Press Release
March 17, 2016


Vice-presidential race frontrunner Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero is urging Filipinos to switch off their non-essential lights between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m. on March 19 as the Philippines joins the rest of the world in observing Earth Hour.

Earth Hour is an international campaign encouraging people and businesses to turn off lights and other electric appliances in support of the global call for action on climate change to reduce carbon footprint.

The country has been an active participant of Earth Hour since 2009, and is consistently one of the biggest advocates of what has been dubbed as the world's largest grassroots movement for the environment.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said the Philippines saved some 611 megawatts per hour of electricity when it first joined the campaign seven years ago, which is equivalent to shutting down one dozen coal-fired power plants.

"Our participation in Earth Hour symbolizes our commitment to change beyond the hour, especially since the Philippines is considered as one of the nations most vulnerable to climate change impacts," said Escudero, chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources.

"It is important for us to join in international activities like Earth Hour because it concerns issues that are critical to our survival and development," he pointed out.

Escudero was among the officials who applauded the historic global climate change agreement reached in Paris, France last December.

As head of the Senate environment committee, Escudero then expressed his willingness to work with policymakers for the crafting and passage of new legislation that would help the Philippines fulfill its climate change commitments.

The Paris deal laid down the foundation for countries to work together in trying to limit the global temperature below 1.5 degrees Celcius, well below the level of 2 degrees Celcius that is likely to signal the worst effects of climate change.

The agreement also requires developed nations to continue to provide funding to help less developed countries cut their carbon emissions and adapt to the challenges posed by the changing climate.

Escudero called the Paris accord "an important milestone" for countries that are most vulnerable to climate change impacts like the Philippines.

"It means we are not alone in dealing with climate change because all nations, developed and less developed alike, bear the responsibility of helping poorer countries alleviate suffering caused by the single biggest environmental and humanitarian crisis of our time," Escudero said.

The Philippines has committed to reduce carbon emissions by 70 percent from 2020 to 2030, but conditional on financial aid and associated technical support being provided by developed countries. The carbon emission reductions will be taken from the energy, transport, waste, forestry and industry sectors--the country's major sources of greenhouse gases.

The country considers as priority measures for adaptation the strengthening of climate monitoring and observation; the conduct of climate and disaster risk vulnerability assessments; improving the resilience of ecosystems; and the climate-proofing of sectors like agriculture, water and health.

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