Tuesday, December 20, 2016

DOE seeks ‘caveat’ in climate change ratification pledge

Published December 16, 2016, 10:01 PM By Myrna M. Velasco

The Department of Energy (DOE) has specifically raised its concern of instituting a “caveat” or proviso on non-impediment of energy projects and investments in the country’s bid to ratify the Paris-sealed climate change agreement.
Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi said he defended his department’s position in Malacañang last week, stressing that he “cannot concur with the ratification unless the issue of the DOE on energy development is not hampered.”
The energy chief added “I made it very clear also that the country needs adaptation – mitigation, yes we need that, but that should not be a precondition for developed countries to help us.”
For Cusi, the country’s commitment under the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework on Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC) has to be re-cast so it sets more tangible priorities on a national interest rather than the Philippines just adhering to it as a global treaty.
Adaptation, as defined by the United Nations, could involve changing infrastructure systems and practices so the whole world could pare the risks posed by climactic changes.
“Maybe DOE’s concurrence is not necessary for the ratification – we just want a caveat that DOE can continue with its energy development and that we should not be limited with that carbon emissions reduction that was signified in the Paris agreement,” Cusi stressed.
The Paris climate change diplomacy pact is a pledge-and-review system wherein each nation is expected to adopt a new pledge every five years so every country can tailor their commitments to what they can really deliver at home.
Despite giving countries free reign to make their own commitments toward carbon reduction targets though, it is deemed that such flexibility has not fully cleared “political land mines” on propounded tangible cooperation and similarly casts shadow on how developing and climate change-vulnerable countries could be financially aided in their actions toward mitigating global warming.
Amid his hesitation on the deal’s ratification, Cusi sounded off that the country may still be allowed to have access to the US$100-billion climate change funding that the developed countries had pledged to funnel to developing country-counterparts until year 2020.
As is the puzzle to most of developing countries, the DOE chief is similarly perplexed as to how funding can be availed of and how it can be allocated transparently to targeted “vulnerable countries” – not just for climate change risk mitigation purposes but primarily for adaptation activities.
“That’s what we want to be cleared about also, how do we access the funds? How do they (developed countries) help us?,” he queried.
Cusi’s plan is to sit down with the Climate Change Commission, noting that “they have to be clear with it, they have to clarify that with the UNFCCC on how the country can access those funds and what are the conditions.”

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