PARIS, France, Dec 1 (Mabuhay) — President Benigno S. Aquino III on Monday called for global solidarity in addressing climate change saying every country must commit to reduce green house gas emissions and build resilient communities.
In his keynote address during the Climate Vulnerable Forum High-Level Event, President Aquino said current debates focus on the question on who among the countries should be doing what but now it must shift to the contributions of individual countries.
President Aquino attended on Monday the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) here in Paris.
“It is imperative that all countries do everything, and maximize what can be done to address climate change. Either we all strive and sacrifice, or we all lose to the cycle of destruction and reconstruction,” he said.
Vulnerable countries like the Philippines bear the brunt of destruction caused by devastating effects of changing weather conditions, he said.
For instance in 2012, when typhoon Bopha hit the Philippines, the government was compelled to find alternative livelihood for coconut farmers whose farms were destroyed by the typhoon.
The current thrust is building back better after devastating storms, moving entire communities away from hazardous areas, he said.
“But building back better has become less and less of a guarantee, given that the new normal might still be replaced by an even newer normal if we fail to act in concert,” he told the members of the forum.
“Positive national development trajectories, especially of emerging economies such as the Philippines’, can be broken due to the disruption caused by disaster. After all, what if we could channel the resources used for building back better towards other development interventions?”
But he said no amount of effort, however gargantuan, by a single nation can ever be enough to address climate change in its entirety and it must be concerted efforts by all countries.
In the Philippines, the government has been implementing the national greening program, and have cracked down heavily on illegal logging and other unsustainable environmental practices, according to the President.
It is also working to diversify the country’s energy resources, and has been tapping into renewables such as solar, wind, biomass, hydro, and geothermal power.
Government scientists have been conducting research towards more disaster-resilient crops, and the national administration has been continuously upgrading weather forecasting capabilities.
The government is also calling for communal action to lift up every Filipino during every storm that has made landfall within the country, he said.
The President also told the members of the CVF that the Philippines is willing and ready to share all the knowledge and best practices that it has learned from its own experiences.
Countries that are members of the CVF are losing at least 2.5 percent of GDP each year because of climate change despite their collective contribution of less than 2 percent of the current greenhouse gas emissions.
Since 2010, in the CVF member countries, an average of more than 50,000 deaths have occurred every year due to climate shocks, the President said.
Up to 40 million people may potentially be displaced due to rising sea levels, which threaten to engulf entire nations in the Pacific, he added.
And as many CVF members take pioneering action, particularly on climate finance, the President said they must also fully leverage their solidarity in ensuring that the remaining barriers towards concerted action and knowledge sharing are broken down.
The CVF is a global partnership of countries, which are disproportionately affected by the consequences of global warming.
It addresses the negative effects of global warming as a result of heightened socioeconomic and environmental vulnerabilities. (MNS)