PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has had a change of heart and is now willing to allow the country’s ratification of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
Duterte said he made the decision after consulting his Cabinet, who were mostly in favor of the ratification.
“Ako naman it’s a Cabinet decision. I will go along with it, I will sign it,” the President said in a speech before the National Press Club officers in Malacañang.
Duterte said that the decision came after his Cabinet took a vote on the issue.
“After much debate, iyong climate change, pipirmahan ko because it’s a unanimous [Cabinet] vote except for one or two,” the President said.
The President previously expressed apprehension in ratifying the Paris Agreement believing it was unfair for the poorer countries more vulnerable to effects of climate change.
But Duterte said that if the country ratifies the agreement, there should be an assurance of the clauses being enforced by all countries.
In Paris last December, nearly 200 countries — including the Philippines under then President Benigno Aquino III — agreed on a binding global compact to slash greenhouse gases and keep global temperature increases to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius.
Manila promised to cut carbon emissions by 70 percent by year 2030, even if the country is not a major emitter.
Wealthy countries were also asked to set aside at least $100 billion yearly as financial assistance to developing countries to enable all countries to actualize renewable energy sources starting 2020.
Duterte had expressed reservations on the pact, saying cutting carbon emissions at a point when the Philippines’ economic rise is just starting will be unfair since industrialized countries have been giving off such emissions for decades. He said that he will not ratify the Paris Agreement, pointing out it was unfair for the poorer countries more vulnerable to effects of climate change.
The agreement came into force last Friday.