MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday called on the wealthy countries to fulfill their “moral obligation” to support actions against climate change.
In a keynote speech during the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Duterte said rich nations should deliver on their financial pledges to address the impacts of climate change in developing countries.
“Developed countries must fulfill their longstanding commitment to climate financing, technology transfer, and capacity-building in the developing world. This is a moral obligation that cannot be avoided,” Duterte said.
Duterte said the shift to a green economy, which builds social equity while reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities, “must not be at the expense of developing countries’ economic vitality.”
“It simply cannot be — or it would be another travesty of justice,” he said.
Duterte also said the world is now facing a “critical tipping point,” adding that failure to act on climate change would lead to “cataclysmic consequences for the whole of humankind.”
He then asked all countries, especially those that can “truly tip the balance,” to take necessary actions to mitigate the impacts of climate change.
“We therefore appeal for urgent climate action,” Duterte said. “Climate change has also exposed the varying vulnerabilities of countries around the globe. The risks and burden of a warming climate are simply not the same for everyone. The greatest injustice here is that those who suffer the most are those the least responsible for this existential crisis.”
Duterte also cautioned that efforts to fight climate change would be “useless” if “biggest” polluters continue to choose “business as usual.”
For its part, the Philippines accepts its share of responsibility and will do its part to address climate change, Duterte said.
Duterte said the Philippines has already submitted its first Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), with a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 75 percent by 2030.
The NDC represents the country’s goal of modernizing and pursuing low carbon and resilient development for the agriculture, waste, industry, transport and energy sectors over the 2020-2030 period.
Duterte added that he has also issued a moratorium on the construction of new coal power plants, as well as a directive to explore the nuclear energy option. (PNA)