Duterte questions U.S. pullout from Paris deal on climate change

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President Rodrigo Roa Duterte speaks at the Asia-Pacific Healthy Islands Conference 2018.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 26) — President Rodrigo Duterte said he could not understand why the United States pulled out from the Paris agreement which mandates member countries to curb the effects of climate change.

"I don't know why... I have to fathom the reason given the rationale of the withdrawal. Is it because it cannot work hand-in-hand with other nations, or is it because (Donald) Trump would like to do it alone?" Duterte said in the  Asia-Pacific Healthy Islands Conference in Davao City Wednesday.

In June 2017, U.S. President Trump announced their country's pullout from the accord — the only country in the world to have done so — calling for "fair treatment" in the deal to cut carbon emissions. Trump had asked for re-brokering their country's carbon reduction commitments.

U.S. ranks as the second largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, according to the latest World Bank data.

Duterte said he has his doubts if the Philippines could tell  the U.S. and other industrialized nations to stick to the deal.

"There has to be an enterprise in the approach: business-like, you honor your word," Duterte said. "You do not exceed the limits that we have set for ourselves. And the one thing that I said we cannot really control are those countries who are highly industrialized and powerful enough to impose their own will. That's the problem."

He then reiterated the effects of climate change that continues to impact not only certain vulnerable countries, but everyone.

"A one degree increase in the temperature would be disastrous. The resources of the oceans are getting to be constricted and very small. There's not enough fish really to feed  and the biggest sources are really our oceans and our seas," he said.

Duterte signed the Paris agreement in March 2017. The agreement, signed by over 195 countries, seeks to pursue efforts to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels.

Excessive climate change trips

But the President slammed the excessive trips of delegates who always go to climate change fora.

"Tell you what. To date, I have fired something like 16...three department secretaries, cabinet members, and 16 undersecretaries. Why? So much travel, there's a climate change (forum) in Africa, and they are there. There's a climate change (forum) in New Zealand, and they are there en masse. Now, there's a climate change (forum) in Tokyo, they are there. Every department sends somebody who does not even know the definition of a climate and how it changes," he said.

He then said he would insist on having only one representative from the Climate Change Commission to attend international fora. He added he might join this representative, if he would like to.

CNN Philippines' Senior Digital Producer Pia Garcia contributed to this report.