Manila not optimistic on coming climate talks

Posted on November 15, 2012

THE TALKS on climate change in Qatar towards the end of the month are unlikely to produce concrete results insofar as the Philippines is concerned as global commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions expire by yearend, an official said yesterday.

"We still don’t have an idea on how to deal with climate change because when it comes to the international negotiation in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; we are looking at the economic implication of doing climate change initiatives especially on the definition side," Mary Ann Lucille L. Sering, secretary of the Climate Change Commission, told reporters in a briefing.

Climate change initiatives have been viewed in light of adaptation and reduction of greenhouse gas emission, she said, while there are separate discussions on disaster preparedness.

Talks on both issues must be integrated, an approach that is applicable for the Philippines, Ms. Sering said.

"We have seen how [tropical storm] Ondoy [international name: Ketsana], which is relatively weak, hammered us and [brought about damage] that is 2.7% of our gross domestic product. While tropical storm Sendong [Washi] in Cagayan de Oro City, which is relatively smaller, caused us debts but nonetheless the damage is smaller than Ondoy," she explained.

Ondoy in late 2009 inundated most of Metro Manila and surrounding provinces, killing over a thousand people and damage pegged at ₱11 billion, according to the National Statistical Coordination Board. Sendong struck the industrial corridor of Northern Mindanao in December last year and also resulted in over a thousand deaths but damage was much less than Ondoy’s.

Based on results of the most recent ministerial meeting last Oct. 22-23 in Seoul, South Korea, Ms. Sering said there is an emerging consensus to extend the Kyoto Protocol.

"The Philippine position for a second commitment period in the Kyoto Protocol is five years, while developed countries are seeking at an eight-year extension," Ms. Sering said.

The commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emission took effect in February 2005 in line with the protocol that was adopted in December 1997. The agreement is aimed at cutting emissions of developed countries by 5.2% by 2012 from 1990 levels. -- GPLG