Environmental groups hope PH delegation pushes for climate finance in COP26

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 31) – Greenpeace Southeast Asia and World Wide Fund for Nature Philippines call on the Philippine delegation to the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (UN COP26) to champion climate finance and accountability from developed countries.

The Philippines is among the nearly 200 countries that will attend the UN COP26 from Oct. 31 to Nov. 12 in Glasgow, Scotland. The summit also comes nearly six years after the creation of the Paris Agreement, which mandates nations to curb the effects of climate change.

Both groups say the event is particularly significant for the Philippines, given that the country is among the most vulnerable nations to climate change. Greenpeace Southeast Asia Executive Director Yeb Saño says the delegation should take a stand on issues like global climate finance and carbon offsets.

"What is important as a vulnerable country is that there is progress in pledges, climate finance, carbon offsets, loss and damage. What we hope to achieve as a delegation is to see developed countries being able to ratchet up their pledges," he added.

WWF Philippines Climate Programme Head Angela Ibay said the decisions that will be made at UN COP26 will have an effect on the country's long-term plans. She hopes developed nations will announce more ambitious goals, concrete plans and pledges.

"It's very critical that we also have funding for adaptation purposes because we know we are impacted by climate change and it does cost a lot to be able to rebuild, to adapt to it," she said.

RELATED: What is COP26? How the pivotal UN conference could avert global climate 'catastrophe' 

PH delegation at UN COP26

Finance Secretary and Climate Change Commission Chairman-Designate Sonny Dominguez will lead the country's delegation at COP26. He called on developed nations to deliver on their promises in the climate change fight.

"We need the Western countries to take responsibility for having contributed and continue to contribute the most to greenhouse gas emissions. They must be given the greater burden of paying for the grants, investments, and subsidies needed for the most climate-vulnerable countries to mitigate the effects of global warming," he said at an online meeting.

Dominguez will also present the “Sustainable Finance Roadmap,” which includes policies to help transition into a greener economy. He hopes this will serve as a blueprint on how to mainstream climate change to the financial sector.

Greenpeace SEA and WWF Philippines welcome the presence of Dominguez, saying this will be a strong signal on the country's position on climate finance. They also hope he pushes for accountability from developed countries.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddyboy Locsin will also join the delegation, along with representatives from the DOF, DFA, Environment department and Energy department. No other member of the Climate Change Commission (CCC) is part of the delegation.

Saño said there should have been at least one representative from the CCC and civil society in the delegation. He said CCC members can provide previous positions and deals the country had in past talks.

He also questioned why there were supposedly no consultations between environmental groups and the delegation. Being a former CCC Commissioner and chief negotiator in high-level climate talks, he said it's important to know the situation on the ground.

"When I was chief negotiator, we share that information with stakeholders so alam nila ‘yung dala-dala natin na position. Ngayon, we don't even know what they are going to say…because there were no consultations. I don't think the delegation will negotiate effectively," he said.

[Translation: When I was chief negotiator, we share that information with stakeholders so they know our position. Now, we don't even know what they are going to say…because there were no consultations. I don't think the delegate will negotiate effectively]

However, Saño said the lean delegation may also be a result of the limitations and glaring inequalities among nations brought about by the pandemic.

PH plans to curb climate change

In April, the Philippines pledged to cut local carbon emissions by 75% by 2030. The country contributes only 0.3% to the total greenhouse gas emissions. This goal is part of the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) in accordance with the Paris Agreement.

Environmental groups say the conditional target (around 72%) is a tall order, but can be achieved with climate finance and the push for renewable energy. As of 2019, nearly half of the local energy supply comes from non-renewable sources like oil, coal and gas.

"It would require transformation of our energy sector, of our transport sector, of our industrial production sector as well as a clear program to protect our forests. But most of that are already in the government plans. What we do need is the climate finance and technology must be forthcoming from the industrialized countries," Saño said.

Ibay says the government can be more ambitious in its unconditional goals. She believes the country can explore the existing proposals and policies on renewable energy.

"If they're really serious about climate resiliency for the country, increasing that (unconditional goal) more provides a bigger signal of the priority of the government and the seriousness that we place on what we want to do for our NDC," she added.

Ibay says curbing climate change should be a holistic approach involving individuals, civil society, businesses and government. She hopes the leaders elected in the 2022 elections will have policies on climate change in their plans.