MANILA, Philippines – The decision of US President Donald Trump to pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement could have an adverse effect on efforts to address climate change, the Climate Change Commission (CCC) said yesterday.
In a statement, the climate body said the Philippines is “deeply troubled” by Trump’s move and urged him to reconsider his decision.
An official of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources said developing countries must unite and pressure the US not to withdraw from the landmark 2015 global agreement to fight climate change.
Two senators and the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC) also assailed Trump’s decision, calling it a step backwards.
Trump’s decision drew anger and condemnation from world leaders and heads of industry.
The US president, tapping into the “America First” message he used when he was elected president last year, said the Paris accord would undermine the US economy, cost jobs, weaken American national sovereignty and put the country at a permanent disadvantage to other countries of the world.
But the CCC said “the US, as the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases and, more importantly, one of the world leaders, would have played a key role in creating the much needed global paradigm shift towards a more climate-resilient and climate-smart future.”
The DENR official, who requested anonymity, said the US is a major contributor in terms of financial and technological support to agreements such as the Paris accord.
“Imagine if the US will withdraw its commitment, we will also lose the support it is providing,” the official said.
“The Philippines, though it gave its full commitment to the agreement, doesn’t have the capability to execute the terms of the agreement even if combined with the efforts of other countries… given the lack of resources,” the official said.
“Global protection should be everybody’s concern. Let us convince the US not to turn its back on the agreement.”
The CCC said the Philippines, as one of the most vulnerable countries to the adverse effects of climate change, “affirms its commitment to the Paris Agreement.”
“We recognize the need for all countries to work together to address the increases in global temperature, which have resulted and will continue to result in more intense and frequent typhoons and droughts for the Philippines, threatening the security of our people, the food and water needed to sustain them and their livelihoods,” the climate body said.
“We call on all other countries that are parties to the Paris Agreement to become even more vigilant in ensuring that the Paris Agreement achieves its goal, as the future of our children and this world depends on it,” it added.
The US was one of 195 nations that agreed to the accord in Paris in December 2015, a deal that former US president Barack Obama was instrumental in brokering. The US has committed to reduce its emissions by 26 percent to 28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025. The US, exceeded only by China in greenhouse gas emissions, accounts for more than 15 percent of the worldwide total.
Sens. Loren Legarda and Juan Miguel Zubiri also lamented Trump’s decision, saying the rest of world would have to work harder to reduce greenhouse gases.
“It is unfortunate that Mr. Trump decided to pull out from the Paris Agreement. The decision reeks of ignorance and condemns US foreign policy into infamy. It is truly a sad day, but we are not hopeless,” Legarda said in a statement.
Legarda, who chairs the Senate committee on climate change, said one way to mitigate the effects of Trump’s move is for US cities and states to enforce the Paris Agreement.
She noted the Americans are even eager to do their share to reduce greenhouse gases and they can continue to demand from their leaders and lead themselves along with the private sector.
Zubiri, a member of the committee, said other parties to the agreement must make sure they comply with the pact within the agreed timetable to help compensate for the US withdrawal.– With Paolo Romero, Helen Flores, Rhodina Villanueva