Press Release
December 12, 2011

Legarda: Durban Outcome Lacks Ambition for Safe Climate Future

Senator Loren Legarda today expressed disappointment over the agreements made in Durban, particularly on industrialized countries' commitments for deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

Legarda stressed the slow progress of international climate treaty negotiations, including the recently concluded 17th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change held in Durban, South Africa, which "was salvaged before its near collapse".

"Industrialized countries have a historical responsibility for climate change and are morally obliged to financially and technologically assist developing countries in their efforts to reduce their vulnerability and adapt to its consequences, while reducing their own greenhouse gas emissions. Unfortunately, the Durban Platform lacks ambition--political will failed to match the call of climate science," she stressed.

"What did Durban deliver? Governments, including the US, China and India, agreed to adopt a universal legal agreement on climate change, to be decided on not later than 2015 and to come into force by 2020," Senator Legarda pointed out in her privilege speech.

The Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change noted that there were 35 industrialized countries, excluding the US, Canada, Japan and Russia, that agreed to extend the Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012, but it is said to cover less than 15% of global emissions, which could warm the world to 3.5 degrees, dangerously way above the 2 degrees acceptable limit.

"It is clear injustice to witness the devastating impact of climate change being borne by the poorest groups with least responsibility for having caused it and least capacity to adapt," Legarda said.

"For the developed world to compensate for this inequality, the operationalization of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), which is expected to provide $100 billion per year for climate change adaptation by 2020, must be at full speed. We gladly take note that in the Durban outcome, this fund will become fully operational next year," she added.

The Senator also stressed that while the nation awaits more decisive outcomes of the climate talks, the government, with the support of the citizens must resolve to quickly move policy into action.

"Our laws, which have been considered model legislation by the UN and the IPU, must be complemented by effective implementation from the executive," she explained.

In closing, Senator Legarda challenged world leaders to redefine development, "In a context where growth in disaster losses surpasses growth in our economic yardsticks, we should come to realize that perhaps our old, consumptive and extractive development model has not worked. And we cannot use this model to solve the complex problems of our contemporary society."

"Now is the time to redefine development--to pursue the kind of development that is founded on good governance, sustainable and equitable socio-economic development, ecosystems protection, cultural renaissance and disaster resilience," Legarda concluded.

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