PH leaning towards declaration of climate emergency – DENR chief

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 12)— Programs and initiatives of the Philippine government are geared towards the declaration of a climate emergency, according to Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu.

In a statement over the weekend, Cimatu, who chairs the Cabinet Cluster on Climate Change Adaptation, Mitigation and Disaster Risk Reduction, said that declaring a climate emergency would help deepen the country’s commitment to protect the economy and environment from the adverse affects of climate change.

“The Philippines has already suffered billions of losses, damages and disruptions due to the impacts of hydrometeorological hazards, so there’s an urgent need to address more projected adverse impacts to ensure climate justice for the current and future generations of Filipinos,” Cimatu said. “All government programs and initiatives are leaning towards the declaration of climate emergency.”

The DENR chief pointed out that the Cabinet cluster on climate change has approved resolutions supporting strategies for the Philippines to achieve its goals under the Paris Agreement, an international deal that commits measures to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels.

These include the call for consolidated government data in a bid to generate a nationwide climate risk assessment.

“With the consolidated government data, which is very important in articulation of climate rationale for project proposal development, the local government units could be enabled to have easier access to the People’s Survival Fund for their climate change-related development projects,” Cimatu added.

Malacanang earlier assured that President Rodrigo Duterte will be considering the suggestion of environmental group Greenpeace Philippines, which has again called on the chief executive to declare a climate emergency.

Duterte, in his speech at the United Nations General Assembly in September, called on all parties to the Paris Agreement to honor their commitment to join in the fight against climate change, adding that the Philippines intends to do the same.