Climate-vulnerable nations eye stronger bid vs. greenhouse gases

By Catherine J. Teves

MANILA, Nov. 9 (PNA) — The Philippines and other countries most vulnerable to climate change are preparing to collectively deliver, during climate negotiations in Paris this year, a stronger push for more international reduction of human-induced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Such push aims to limit global temperature rise to 1.5¤C so climate chaos can be avoided.

On Monday (Nov. 9), representatives of countries comprising the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) met in Metro Manila to discuss the push for more international GHG emission reduction.

“The meeting serves to set the countries’ agenda and key messages for the Paris conference,” Philippine Climate Change Commission (CCC) Asst. Sec. Joyceline Goco said at the CVF senior officials’ meeting.

She noted the two-day meeting is also an opportunity for CVF countries to help shape critical climate change policy decisions and articulate shared interests.

CVF is an international partnership of small countries that are highly vulnerable to Earth’s warming and the climate change this produces.

This year, the Philippines assumed CVF’s presidency which Costa Rica held from 2013 to 2014.

Experts continue warning about GHG emissions, noting these accumulate in the atmosphere and trap heat there so temperature rises and this results in climate change.

They said climate change’s impacts on the Philippines areincreasing frequency of extreme weather events as well as sea level and temperature rise.

The Paris talks target sealing a new global GHG emission reduction deal.

Environment advocate Sen. Loren Legarda reiterated urgency for reducing GHG emissions, noting the 0.8¤C average global temperature since 1880 is already driving “unprecedented” extreme events like severe drought, more intense tropical cyclones and record flooding.

“The signs are all around us – clearly, we must take urgent climate action,” she said at the forum.

Members of CVF aren’t major GHG emitters but are most at risk for climate change so such action must be carried out, she noted.

“We can no longer take the matter sitting down,” she said.

During the meeting, CVF officials concerned aim finalizing the Manila-Paris Declaration covering the countries’ climate action and priorities.

The countries target launching in Metro Manila this week such declaration and CVF’s 2016-2018 Roadmap.

Inter-governmental cooperative action and exchange of best climate change adaptation and mitigation practices will be major components of the roadmap, noted CVF.

CVF believes the declaration and roadmap will serve as important inputs to discussions during the Paris climate negotiations.

Earlier, countries submitted to UN Framework Convention on Climate Change respective intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs).

INDCs are key to the negotiations in Paris as these comprise countries’ pledges or planned action for reducing respective GHG emissions so the international community can address climate change.

Legarda cited need for more global GHG emission reduction action, however.

The submitted INDCs are inadequate and won’t limit globaltemperature rise to 1.5¤C, she noted.

Studies indicate the INDCs’ combined commitments will still lead to a 2.7¤C temperature rise by 2030, she continued.

“Studies project that under a 2.0¤C scenario, there’ll be a 20 percent decline in water availability across many regions as well as 15 percent to 20 percent decrease in crop yield – at 2.7¤C, there’ll be death, destruction, damage to livelihood,” she said, highlighting need for more GHG emission reduction.

CVF groups Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Barbados, Bhutan, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Kiribati, Madagascar, Maldives, Nepal, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Since its establishment in 2009, CVF has been active in promoting cooperation, knowledge and awareness on climate change-related issues. (PNA)