MANILA: The Philippines is reviewing its “crazy” commitment to severely cut greenhouse-gas emissions in the Paris climate deal, new President Rodrigo Duterte has warned.
The government of predecessor Benigno Aquino had pledged to the United Nations to cut the Asian country’s emissions by 70 percent by 2030 from 2000 levels if it got support from developed nations to convert to clean technologies.
“I have misgivings about this Paris (climate deal)…. The problem is these industrialised countries have reached their destination,” Duterte said in a series of speeches during a visit to the southern island of Mindanao on Friday.
The international deal aimed at curbing emissions was signed in Paris in December last year, but only 19 countries including France and island-states threatened by rising sea levels have so far ratified the agreement.
It cannot become effective until 55 countries accounting for 55 percent of global greenhouse-gas emissions have fully approved it.
“There is no treaty to honour. We have not signed the treaty,” Duterte said, according to transcripts of his comments released by the presidential palace Saturday.
Duterte, who was elected to a six-year term in May, also said poor countries such as the Philippines should be allowed to pursue industrialisation to improve the lives of their people.
“My plan is to put up industrial zones everywhere,” said Duterte, with China an “easy market” for such a move.
“If you will not allow us to reach parity, you are already there and we are still here, then I’m saying that’s crazy. I will not agree to that.”
Duterte said the treaty restrictions would be difficult to implement and the legislature was already reviewing the document.
The previous government had said the reductions were conditional on sufficient financial resources, technology development and transfer being made available to Manila.
The Paris pact calls for capping global warming at well below two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), and 1.5 Celsius if possible, compared with pre-industrial levels.
The accord – which could enter into force later this year, far sooner than expected – sets ambitious goals for capping global warming and funnelling trillions of dollars to poor countries facing an onslaught from climate damage.