By Roy Stephen C. Canivel

Business group wants to meet Duterte on Paris climate deal

Posted on November 04, 2016

AS PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte and his Cabinet tackle the Paris climate change pact in its meeting Thursday night, the Federation of Philippine Industries (FPI) on Thursday said it wants to meet with Mr. Duterte regarding the agreement, citing the need to reach a “balanced” discussion after the President on Tuesday expressed openness toward the agreement if his advisers find it favorable.

Mr. Duterte had been critical of the 2015 Paris Agreement, prompting some in his own circle to say they will endeavor to convince him otherwise. Former President Fidel V. Ramos, in turn, criticized Mr. Duterte’s stand in a strongly worded op-ed piece on Saturday, Oct. 29.

FPI has reiterated its stance against the historic deal, citing the unfair burden imposed on developing nations as opposed to developed countries.

As of this reporting, “Briefing on the Paris Agreement and the Philippine climate policy” was listed among the items in the agenda of Thursday night’s Cabinet meeting, according to Communications Secretary Martin M. Andanar. “We are requesting the good President to give us a day, also, in court, so to speak. Bigyan din kami ng pagkakataon na marinig kami (Give us the opportunity to be heard). If he listens to his advisers and his NGOs, siguro naman, para balanced lang (perhaps, for balance), we are requesting the President to give the manufacturing [sector] a chance also,” FPI Chairman Jesus Lim Arranza said in a phone interview on Thursday.

One hundred ninety-seven (197) nations, including the Philippines, took part in the December 2015 accord in Paris to stop global warming by 2ÂșC above pre-industrial levels and avert the calamities that have been caused by climate change. The Philippines had pledged to reduce by 2030 greenhouse gas emissions by 70% -- which is “just an indicative number” conditional upon each country’s capability, as Mr. Ramos pointed out in his Manila Bulletin article.

The agreement required the ratification of at least 55 Parties to the Convention accounting for at least an estimated 55% of the total global greenhouse gas emissions. On Oct. 5, the 55% threshold for entry into force of the Paris agreement was met.

Although the Philippines has signed the accord in 2015 under the previous administration of Benigno S. C. Aquino III, it is still not legally bound to the terms of the deal since it hasn’t ratified it yet.

The country only accounts for 0.3% of the entire global share of carbon footprint, said Mr. Arranza, compared with the United States and China which account for huge chunks of the carbon footprint.

Dehado naman tayo masyado (We’re on the losing end),” Mr. Arranza said, adding that the country needs to keep its use of baseload power plants.

“We need a baseload [because] in the event of rainy season wala ang solar mo (you have no solar). In the event of water shortage wala ang hydro mo (you have no hydro). When you say baseload, it would give you power day and night, typhoon or no typhoon. You need that because that would sustain operations of the manufacturing firms,” Mr. Arranza added. -- with Ian Nicolas P. Cigaral