MANILA, Philippines – Senator Loren Legarda on Thursday, November 16, relayed the Philippines' "strong call for climate justice" as she headed the country's delegation at the High-Level Segment at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23) happening in Bonn, Germany.
"We have all heard the saying that what is 'difficult is done at once' but that 'the impossible takes a little longer.' But we are running out of time. We have to do both the difficult and the impossible at once," Legarda as she delivered the Philippine statement.
Legarda said the Philippines came to the international climate conference with a "strong call for climate justice" that will empower and enable the most vulnerable "to fight back" through capacity and finance.
"This necessitates not just enhanced ambition, but the steely resolve to act now. The window of opportunity on achieving the 1.5ºC goal of the Paris Agreement is fast closing and any delay will result in the irreversible," the senator warned.
Legarda enumerated the steps the Philippines has taken to fight climate change, beginning with the ratification of the Paris Agreement early this year. (READ: Duterte signs Paris climate deal)
She also talked about the mainstreaming of climate and geo-tagging into budget processes, the establishment of the People's Survival Fund, and the legislation of a renewable energy law and a Green Jobs Act.
"And we will do more. We are developing policies on carbon pricing and green banking. We intend to impose a tax on coal. And we are greening our hospitals. Indeed, we are pursuing not just a transition to a green economy, but a transformation of the way we do government and business," Legarda said, as she highlighted the crucial role of private sector towards sustainable development.
The Philippines welcomed the Talanoa Dialogue and pushed for the "completion of work on the residuals of the basic minimums of the Paris Agreement."
"Loss and damage need to be addressed. And commitments on climate finance must be fulfilled and scaled up," Legarda said.
The Philippines also urged concerned countries to ratify the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol.
Legarda committed to personally mandate national agencies and local government units in the Philippines to integrate adaptation measures into their plans and programs, since "adaptation is key" in implementing the Paris Agreement.
"We will also pursue adaptation endeavors, including on the role of marine resources. I specify local government units because they are at the frontlines of the battle on climate change and because at the core of it, adaptation is local," she added.
In her speech, Legarda also highlighted the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) joint statement on climate change which was released during the 31st ASEAN Summit held in Manila.
The Philippines hosted this year's summit as ASEAN chair for 2017. – Rappler.com
Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.