Following Biden, Duterte now eyes climate change

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    PRESIDENTIAL spokesman Harry Roque has affirmed that the Duterte administration is determined to take measures to further mitigate the impact of climate change. He called on the Filipino to support this new government initiative.

    We call this “new” because President Duterte has time and again scoffed at climate change as something that does not concern the nation, and that the responsibility to cut down on carbon emissions should be on the shoulders of the advanced economies of the West.

    Roque tackled the need for collective action, noting that he was not surprised that the Philippines is among the top 10 most affected countries by extreme weather events.

    ‘… the Philippines has long been identified as one of the countries most vulnerable to climate hazards, such as typhoons, flooding, landslides, and droughts.’

    It could be that Duterte is following the example of newly elected United States President Joseph Biden who signed an executive order at the White House just hours after being sworn in, to reverse the previous administration’s withdrawal from the 2015 Paris accord, which seeks to limit global warming and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    Biden’s singular act as a known environmentalist was even praised by the chief of the United Nations, who said, “I warmly welcome President Biden’s steps to re-enter the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and join the growing coalition of governments, cities, states, businesses and people taking ambitious action to confront the climate crisis.”

    The US was among 194 countries that signed the agreement in December 2015 under then President, Barack Obama.

    Two years later, the Trump administration announced the country would withdraw from the treaty, a decision which became effective last November.

    Roque, meanwhile, admits that the Philippines has long been identified as one of the countries most vulnerable to climate hazards, such as typhoons, flooding, landslides, and droughts. We are therefore not surprised that we are number 4 in terms of long-term climate risk index (CRI) from a study done from 1999 to 2018.

    He assured the public that the government is taking all necessary steps to strengthen our capacity to mitigate and address the effects of climate change. And that to accomplish this task, the cooperation of all citizens is needed.

    The issue of climate change is important to the nation and to the world, and it is time that we heed Malacañang Palace’s call for acceptance and cooperation in this regard.

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