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Palace stresses: PH committed vs climate change

Malacañang reiterated the Philippines’ commitment against climate change as the nation marked Earth Day yesterday.

Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella reaffirmed the country’s stand in an Earth Day message.

“This occasion is a good reminder of the Philippines’ commitment to the global call to fight climate change and uphold climate justice as well as our country’s solidarity to the rest of the world in spreading that while we pursue economic development programs, we continuously aspire for sustainable, climate change-resilient living,” Abella said.

Earth Day is an annual event celebrated on April 22. Various events are held worldwide to demonstrate support for environmental protection. It is now being observed in more than 193 countries and events are coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network.

On Earth Day 2016, the Paris Agreement was signed by the United States and some 120 other countries. The Paris Agreement is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. It deals with greenhouse gases emissions mitigation, adaptation, and finance starting in the year 2020. So far, the treaty has 194 signatories.

President Duterte has signed the Paris Agreement on Climate Change Instrument of Accession late last February despite his many misgivings.

The Instrument of Accession was given to Duterte on January during the first Climate Change Commission and Advisory Board en banc meeting of his administration.

Duterte had previously expressed doubts on the treaty mainly because of the fund needed. According to Duterte, he found the treaty problematic as it does not state who will foot the fund of $5 billion and that those who will violate it will face no sanctions.

“You know as a lawyer, I try to read something before I sign. First, there is a $5-billion fund. The agreement does not state who gives it. Second is if there is violation, it leaves it at that. There is no sanction at all,” he said.

But despite finding these problems, Duterte announced that he would be signing the Paris Agreement because of the Cabinet’s unanimous vote.

Meanwhile, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle on Earth Day urged the faithful to protect God’s creation against acts of apathy, heartlessness, and greed.

“Our celebration of the Earth Day and the Divine Mercy Sunday offers a well-timed opportunity for all of us to gather together and manifest our unity to protect God’s creation from acts of apathy, heartlessness, and greed that contribute to climate change and harm human life and dignity,” Tagle said during yesterday’s eco-walk dubbed as “Earth Day, Mercy2Earth” at the Luneta Park in Manila. (Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos)