November 2016. The Philippines committed to reduce its greenhouse emissions by 70 percent by 2030, but will need technical and financial support to achieve it.