The Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC), an international climate and energy policy group based in the Philippines, lauded the Philippine government for its display of “international leadership” during the 75th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), where President Rodrigo Duterte called on parties of the Paris Agreement to fight climate change.
“The Philippine government displayed international leadership at the right moment by affirming the need to flatten both the Covid-19 and the climate curves as urgently as possible,” Renato Redentor Constantino, the group’s executive director, said in a statement Wednesday.
Duterte’s historic address to the UNGA underscored the need for the international community to act collectively based on science to tackle both the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic and climate change, Constantino said.
Citing scientists, he said the world has to keep global warming below the 1.5-degrees Celsius threshold to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
“Solutions such as decentralized renewable energy, active mobility, and sustainable transport, and mangrove and watershed management can address not only Covid-worsened public health and economic problems in the short term but also climate risks and development challenges in the long haul,” Constantino said.
He said they expect the President’s remarks “to be reflected in the ongoing drafting of the country’s Nationally Determined Contribution to the Paris Agreement, as well as in the national budget deliberations and the policies of the Department of Energy and Department of Transportation.”
Duterte, in his pre-recorded speech aired Wednesday (Manila time) at the UNGA, stressed the urgency of arresting the spread of the coronavirus and addressing the climate crisis.
“This is a global challenge that has worsened existing inequalities and vulnerabilities from within and between nations. Climate change has worsened the ravages of the pandemic. People in developing countries like the Philippines suffer the most. We cannot afford to suffer more,” he said as he called on all parties, especially those who have not made good on their commitment to fighting climate change, to honor it.
In 2017, Duterte signed the Paris Agreement, which aims to reduce the emission of gases that contribute to global warming.
The Philippines earlier pledged a 70-percent cut in emissions by 2030. (PNA)