President Aquino hopes
COP 21 yields binding climate change agreement
ROME, Italy, Dec. 6 -- President Aquino said he hopes that the 21st
Conference of the Parties (COP 21) in Paris will yield enforceable
commitments from countries to address climate change.
The President, who attended the Paris climate conference on November 30,
said the good thing about the debate on climate issue is that countries now
start to recognize that climate change is real.
"Not too long ago, if everybody recalls, there was even a debate as to
whether or not there was climate change. Here, I think there was nobody that
I heard who was denying that climate change is a problem," Aquino said in an
interview. "It was really just a question of whether the two-degree goal or
the 1.5-degree goal is the central topic. So the negotiations are still
Aquino said he hopes that there will be substantial results differentiated
from the 2009 Copenhagen efforts.
It is widely viewed, based on recent science, that a 2 degree rise in global
temperatures will have disastrous impacts on the global weather system, the
environment and societies.
There are also assumptions that even a 1 degree rise is now expected to be
as great as those previously assumed for a 2 degree Celsius warming.
Another good thing is that Germany and France, which are both industrialized
countries, have added their voice to the 1.5 degree Celsius above industrial
levels, calling for higher emission cuts especially for major polluters.
The Climate Vulnerable Forum, a group of vulnerable countries, has become a
major force in calling for the world to take action.
The President said that before they left from Manila, the conference came up
with a statement, espousing 1.5 degrees, and this was later ratified in
"It started out as a group of small, Pacific island nations, numbering about
10 or 11. When we joined in, it reached 20. Before we left for Paris, it had
become a group of 43," he said.
There is a clamor from vulnerable countries for the industrialized nations
to shoulder the burden of building the resiliency of those affected as well
as facilitating the transfer of technology to address climate issues and cut
emissions, the President said.
"So one is hopeful that in the negotiations we really will have something
more of substance," he said.
COP 21, which is considered make or break conference, runs started last
November 30 and will end on December 11. Countries attending the conference
in Paris are expected to come with a binding climate agreement to prevent
irreversible damage to the planet's weather system. (PCOO/PND)