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Duterte Gives Green Light for Paris Agreement on Climate Change

President Rodrigo Duterte has finally signed the landmark Paris Agreement on Climate Change. This pact is the first-ever legally-binding global deal on climate change signed by almost all countries in the world. It was inked IN December 2015 by almost 200 nations who are parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Duterte has previously publicly denounced this accord for unfairly restraining developing countries from growing their economies. He also doubted its capability to guarantee that developed countries will provide assistance to poorer nations while they transition their economies to become more resilient and less pollutive. He added that access to the so-caled Green Climate Fund was likewise not clear.

However, in a surprising but welcome turn of events for environmentalists, Duterte agreed to sign the document, called Instrument of Ratification, and has already transmitted it to the Senate. Upon approval by the Senate, the agreement becomes a treaty. At present, more than 130 countries have already undergone the same process of ratification and approval.

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III earlier expressed confidence that the Philippines will eventually ratify and approve this game-changing covenant that requires signatories to commit to reduce carbon emissions by 70% by 2030 in exchange for assistance from the international community. With this new development, the Philippines will already be qualified to access the US$100 billion dedicated for programs and projects related to or relevant to climate mitigation and climate adaptation.

Environment Secretary Gina Lopez, for her part, praised the move of Duterte. “This clearly and convincingly shows the dedication and commitment of the President to protect our people from the disastrous effects of climate change as well as his willingness for the Philippines to contribute our share in this global effort for the protection, preservation and the promotion of the environment.”

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