THE Philippines is on track to comply with the global goal of keeping temperatures from rising beyond 1.5 degrees celsius as prescribed in the Paris Agreement.

Senator Loren B. Legarda, chair of Senate committees on climate change and finance, made this announcement during an international climate change conference held in Bonn, Germany from November 6 to 13.

“Rest assured I shall do everything in my power to ensure that the Philippines’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) will soon be rated 1.5˚C-compatible…,” Ms. Legarda said at an event organized by the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) at the 23rd Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 23) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

In her speech, Ms. Legarda cited the report of Climate Action Tracker released last week that said “only Morocco and Gambia have NDCs that are compatible with 1.5˚C.”

“And four out of the five countries which have 2˚C-compatible climate action plans are also members of the CVF such as Bhutan, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, and the Philippines,” she said at the “Innovative Climate Finance Strategies and Instruments by and for Climate Vulnerable Countries.”

CVF is an international alliance of countries highly vulnerable to a warming planet, which also created the Vulnerable 20 (V20), consisting of Finance Ministers from its member-states.

“To start, we need climate-responsive plans and policies that would allow us to upgrade virtually all facets of our economies, which can only produce massive jobs and pump prime our economies. This can be done by first filling the staggering gap in local and national climate data through a research framework that encompasses both the rapid onset and slow onset impacts of climate change. Having a deep understanding of our vulnerabilities will enable us to plan better and smarter,” Ms. Legarda said.

At another side event, the Senator underscored the need for the Philippine government “to foster an enabling environment that would attract low-carbon investments from the private sector and address the uncertainties and risks that restrain lending institutions and private banks from engaging in these mitigation investments.”

Despite challenges and limited resources,“the Philippines is accomplishing what it can to confront the climate crisis and promote sustainable development, saying that the Philippines has ratified and become party to the Paris Agreement,” she said.

“We have mainstreamed climate and geo-tagging into our budget processes. We have set up a People’s Survival Fund, which provides over a billion pesos each year for local government and community initiatives to fight climate change. We have enacted a Renewable Energy law and a Green Jobs Act. We are developing policies on carbon pricing and green banking. We intend to impose a tax on coal. And we are greening our hospitals,” Ms. Legarda said.

The Senator also clarified that as a developing country, “the Philippines needs the technical and financial support to pursue more ambitious climate action as indicated in its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC).” — Arjay L. Balinbin