Legarda expresses disappointment on Glasgow Climate Pact

Published November 25, 2021, 4:49 PM

by Ben Rosario

House Deputy Speaker and Antique Rep. Loren Legarda is disappointed at the outcome of the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Glasgow, United Kingdom.

Rep. Loren Legarda

A three-term senator, Legarda said the agreement reached at the conclusion of the COP26 last Nov. 13 among world leaders did not sufficiently address the global climate crisis “Unfortunately, COP26 was not the COP that we had needed it to be. It did not give us enough reason to heave a big sigh of relief just yet, in light of the latest climate warnings issued in August that signaled ‘code red’ for humanity,” Legarda stressed in a privilege speech before the House of Representatives Wednesday, Nov. 23.

The House leader’s disappointment is shared by many who had expected better version of the Glasgow Climate Pact, the main output containing the decisions adopted by 197 countries in COP26.

“Even UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the approved texts as a ‘compromise,’ and that ‘we are still knocking on the door of climate catastrophe,” she lamented.

“On climate ambition, countries’ pledges to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions or what we call as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), taken together, are still not enough to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. 1.5 is our climate threshold for our survival, but after COP26, experts are saying that global warming would still increase to 2.4 degrees Celsius or higher,” Legarda pointed out.

Legarda said the Glasgow Climate Pact also noted the developed countries’ failure to deliver support in jointly mobilizing 100 billion US dollars of climate finance per year from 2020 until 2025, as well as noting that the provision for adaptation remains insufficient to respond to the worsening climate change impacts in developing countries.

“These three aspects—ambition, adaptation, and finance—are the very foundations of our fight for climate justice. And without the clear, adequate, and predictable provisions for such, we cannot truly consider ourselves safe and resilient in the years to come,” she argued.

But while the COP26 did not meet expectations, Legarda said it still gave several “wins” for the climate agenda.

She cited for instance the unprecedented inclusion of language against coal and other fossil fuels in the Pact – even with COP26 having coal, oil, and gas industry executives present.

The Pact called on countries “to accelerate the… transition towards low-emission energy systems, including… accelerating efforts towards the phasedown of unabated coal power and phase-out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.” It also invited countries “to consider further actions to reduce by 2030 non-carbon dioxide greenhouse gas emissions, including methane.” The explicit mention of methane is also a first in the history of COP.

“I think it’s clear: This is a death sentence on coal and fossil fuels,” she pointed out.

Legarda said another win is the inclusion of a special section on loss and damage in the Pact, which acknowledged that “climate change has already caused and will increasingly cause loss and damage and that, as temperatures rise, impacts from climate and weather extremes, as well as slow onset events, will pose an ever-greater social, economic and environmental threat.” “The Pact was not at all clear on whether developing countries will be compensated on loss and damage, but it builds the momentum for clearer and stronger provisions in future climate talks,” she stressed.

However, Legarda lauded the Philippine delegation to COP26 led by Finance Sec. Sonny Dominguez for being “steadfast in advancing our country’s positions and interests.”