Press Release
May 7, 2018

Legarda Calls for Local Climate Action, Urges Developed Countries to Lead Decarbonization

Senator Loren Legarda stressed that it is important to institutionalize local climate action because every community has its own vulnerabilities, risks and hazards. The Senator also urged the developed countries to drastically reduce their fossil fuel consumption and assist countries that are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, proving that resilience is the way forward.

Legarda, Head of the Philippine Delegation to the 2018 Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany, made the statement during the Talanoa Dialogue Group Discussion as she shared among other delegates how the Philippines deals with climate change, which is the greatest humanitarian and development challenge of our time.

"The most important thing is to institutionalize local climate action or resilience. The way forward is to make sure that the big industrialized nations, while some have committed to veering away from coal, would actually walk their talk, because small island nations, vulnerable nations like the Philippines, African nations, and other small island states are affected," said Legarda.

For a vulnerable nation like the Philippines, delayed action means loss of lives, livelihood, natural heritage, ecosystems and biodiversity. Being deemed as one of the top vulnerable nations in the world, Legarda recalled how Typhoon Haiyan or Yolanda unleashed its wrath and took the lives of more than 8000 people and washed away at least 4% of the country's GDP.

Aside from typhoons that frequent the country, another major concern in the Philippines is the imminent sea level rise, which is said to be three times the global average of 3.1 cm every 10 years and projected to rise between 7.6 cm and 10.2 cm each decade.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committees on Foreign Relations, Finance and Climate Change, stressed how important it is to allocate sufficient resources for disaster risk reduction given the vulnerability of our country to natural hazards.

"As the UNISDR Global Champion for Resilience, I have tried to mainstream disaster risk reduction (DRR), climate change adaptation and mitigation (CCAM), and geo-tagging in our national budget. We have mainstreamed DRR and CCAM not just in the Departments of Environment and Agriculture, but also in almost all government agencies because, as experts have said, for every dollar invested in DRR, we save seven dollars in reconstruction," said Legarda.

Legarda also noted that although the country has existing laws - such as the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, Renewable Energy Act, Climate Change Act, and the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act among others -- all of these policies while lauded and good, are meaningless unless faithfully implemented by both the national and local governments as part of resilience efforts.

Meanwhile, the Senator renewed the commitment of the Philippines to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 70% (conditional) by 2030 as part of the country's Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC).

"We believe that mitigation is a function of adaptation. That is why, even if the Philippines is not a major emitter of GHG, with only 0.3% share in global emissions, we vow to remain committed to a conditional 70% INDC, which we will translate into our NDC, underpinned by the assurance that support for its materialization is guaranteed under the Paris Agreement," Legarda concluded.

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