Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has made a turn-around from his opposition to ratify a global pact aimed at taming climate change.
After earlier describing the pact as “crazy,” President Duterte on Monday, November 7, reversed his opposition to the historic United Nations (UN) agreement, which has already been ratified by 55 member-nations of the world body.
President Duterte earlier said the Paris agreement is “crazy” because the pact would curtail efforts at industrialization by developing countries like the Philippines.
But President Duterte said he is now agreeing to have the agreement ratified after consulting with his Cabinet.
Although President Duterte said he still had misgivings about the Paris Agreement, he said his Cabinet members overwhelmingly disagreed with his position, according to a report by state-owned Philipines News Agency.
“After so much debate (on) the climate change (agreement), I will sign it because (there) was a unanimous vote (by the Cabinet),” President Duterte told reporters in Malacanang.
The Philippines last year signed up with the rest of the world to the pact, which aims to cap global warming at well below two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), and 1.5 Celsius if possible, compared with pre-industrial levels.
However shortly after taking office on June 30, President Duterte criticised the commitments made by the administration of his predecessor President Benigno Aquino.
Those commitments were to cut emissions of the greenhouse gases blamed for global warming by 70 percent by 2030 from 2000 levels, on condition it got support from developed nations to convert to clean technologies.
When he railed in July against the Philippines’ commitments, President Duterte said the agreement would stop developing countries from industrialising by burning fossil fuels — as rich nations had done.
“There is no treaty to honour. We have not signed the treaty,” President Duterte said then.
“If you will not allow us to reach parity, you are already there and we are still here, then I’m saying that’s crazy. I will not agree to that.”
However the Paris Agreement does indeed allow for developing nations to continue to burn fossil fuels.
President Duterte’s cabinet members, some other lawmakers and one of his most important political allies, ex-president Fidel Ramos, said following those comments that they would try to educate the President about the Philippines’ climate future.
Committing to the pact is a two-step process. The first occurred with the initial pledges and agreement in Paris last year. The second is a formal ratification.
The pact went into force last week after 55 parties to the UN’s climate convention (UNFCCC), responsible for at least 55 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, ratified it. (PNA)