Now that the President has acceded to the Paris Agreement on climate change, Senator Loren Legarda stressed the importance of limiting global warming to 1.5°C.
Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change and UN Global Champion for Resilience, said that in President Rodrigo Duterte’s letter to the Senate with the Instrument of Accession, he mentioned the Agreement’s goal to “pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5oC above pre-industrial levels.”
“When the world came together to produce the Paris Agreement in December 2015, all nations agreed to limit warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius. In that pact, now already in force, we committed to pursue reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions to ensure temperatures would even be half a degree lower at just 1.5 degrees. Half a degree Celsius-it doesn’t sound like much, but it’s a number that could transform the face of the world as we know it,” she said.
The Senator explained that the Philippines led the call for the 1.5°C limit on behalf of more than 40 developing countries of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF).
“The 1.5°C limit is part of our call for climate justice. If we breach it, we lose so much lives and render so much suffering for all species,” she stressed.
The 2016 Low Carbon Monitor, a report commissioned by the CVF, estimates that keeping to a 1.5°C limit could raise growth economic output by as much as 1% by the 2040s, since so many of the devastating impacts associated with higher levels of warming would be avoided.
Legarda said that the 1.5°C limit can only be achieved with an unchanging collective resolve for immediate and drastic action at global and local levels as called for by the Paris Agreement. Developed countries take accountability for their historical GHG emissions, lead in reductions, and at the same time mobilize climate finance for the needs and priorities of developing countries.
“While adaptation is our priority since we are highly vulnerable to climate risks, we should also strive to mitigate or reduce our carbon emissions as part of our aim to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Our efforts will be to mitigate as we adapt: mitigation as a function of adaptation. For instance, as we plant and rehabilitate our forests to increase our carbon sink, we also help reduce disaster risks, since forests serve as natural buffer against landslides, storm surge and tsunami. We should also start transitioning to a low carbon economy not only by promoting renewable energy sources but also through energy conservation,” said Legarda.
“Time is of the essence in climate action. We need to carry out action plans that embrace the 1.5°C goal. This is crucial because our country is among the most at risk of climate impacts, especially sea level rise. As long as there is a chance to stop global warming at a level that lets humanity survive and thrive, we should seize it,” Legarda concluded.