Legarda seeks guarantee on climate finance to protect Filipinos from climate change impact

Published October 27, 2021, 2:41 PM

by Manila Bulletin

House Deputy Speaker and Antique Lone District Rep. Loren Legarda has sought urgent action from the national government to enforce the Paris Agreement on climate finance to protect Filipinos from greenhouse emissions and avoid the disastrous impact of climate change.

Legarda, who had been named United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction Global Champion for Resilience, aired the appeal during a media briefing held via zoom on Tuesday, Oct. 2 for the upcoming 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) .

The pre-COP forum was convened by the British Embassy Manila, Embassy of Italy, the United Nations and the DOF. Newly-installed British Ambassador to the Philippines Laure Beaufils gave the opening remarks.

“We count on the DOF as head of our national delegation to ensure that developed countries will finally move with urgency to deliver on their commitments in terms of the Paris Agreement’s means of implementation: climate finance, technology transfer, and capacity building from developed countries to developing ones,” the Antique lone district congresswoman said.

“Without these, the Philippines will not be able to build the capacity and technical know-how we need to avoid more GHG emissions, and we will not be able to survive the intensifying impacts of climate change. The same fate awaits many climate-vulnerable developing countries like us,” Legarda warned.

The lawmaker cited the need for COP26 to deliver on such commitments by developed nations so that developing countries like the Philippines could be able to avoid more greenhouse emissions and survive the intensifying impacts of climate change.

She also emphasized the call of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF)—which she co-founded—for COP26 to finalize and deliver strong carbon market mechanisms.

Aside from this, Legarda said COP26 should enable emissions avoidance, a concept introduced by the Philippines in the previous COP, by establishing the eligibility of emissions avoidance activities —which, in effect, would allow the Philippines and other developing countries to assert “our right to the remaining global emissions space without actually emitting them.” Legarda said the Philippines expects also COP26 to agree on a Delivery Plan for the annual $100 billion over five years, from 2020-2024, pledged by developed countries to vulnerable countries to help them adapt to climate change and mitigate further rises in temperature.

Rich nations should have delivered $100 billion already starting last year and by 2025, the $100 billion should start increasing steadily yearly. She also expects COP26 to make action on Loss and Damage integral to its outcome. These will be critical to the implementation of the Philippines’ Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the Paris Agreement, which will also be brought forward to COP26, she stated.

At the same time, however, Legarda emphasized the need for more ambitious national targets—and for making every budget a climate adaptive budget.

“The country’s credibility will be on the line with our NDC as it is. It is virtually a business as usual NDC if over 90% of our pledge remains conditional. We are fooling ourselves. These are big numbers that are empty. It’s a big balloon full of nothing but air. It’s high time to fix this,” she said.

During her opening statement, Legarda also highlighted the role of its participants in widening the public’s understanding of COP26 and of broader climate issues.

“I hope this conversation paves the way to building more awareness and spurring the engagement of more Filipinos on critical climate issues in COP26 and beyond,” she concluded.