PHL all set for Paris climate talks

By Catherine J. Teves

MANILA, Nov. 25 (PNA) — The Philippine government is all set for this year’s climate negotiations in Paris.

Climate Change Commission (CCC) Commissioner Emmanuel de Guzman said the government has already formed its team of 50 to 58 negotiators who’ll push the Philippines’ bid for a universal climate agreement that’s aimed at limiting climate change-driving global temperature rise tobelow 1.5°C.

“We feel the 2°C target in the draft agreement is insufficient,” he said Wednesday (Nov. 25) at a briefing in Metro Manila.

He noted temperature rise is already driving extreme weather events – particularly in the Philippines and other developing countries – so increase in warming must be limited already by further reducing greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.

De Guzman heads the country’s team of climate negotiators at Paris.

He declined to name the members of the team but said they are from CCC, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), other government agencies with climate change-related concerns as well as Office of the Presidential Adviser on Environmental Protection.

A number of the team’s members are veterans of climate negotiations in previous years, he noted.

“Our team is fully prepared to negotiate,” he said.

Such preparation is essential as various concerns hound the bid to seal a climate deal in Paris this year, he noted.

“An agreement in Paris will be within reach through countries’ unity and resolve to act now,” he clarified, however.

De Guzman said failure of the forthcoming climate negotiations isn’t an option for the Philippines.

“The negotiations may extend for a few days after Dec. 11 but we’re not considering a failure scenario – everything will be done to ensure success in Paris,” he said.

Government “may not be fully satisfied” with an agreement targeting a 1.5°C temperature rise cap and may have to look at the climate deal in its entirety, he continued.

Aside from the climate negotiators, De Guzman said civil society organizations, consultants from various sectors and youth representatives are part of the Philippine delegation to Paris.

He said the youth’s involvement is essential as this sector will bear the brunt of climate change if global temperature continues rising.

The Philippine delegation is divided into two groups – one to negotiate and the other to participate in special side events, he noted.

“We want to be present in all sessions and will engage in all discussions,” he said.

De Guzman will monitor all meetings.

“DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) has also set up a system of reporting and consolidating outcome of every session,” he said further.

This month’s terrorist attack in Paris prompted the government to prepare for possible untoward incidents there during the climate negotiations.

Government set a contingency plan for the Philippine delegation, De Guzman said.

He added the government also already gathered contact details of the delegation members’ relatives so they can be contacted if necessary. (PNA)