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DOHA, Qatar – At the ongoing climate change talks here, the Philippine negotiating team is not expecting to score any big victories but to ensure that it does not lose ground in achieving a ‘fair, comprehensive and legally binding deal’ in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and scaling-up climate financing to blunt the impacts of climate change.
Negotiators from 194 nations, including the Philippines, are meeting in Doha for two weeks for the 18th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), with the goal of securing by end-2012 a new treaty to cap emissions from all countries effective 2020, as well as tackle climate finance.
“The Philippines, together with the Group of 77 nations, is pushing for a 5-year period with a mid-term review of compliance. We don’t want a lock-in of pledges especially [considering] that the current pledges are not as ambitious as we would want [them] to be,” said Climate Change Commission Vice Chair Mary Ann Lucille Sering.
Sering, also the head of the Philippine delegation to the climate talks, is referring to doubts on whether the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol can be launched in time despite the withdrawal of some rich and emerging countries, including the United States, which never ratified the deal in 1997. The Kyoto Protocol was the only binding agreement among countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
“Expectations are low in Doha,” Sering lamented. “Inasmuch as adaptation to climate change is a priority of the Philippines, we are now focusing on the second commitment period and also a commitment of those developed countries that pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol, like US, Russia, Canada and Japan. We should not let them get away with just simply pulling out of the binding deal and [no longer manifesting any] commitment,” Sering added.
Like developing countries, emerging economies of India and China were not obliged to cut emissions under the Kyoto process.
Climate finance is one of the linchpins of the UN-backed talks. Like other poorer countries, the Philippines continued to experience weather-related events like floods, fiercer typhoons, rising seas, water shortages and droughts, and is pushing for more resources to address the adverse impacts of these.
Developing countries said that in order for the climate talks to succeed, rich nations which promised to boost climate financing to US$30 billion in terms of ‘fast-start finance’ from 2010-2012; and the US$100 billion by 2020 under the Green Climate Fund, should detail its disbursement mechanism. The funds are aimed to help poorer countries to implement mitigation and adaptation projects to adrress the inevitable effects of the changing climate.
“We want to identify financing from 2013-2019 period, on what we call the financing gap, as soon as the fast-start pledges end this year. Even the current pledges remain unserved. We hope to be able to review this although the review process has proven to be difficult,” Sering said.
Commenting on the caliber of the Philippine delegation sitting in various panels and talks at Doha climate change summit, Sering said the Philippines has selected the “most dependable line-up of negotiators who are very adept on the subject matter that they are engaged in.” This, she said, has raised the stature of the Philippines in the negotiations in the talks on the Kyoto Protocol, financing, adaptation, the forestry issues, technology and other panels.