MANILA has called for the end to the debate and the start of climate action as countries like the Philippines are already sinking and experiencing more violent typhoons.

In his address to world leaders at the 26th United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said climate change is very real for the Philippines.

Dominguez said given the risks and the lives at stake, it is time to end the climate debate and begin implementing concrete actions to meet their commitments and obligations to humankind.

“We account only for three-tenths of 1 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions. Yet, we bear the brunt of the consequences of climate change,” Dominguez said on Tuesday.

“Our country is sinking four times faster than the global average. Annually, we are confronted with extreme floods and droughts as well as increasing severity and frequency of typhoons. Millions of lives are at stake,” he said.

Dominguez is the Chairman-designate of the country’s Climate Change Commission (CCC), and heads the Philippine delegation to the two-week COP26.

He said the laundry list is quite long when it comes to climate action. He noted that for one, countries need to flesh out a framework for climate justice.

“Unthinking industrialization,” Dominguez said, has led to the high pollution of the environment in the past 200 years. Countries who benefited from industrialization should pay for grants, investments, and subsidies for vulnerable countries.

Dominguez noted that developed countries have fallen short on their commitment formalized at the 16th COP meeting to mobilize $100 billion per year by 2020 to assist developing countries in fighting climate change.

“We have very high expectations for this COP26 meeting to become not just merely an annual platform for discussion but a catalyst for concrete action plans. It’s time that we do some actual work on the ground and build a framework for climate justice,” Dominguez said in delivering the Philippines’s country statement at COP26.

On the part of the Philippine government, Dominguez said its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the Paris Agreement, the Philippines has set a bold and ambitious commitment of projected greenhouse gas emission reduction and avoidance of 75 percent from 2020 to 2030 for the agriculture, wastes, industry, transport, and energy sectors.

Among the concrete actions that the Philippines has initiated to fight climate change are: (1) its first-ever Sustainable Finance Roadmap to deploy the engines of finance to get green projects moving across the country, and (2) pushing a law banning single-use plastics so that Filipinos can do t heir part every day in saving the world’s environment, Dominguez said.

Another initiative, he said, is the Philippines’s partnership with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) on a landmark Energy Transition Mechanism (ETM) project to speed up the retirement of coal-fired plants in the country and the transition to clean energy, which followed President Duterte’s declaration of a moratorium on new coal plants.

To move ahead with urgency in fulfilling its ambitious NDC target and implementing practical climate adaptation and mitigation projects on the ground, Dominguez said the Philippines’s CCC had put together a group of Filipino experts from all corners of the archipelago to engage fishers and farmers and prepare them in executing localized action plans.

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