President Rodrigo R. Duterte said on Monday he will sign the Paris Agreement on climate change which seeks to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius.
”After so much debate, the climate change (agreement), I will sign it,” President Duterte said in his message during the oath-taking of the newly-elected National Press Club (NPC) officers at the Heroes’ Hall in Malacanang.
President Duterte said he decided to sign the agreement after most of his Cabinet members voted in favor of what has been described as a landmark global deal to cut harmful carbon emissions that are causing climate change.
”Because it is a Cabinet decision, I will go along with it and sign it because the vote was unanimous except for one or two. I’m one of the two who are arguing about it,” he said.
”As I have promised you, I will not solve this problem alone. I will give it, place it on the table, give the whole of the Cabinet to vote,” he added.
The President said it took several hours for the Cabinet members to discuss the issue due to the carbon emission reduction committed by the previous administration by 2030.
”What they’re asking from us is only 0.3 percent but our national law says that over the years, we will have to reduce it by 70 percent. We’ll overshoot it by a thousand miles,” President Duterte said.
He said if the law will not be amended, “it imposes a more stringent and strict number.”
The President initially opposed the ratification of the agreement, saying it will prevent the Philippines from achieving economic and industrial growth target.
”They were blabbering their mouth about not my signing. I did not have a single, even one page paper before in front of me. So what do I sign? What do I study?,” the President said.
”When I said I was not into it, I was only expressing my expression. I don’t lose the freedom of expression just because I’m the President. I’m not barred from giving my own opinion just because I’m the President,” he added.
The Philippines was one of the 195 countries that agreed to the Paris Agreement during the 21st Conference of the Parties or COP21 in France last year.
President Duterte said that after reading the agreement, he found out that though the treaty provides sanction, “it does not say about payment of damages that you will incur in a storm like Yolanda.” (Jelly F. Musico/PNA)