CURRENT SOCIETAL CONCERNS
Elpidio V. Peria
2 October 2016
The Action for Economic Reform roundtable discussion last September 30, 2016 @ Discovery Suites Hotel, Pasig City (EVPeria)
Mr. Aaron Veloso, Acting Cabinet Secretary of the Duterte administration, said that the Philippines will recalculate the Philippine contribution to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, in response to a query during the open forum of the Action for Economic Reform’s roundtable discussion on its study Economic Transformation, Equality, Resilience: Challenges for the Duterte Administration and Beyond, held at Discovery Suites Hotel, in Pasig City last Friday, 30 September 2016.
“There will be a recalculation of the 70% contribution”, this was the response of Mr. Aaron Veloso, Acting Cabinet Secretary of the Duterte Administration, in response to a question raised by Elpidio V. Peria of the Biodiversity, Innovation, Trade & Society (BITS) Policy Center, Inc., who initially asked about the seriousness of the Duterte Administration in dealing with the issue of climate change and having gotten a positive answer, followed it up with the question on whether the Philippines will submit the same GHG emissions cut of 70% until 2030.
Last October 2015, under the leadership of Climate Change Commission Vice-Chair Lucille Sering, the Philippines submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) of 70% greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions cut by 2030 relative to its business as usual scenario (BAU) of 2000-2030, to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change covering the energy, transport, waste, forestry and industry sectors. This contribution is conditional and is dependent on the country receiving the necessary financial and technological support.
Under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change to which the Philippines joined other countries of the world in adopting last November 2015, each country a Party to the Paris Agreement will have to submit a document called Nationally Determined Contribution which will be its share of effort in reducing the greenhouse gas that is already in the atmosphere.
While the Philippines is not a major emitter of greenhouse gases having emitted roughly 0.34% of the global total of GHG emissions in 2010, it has consistently supported international action to address the problem of climate change
This matter of recalculation of this number of 70% will have to be further scrutinized and many questions will need to be answered, like : whether the number will remain the same as a result of this recalculation exercise or will there be other sectors that may be added, like, agriculture or the coastal ecosystems or whether the final number that will be submitted will be a combination of conditional and unconditional contributions.
This may either be taken up in the Senate hearings for the ratification of the Paris Agreement or even the House of Representatives Special Committee on Climate Change, which may seek to look closely at the assumptions behind the figures set aside as basis for the contribution and identify how measures that will carry out these cuts may have to be funded from the general appropriations, which is within the power of the House of Representatives to decide, or from other sources, like from the current climate finance mechanisms within and outside the UNFCCC.
As mentioned by Mr. Veloso, he said that the Duterte Administration will consult with all sectors of Philippine society on what the appropriate level of emissions cuts the Philippines would eventually submit to the UNFCCC; he also mentioned, in response to another query, there is a new cabinet cluster created, the Cluster on Participatory Governance, which demonstrates the desire of the Duterte Administration to make the people a partner in its approach to governing the country.