PH calls for Western nations action on climate change

Published October 28, 2021, 12:41 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

The Philippines has called on Western economies to act now in significantly reducing their carbon footprints, and make good on their commitments to extend the financing needed by climate-vulnerable countries to transition to a clean energy future.

Speaking at the 2021 Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) meeting, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said that he wants to see the decades-old discussions on how to fight climate change translated into concrete actions now.

The finance chief noted that Western economies are largely responsible for the most greenhouse gas emissions today.

“We need the Western countries to take responsibility for having contributed and continue to contribute the most to greenhouse gas emissions,” Dominguez said at the AIIB Flagship Seminar on the Paris Agreement held virtually Wednesday night.

“They must be given the greater burden of paying for the grants, investments, and subsidies needed for the most climate-vulnerable countries to mitigate the effects of global warming,” he added.

Dominguez said these countries have “avoided the pain by buying their way out of their global obligations,” which include offering developing nations money that are insufficient to make the carbon reductions that they themselves are unwilling to make in their own economies.

“Because of this, very little has been achieved in mitigating climate change,” he pointed out.

Even though the Philippines is not yet a financial powerhouse, “we are determined to punch above our weight class in green and climate finance” so that it can lead in terms of mainstreaming climate change through the financial sector, Dominguez said.

To demonstrate how developing countries can mainstream climate change in the financial sector, the Philippines will showcase its Sustainable Finance Roadmap at the 26th United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Scotland next week.

Dominguez said the Philippine masterplan also shows that the Philippines intends to be at the forefront of the global fight against climate change, and remains true to its bold and ambitious commitment to the Paris Agreement to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 75 percent.

“We are hitting the ground running with simultaneous initiatives to demonstrate that much can be done by clear and coherent financial policies that give primacy to the environment,” Dominguez said.

“We hope our Sustainable Finance Roadmap will inspire other developing countries towards adopting the appropriate finance policies that will help reduce carbon emissions,” he added.

The Sustainable Finance Roadmap synergizes public and private investments in green projects and sets the guiding principles that will create the environment for greener policies.

The Philippine government is also pushing the congressional passage of a law banning single-use plastics to urge Filipinos to do their part on a daily basis in saving the world’s environment.

It will likewise launch soon a landmark project that will accelerate the country’s transition from coal to clean energy, he said.