(2017-03-14)The senate of the Philippines – one of the world’s most vulnerable nations to extreme weather – has voted unanimously to ratify the Paris Agreement on climate change.
On Tuesday, the 22 upper house members unanimously passed a resolution agreeing to enter into the accord.
The Philippines’ populist president Rodrigo Duterte has vacillated on the agreement, last year saying his government would not honour it and describing curbs on the country’s greenhouse gas emissions as “nonsense”.
His cabinet – and former US secretary of state John Kerry – reportedly convinced him to back the pact, which calls on countries to make voluntary commitments to limit their emissions.
Parts of the country still rebuilding after Supertyphoon Haiyan, which in 2013 killed more than 6,000 people and made hundreds of thousands homeless. Climate scientists predict the Philippines’ exposure to tropical cyclones will be made worse by rising sea levels and warmer, more violent storm conditions.
Senator Loren Legarda, chair of the senate subcommittee on the Paris Agreement, said joining the accord would be remembered as one of the government’s “shining achievements”.
“The Paris Agreement is a testament of solidarity and a call for global climate action. It shows that developing nations and the developed countries could pursue climate action and uphold climate justice together,” she said.
“This accord is a manifesto for climate justice. It also allows our country access to international climate finance mechanisms and to acquire support from developed countries for adaptation, mitigation, technology development and transfer, and capacity building.”
According to the UN climate convention’s website, 135 out of 197 parties have now ratified the accord. It passed the threshold to enter into force last year.