By Roy Mabasa
The decision of United States President Donald Trump to withdraw from the historic Paris Agreement “reeks of ignorance and condemns US foreign policy into infamy,” according to Sen. Loren Legarda, a notable advocate of Climate Change Awareness.
In a statement issued Friday, Legarda, co-head of the Philippine delegation to the Paris Climate Agreement, expressed optimism that although it is unfortunate that President Trump decided to pull out from the Paris Agreement, the “rest of the world will continue to find ways of solving the climate crisis because for vulnerable countries like the Philippines, this is a matter of survival.”
“It is truly a sad day, but we are not hopeless,” she said. “The way forward is for US cities and states to enforce it. Americans are even eager to do their share. They can continue to demand from their leaders and lead themselves. The private sector can be the game changer.”
The Paris Agreement is an accord within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) dealing with greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance starting in the year 2020.
The language of the agreement was negotiated by representatives of 195 countries at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC in Paris and adopted by consensus on Dec. 12, 2015. It was opened for signature on April 22, 2016 (Earth Day) at a ceremony in New York. As of June 2017, 195 UNFCCC members have signed the agreement, 148 of which have ratified it. After several European Union states ratified the agreement in October 2016, there were enough countries that had ratified the agreement that produce enough of the world’s greenhouse gases for the agreement to enter into force. The agreement went into effect on Nov. 4, 2016.
The Paris Agreement was ratified by President Duterte in February this year.
Read more: Duterte signs Paris Agreement for PH
Last Thursday, President Trump proclaimed he was withdrawing the US from the Paris climate accord and that he was open to renegotiating aspects of the agreement.
He said he was open to rebrokering US carbon reduction commitments, but did not express any urgency in bringing the US back into the deal, which he claimed placed “draconian” financial burdens on the American people.
Trump said his announcement would end the implementation of carbon reduction targets set under the Obama administration, which aimed to reduce emissions by 26-28 percent in a decade. He also declared the US would stall all contributions to the United Nations’ Green Climate Fund, which the US leader said was “costing the United States a fortune.”
Reacting to President Trump’s move, Legarda, who was awarded by the UN Environmental Program (UNEP) for her work on the environment, pointed out that the shift toward low-carbon, resilient economy is underway, “there’s no turning back especially for leaders who are enlightened, for nations who understand the risks of inaction to their people.”
She pointed out that countries supporting the Paris Agreement, industry leaders and even the financial markets are uniting toward stronger climate action.
“It is morally just and offers the planet the prospect of continued economic progress. We need to work harder together for the sake of our only planet and the future generations,” said Legarda, chair of the Senate committee on climate change and finance.
Read more: Trump pulls US out of global climate pact
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